Seniors reflect before last game in Littlejohn
Five seniors leave Clemson after years of hard work and dedication.
by NICK CONGER
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on March 7, 2003 | PRINT

The five seniors who were at the center of attention Wednesday night, have each overcome obstacles to become good people first, and good basketball players second. And it didn't take long.

"It went by so quick," said Edward Scott, the Tigers' leader both on and off the court. Scott, who suffered through a broken foot his freshman year, has cemented himself as one of the premier guards in the country. Ray Henderson, the ACC's second-leading rebounder just a year ago, has seen his playing time cut this season so the younger players can better acclimate themselves to conference play. Thomas Nagys, who because of an early season suspension is just now hitting mid-season form, has become a major contributor to the recent success of the Tigers.

Walker Holt and Jermel Douglas, both of whom work hard each day for the good of the program, received a warm goodbye from the Clemson fans Wednesday night at Littlejohn.

The five have grown up together. They have each suffered through the aforementioned struggles, but managed to complete their careers extraordinarily. Douglas, who many consider to be one of the best walk-on players in the country, hasn't taken his success for granted.

"I really appreciate coach giving me the opportunity to walk on and play here," he said. "It's very rare for a walk-on to play four or five years like I have."

Henderson, in a moment of reflection, acknowledged the importance of contributing off the court during his four years at Clemson. "We got out and did a lot in the community," he said. "In fact that has helped me grow as a person. If it wasn't for basketball we probably wouldn't get out and see the community as much as we should."

"We've matured, not just as basketball players in our four-year period of time, but as people as well," said Thomas Nagys. Nagys, an exchange student from Lithuania, also spoke about his unique experience coming to a new country. "I've met lots of great people, learned a new culture, improved my basketball skills, and got my education done. What more could you ask for?"

Perhaps most importantly, the seniors have stayed close throughout their time here. All five have been here for four years, and each will graduate after this year. And they will do so together.

"We all came up together," said Scott. "We have lived together for most of our time here. We are like a team within a team."

The five seniors attribute their success to hard work, persistence and head coach Larry Shyatt. The predominating sentiment concerning their coach is how he taught them to become better people, rather than just players.

"Coach has helped me become a better person," said Scott. "He understands that there is more to life than just basketball. He has helped more people of the court than he has on the court."

Shyatt, as these seniors attest to, is a stickler for academics. Walker Holt, last years top scholar-athlete on the team, is well aware of Shyatt's stress on school work.

"If you missed study hall, you had to wake up at 6 in the morning to work," recalled Holt. "He's made everybody a better person and student athlete."

While in many cases, a team losing five seniors would struggle the following year, the future looks as bright as ever here in Clemson.

"If these guys keep up with the work ethic they have now, I see them doing a lot of big things for the program next year," said Henderson.

"These younger guys already have a lot of experience," said Holt. "I can see them making the (NCAA) tournament next year."

"If these guys pick up on the good qualities the seniors have, then they will be even better next year I think," said Scott.

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