Thomasville Times Enterprise

December 5, 2012

Freshman impact

Clayton playing big at Charlotte

Clint Thompson

THOMASVILLE — Willie Clayton was the center of attention at Thomasville High.

At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Clayton is quickly becoming a freshman phenom.

The 49ers forward has already had a huge impact during Charlotte's 7-0 start. Starting as a freshman, Clayton was averaging 7.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, entering Wednesday's game against Davidson.

“It's going pretty good,” Clayton said. “We went to the Bahamas over the summer and played up there. We won all three games up there. We came into the season trying to get our chemistry right. Then we went to Alaska and that was more chemistry and bonding with the teammates. We just put the pieces together and we're 7-0.

“The first month was kind of tough for me to get adjusted to it,” Clayton added. “But I just started staying in the coach's office watching film, seeing what I can get better on, seeing how I can do things to improve my game. This is way different from high school.”

Clayton may not be in Thomasville anymore but his personality hasn't changed. Always with a smile on his face, Clayton has helped change the culture at Charlotte, according to head coach Alan Major.

“He's been doing terrific,” Major said. “I love him to death. First and foremost, he's just a wonderful, wonderful kid. When we were recruiting him, I nicknamed him the “Happy Warrior,” meaning that he's a guy that just enjoys the fight every day. He just enjoys it. He's a spirited kid, unbelievable teammate.

“It's been awesome just having him on our roster.”

For full details, see Thursday's edition of the Times-Enterprise.