GREENVILLE – Clay Guillozet, a Greenville Senior High School 2016 graduate and Raudabaugh Award winner was recently named the winner of the Gulf South Conference (GSC) Commissioners Trophy and was named Gulf South Coast Conference player of the year playing for Valdosta State University (VSU) men’s basketball program.
“Clay represents all of the good things about college athletics,” said VSU coach Mike Helfer. “He cares more about winning than individual accolades and he helped us to a 76-16 record during his 3 seasons with our program”
The Commissioners Trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in NCAA Division II, and the most significant individual honor in the Gulf South Conference. The Commissioner’s Trophy is awarded annually to the student-athlete who best combines outstanding performance on the field or court and high academic achievement in the classroom with significant community service and extracurricular activities.
“He is a true representation of student-athlete by excelling in the classroom and being named to multiple all-academic teams,” Helfer stated.
“It really isn’t a surprise to me to hear Clay has received such an honor,” said Guillozet’s GHS basketball coach, Michael Bashore. “Not only was he one of the best players I ever coached but also one of the most hard working kids I have ever been around.”
“Clay is the ultimate competitor and that is not just necessarily speaking athletically,” said Guillozet’s GHS football coach, Aaron Shaffer. “He wants to be good at what he does, he wants to make people around him better.”
Just prior to the Commissioners Trophy, Guillozet was named Gulf South Conference Player of the Year.
“Knowing that I was able to impact throughout the years more than athletically on the court is very important to me,” Guillozet said of earning the Commissioners Trophy. “Staying up with my grades and being able to give back to the community not only at Valdosta but Greenville when I would come home for camps and summer workouts and down at school.”
“I was on the Student Advisory Committee,” he added. “We did a lot things; Operation Christmas Child. We would put together boxes and send them to overseas countries so they could have more of a Christmas like we are very thankful to have here. Knowing that I was able to impact all three of those levels and being able to balance family ties was also important to me.”
Guillozet’s three year basketball career at Georgia’s Valdosta State University includes a long list of accomplishments where he scored more than 1,000 points and pulled down more over 500 rebounds from his guard position on the court.
“Clay comes from a great program and a great family that supports him,” said VSU Coach Helfer. “It was a great time for everyone to watch his success as a young kid through his college years. So many memories that I will take with me from having him in my program, around my children, and around my family members. He is just a class act.”
Guillozet had opportunities to play NCAA Division I college basketball but chose to play for one of the premier D-II programs over a D-I program.
“I know I took the right route for me,” said Guillozet. “I knew I wanted to go overseas and play professionally. In my mind I could have gone to several D-I schools and average mediocre numbers and had a mediocre career and then struggled to go overseas.”
“For my route I wanted to go Division II to an extremely competitive program,” continued Guillozet. “I wanted to win, I wanted to go to a team that won, I wanted to make sure I had a successful career that looked like what I wanted to present when I wanted to go overseas. Those were the two really big things going Division II; I wanted to win and I wanted to put up some good stats that would help me go overseas.”
Looking for a professional overseas basketball career, Guillozet recently signed with Coast to Coast, an agency based in Luxembourg.
“I had a few agents get in contact with me and few coaches I knew put me in contact with an agent,” said Guillozet. “It was very important to me to have a little bit of a personal relationship with my agent and know that they are going to look out for me, that I am going to be a priority for them.”
“Now it is more of a playing a waiting game and finding that right fit,” Guillozet continued. “I took longer than most guys do when picking an agency. The agency I signed with, all their guys had solid contracts last year. I wanted to make sure the agency I signed with was sending their guys to solid countries and solid teams.”
Guillozet recentley graduated from VSU with a Business Management degree with a minor in Entrepreneurship with hopes of one day coaching college basketball.
“As a coach, you hope to coach a player like Clay and I have been extremely blessed to have had this opportunity,” said VSU Coach Mike Helfer. “I don’t know what kind of pro career he will have but I would certainly like to have him on my staff one day as a coach!”
Guillozet concluded by giving his thoughts to young athletes looking for a successful high school athletic career.
“The biggest thing is you can always get better,” Guillozet stated. “I know everybody likes to think they are the best and know everything but there is always somebody out there that knows more than you or is better than you wanting to learn and wanting to get better. It didn’t matter if I scored the most points, I wanted to get better. I knew there was somebody out there working as hard as me if not harder or that was better than me. That pushed me and motivated me along the way.”
“Just knowing the sky is the limit and all the opportunities that are out there but at the same time there are a lot of people to fill those opportunities. I made sure there wasn’t more I could do to set myself up for that so if I did fall short maybe I shouldn’t have ignored my coaches trying to help me with my shot or my footwork and just taking all those learning experiences and knowing if I failed I can say I gave it my best and be happy with that.”