IOWA CITY, Ia. – Anthony Askew is still a little green with envy.
“It’s hard not to be a Spartan anymore,” admitted Askew, who lives in Lansing, Mich., and has always rooted for Michigan State.
An attitude adjustment was required when his son, Anthony Clemmons, accepted a scholarship offer to play basketball for Iowa. Thursday, when No. 22 Michigan State visits Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a 6 p.m. game against the Hawkeyes, Askew said “it’s going to be very different. But I’m a real good Hawkeye fan.”
Clemmons grew up a Spartan fan, too. He’d go to games at the Breslin Center with his buddy, Denzel Valentine. They’d go on to play on two State Class B championship teams at Lansing Sexton. Their coach and Valentine’s dad, Carlton, played for the Spartans from 1985 to 1988.
Thursday, best friends will be Big Ten rivals. Denzel signed with Michigan State, where he’s averaging 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds as a 6-foot-5 freshman guard while starting 12 of 15 games. Clemmons, a 6-1 guard, has started the last eight for Iowa, averaging 4.8 points and logging a team-best 62 assists.
“I just talked to him about this,” Clemmons said. “He said it’s going to be weird.”
This will be the first time Valentine and Clemmons have played against each other since they were on different AAU teams in the sixth grade. Later that year they joined up on the same team, and have been teammates ever since. The streak ends Thursday.
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo didn’t need another guard in his 2012 class, and didn’t recruit Clemmons.
“Anthony is a very good player,” Izzo said. “With our situation, he just wasn’t what we needed at the time. Looking back, hindsight’s 20-20. He was a kid who could score, was a good athlete and could get up and down the floor. He defended pretty well. I liked him a lot. Carlton, his coach, really liked him, too. He’s turning out to be everything, and then some. And that’s kind of what happens sometimes.”
Iowa coach Fran McCaffery likes Valentine
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball