GREENVILLE – After a high school career filled with records and accolades, Greenville’s Clay Guillozet is advancing to the college ranks where he will pursue national championships with West Liberty University.
Guillozet, the son of Scott and Tonnya Guillozet, committed to play basketball for West Liberty on Wednesday afternoon. In West Liberty Guillozet is joining a program that has been in the NCAA Division II Final Four three of the past four seasons.
“I just feel like it was a great fit for me,” Guillozet said. “Going on my visits and being able to meet the guys and get to know the coaches really well I feel it was a great fit for me as far as the program and just the men that the players and coaches are.”
Greenville boys basketball coach Mike Bashore also saw West Liberty, which is located in West Virginia, as a great fit for Greenville’s all-time leading scorer.
“West Liberty is a great school, been one of the best D II schools in the country the last six or seven years, ranked No. 1 in the nation most of the last two years, I think like six straight elite eights,” Bashore said. “It’s a good fit for him. You talk to some of the other local high school coaches around here when he was trying to make his decision, they all said that was maybe the best fit for him, was their type of play at West Liberty.
“The first thing anyone will tell you about West Lib is they like to score. They average over a hundred points a game. Clay’s ability to handle the ball and make smart decisions with the basketball and his shooting, he’s a perfect fit for that school, a guard that can score and pass and get his own rebound, too. He’s a great fit for them.”
In NCAA Division II, the Hilltoppers have led the nation in scoring nine of the past 11 seasons. This past season they averaged 98.4 points per game.
West Liberty plays great team basketball, Guillozet said, and likes to get the ball up the court and shoot 3-pointers.
“Everybody always has the ball moving with them for the extra pass to find a guy open for a good shot,” he said.
Like in high school, Guillozet plans to be a shooting guard in college. He also intends to make immediate contributions to West Liberty.
“Just talking to the coaches they definitely think I’m a guy that’s going to come in and get really good minutes from the start and be able to contribute to the team from my first year as a freshman,” he said.
In high school Guillozet, who was a four-year varsity player, was twice named the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s North Division player of the year for basketball. He led the entire GWOC with 23.6 points per game as senior and was named honorable mention all-Ohio by the Associated Press. As a junior he led the GWOC in scoring and guided Greenville to its first conference championship in 60 years.
“He puts more work in than any kid you’re going to meet, you know all day long, seven days a week and all year long,” Bashore said, “so it’s really paid off for him.”
Guillozet also was a record setter in football. A four-year varsity starter at quarterback, he’s the Green Wave’s all-time passing leader.
“They call them once-in-a-lifetime type kid that’s coming through athletically,” Greenville football coach Aaron Shaffer said. “And the good thing is he’s done it all the right way in all facets of sports and school and socially.”
Guillozet loves both football and basketball, but basketball always has been his greatest passion.
“I feel like that’s where I can go furthest with and really where my passion has been since I was young,” Guillozet said of choosing to play basketball over football in college.
At West Liberty, where Guillozet will study sports management with a minor in business, he knows the expectations are high on the basketball court. That is one of the things that drew him to the Hilltoppers as he wants to win.
“Big things to look up to but that also means that I’m going to have to work that much harder at this level,” he said. “That was definitely one of the factors. No one likes to lose so going to a program that wins you know everybody kind of looks at you to knock you off and that kind of adds fuels to the fire, some motivation for you as a player knowing that everybody is going to give you their best effort every night.”
Both Bashore and Shaffer are confident that Guillozet will find success at the college level. And if things go the way Bashore expects, Guillozet will continue adding accolades to his name.
“I think you’re going to see by the time he’s a sophomore or even a junior, it’s almost going to mirror what he did here,” Bashore said. “I truly believe that. You could see almost the same kind of stats there that he got here. I think he’ll be one of the best D II players in the country by the time he’s a senior.”