Clarion University has had some huge names that were part of its athletic history.
Names like Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle and Kentucky Head Basketball Coach John Calipari are just a couple Golden Eagle standouts.
Every college athlete dreams to be able to take his or her game to the next level; however, only a small percentage of those people actually achieve it.
2012 Clarion graduate, Paul McQueen, son of Paul McQueen Sr. and Denise West and brother to Michael McQueen, is working every day to become one of those athletes who can defeat the odds.
McQueen, who didn’t even begin playing basketball until his eighth grade year, is developing his way into a potential professional career.
He left Clarion reaching an amazing milestone surpassing 1,100 points and 650 rebounds, a feat that is notable at any level.
“We were really surprised the first time we saw him play. He had great frame and size, but had amazing skills and touch inside and out that is rare for someone of that stature,” said Clarion’s Head Basketball Coach Ron Righter.
“His resiliency was so notable, most of the games he was playing hurt. It would have been interesting to see the numbers he would have put up if he could have stayed healthy.”
Since graduation, McQueen has been working hard every day to achieve his goal.
He just finished a tryout for an Independent Basketball Association team in Michigan.
“It’s funny when I think back on it. I’m steps away from playing professional basketball. When I was younger, basketball was my last choice,” said McQueen. “I always thought I would have been a football player or baseball. I was also a really good swimmer, but most people just laugh at me when I tell them that.”
In high school, McQueen was part of an Ohio Division Four State Championship team his freshman year and after transferring his senior year to a division one school, he was part of a team that finished fifth in the state.
“I never considered any team, my team. I have always had great teammates and great coaches who helped me along the way,” said McQueen. “Being a part of those moments will always have a place in my heart. How many people can say they played a State Championship game in front of 20,000 people in Ohio State University’s gymnasium?”
McQueen comes from an athletic family.
His father played football in high school, and his younger brother is playing football at Ohio University.
“My family is very important to me. They always supported me in all my decisions. I hope that one day I can support them,” said McQueen. “Michael really looks up to me; everything I do I want to do my best because of him. If I quit, he would quit, too. He is my driving force to never give up.”
In addition to the points and rebounds, McQueen has been focusing hard to become a complete player like his role model LeBron James.
“What can I say; he’s the best,” McQueen said. “I try to do that when I play.”
In addition to his IBA tryouts, McQueen has some experience in the NBA D-League with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“The Cavs’ general manager said he was really impressed with my game, and that he wants to draft me in the D-League draft in November, so it’ll be exciting to see if that can happen,” McQueen said. “But the one thing I’ve always wanted to do is play in Europe. I’m just honored to be playing this game at this level, and I’m always striving to be my best.”
Article by Mike Decker | Photo Credits: Clarion University