Cliff Hammonds, a 6-foot-3, 195 pound guard from Cairo (GA) HS, made his decision on where he will be playing college basketball late Tuesday night. RivalsHoops caught up with Hammonds and discussed his thoughts about his future team and the other two schools that were recruiting him. Read on for more details in the Ultimate Ticket.
On Tuesday night, Hammonds - a great defending and explosive combo guard - decided to make his decision final. He chose the Clemson Tigers. But the decision was not an easy one.
"I had three schools that I was choosing from and all three were good choices for me. Stanford has a great academic standing but it was just too far away from home," Hammonds said. "My family wouldn't be able to see me play because most of their games aren't on television here. The distance was just too far.
"So basically I chose Clemson over Mercer because of the level of talent in the ACC. They have the best talent in the entire nation. Plus, there are so many talented guards in the conference like Jarrett Jack, John Gilchrist, Daniel Ewing and J.J. Redick. Playing against that kind of competition will help me prepare for the next level. I just think it is the best situation for me to be in."
Hammonds took an official visited to Clemson on January 25 and saw the Tigers in action against Maryland. After his trip he said he had a good idea on where he would be going.
After landing the head coaching job back in the early summer of 2003, Oliver Purnell’s first recruiting stop was to see Hammonds in action. Since then, Purnell has made it a priority to recruit the Georgia guard.
"He was with me throughout the entire process," Hammonds said. "He told me that I was their top on their list. They were at all of my games in the summer. I knew they wanted me. Plus their patience they showed me throughout all of this was great."
Hammonds also stars on the gridiron. He contemplated playing football first but decided to put those dreams on hold for now. He said Purnell did not have a problem with Hammonds playing for coach Tommy Bowden in a couple of years. Hammonds said that was one of the benefits of committing to Clemson.
Cairo HS head coach Isaiah Chance said Hammonds' decision came down to three things.
“First and foremost, he is playing basketball at the highest level, second he has a chance to come in and play right away and third the academics are great,” Chance said. “It’s just a good overall situation.”
Chance also said other schools were starting to get into the mix over the last couple of weeks. “Oklahoma just called two days ago,” Chance said. Before Kentucky landed Joe Crawford and Rajon Rondo, they were actively pursuing Hammonds as well.
Hammonds is the fourth recruit for the class of 2004 headed to Clemson. The Tigers have already signed James Mays, No. 93 on the Rivals150, Cheyenne Moore, an explosive 6-foot-6 wing and South Carolina native Sam Perry.
"I've seen them play and I know they are all ranked pretty high. I think we can come in their and turn the program around. With the win over North Carolina last week, you know the team is committed to the program and they are getting things set to get things going in the right direction," Hammonds said. "I'm ready to be a part of that."