On the day Quinn Clinton made his debut in the National Basketball league for the Canterbury Rams against the Taranaki Mountainairs he played three games on the same day.
"There was a rep tournament so I played a couple of games in that. I was then needed for the Rams game. I only played two or three minutes, but I was pretty fatigued," Clinton recalls.
The Year 13 Christchurch Boys' High student has been dubbed the best high school player in the country by Rams' coach and former Tall Black standout Mark Dickel. He is on the radar of several American NCAA division one colleges.
Halfway during the 2016 NBL season 17 year-old Clinton has become a Rams regular. Last Friday he travelled to Wellington and downed two three-pointers as Canterbury demolished the Saints 97-72.
"I have learned so much by training and playing with older guys. I might not get a lot of court time, but every week is an education," Clinton enthuses.
Clinton was a sensation at the National Under-15 championships in 2014. He was named most valuable player for the tournament.
Clinton scored a game-high 33 points in the final, while also grabbing 14 rebounds, as Canterbury lost a tense decider to North Harbour 80-77.
In Canterbury’s semi-final victory over Waitakere West he was just as destructive, racking up 43 points and 12 rebounds, while landing nine three-pointers from 16 attempts.
Clinton further showed his quality last year when he scored 28 points for New Zealand under-16 against Australia in an Oceania qualifier.
Clinton attributes his passion for basketball to his brother Mitchell.
"Mitchell is my older brother and like any little brother I just wanted to be like him. He played a lot of rep ball and helped me out and still does," Clinton marvels.
Rams coach Mark Dickel and the coaching staff at Christchurch Boys' High School have also had a profound impact.
"I take something from every coach I have. Everyone has different styles and you can learn of them all," Clinton says.
On the subject of learning Christchurch Boys' had an inexperienced team last year, but Clinton is confident the lessons learned in 2015 will translate to success this winter.
"We are looking good, everybody is super familiar with each other. We had four Year 12's in our starting five last year. We finished 13th at Nationals, but had Westlake who finished second and Rotorua third in our pool. We only lost to Westlake by six points," Clinton says.
"I have been to Nationals every year since Year 10. We have got better each time. We have to finish in the Top Six of the South Island tournament to qualify again."
Schoolboys playing in the NBL isn't without precedence. In fact Clinton's teammate Toby Gillooly is a Year 13 at Burnside High School. Steven Adams, Sam Timmins and Tai Wynyard are just some of the other big names to achieve the feat.
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