published Friday, May 17th, 2013

Chadarryl Clay picks VCU after leaving Auburn

In deciding what university she was going to transfer to, Chadarryl Clay also chose to become more detail-oriented in determining what she considered a good fit.

Not only did she find that, but the former Girls Preparatory School basketball star also found some familiarity in her future home.

After playing her freshman season at Auburn, the 5-foot-7 point guard signed Wednesday to continue her career at Virginia Commonwealth University. The Lady Rams are coached by Marlene Stollings, who was an assistant at Ole Miss when Clay was in high school and recruited her to that Southeastern Conference program.

Clay announced she was transferring from Auburn in late April. She will have to sit out the 2013-14 season due to transfer requirements but will have three years of eligibility remaining. She's also coming off a recent shoulder surgery that will sideline her for six months.

She averaged 3.7 points a game and dished out 55 assists for Auburn. She played in 32 of the Tigers' 34 games and started one but never fully embraced their style of play, as the coaches staff who recruited her, led by head coach Nell Fortner, weren't there. Fortner stepped down after the 2011-12 season and was replaced by Terri Williams-Flournoy.

Both Auburn and Clay have said that there were no hard feelings in the transfer.

"Coach Flo preferred transition-type basketball. I like it, but I prefer to be more of a half-court point guard that runs sets, with less transition," Clay said Thursday. "I love pushing the ball, but that's all we did, and I'd prefer to run a play because of the ability to deviate and create offense if a play breaks down."

Clay improves what already was a great VCU recruiting class, ranked first in the Atlantic 10 and 38th in the country.

"Chadarryl is the epitome of a student-athlete," Stollings said. "She brings an outstanding academic background to our program and plans to enter the prestigious school of pharmacy. In addition, Chadarryl will bring strong on-court experience from her time in the highly regarded SEC.

"Her basketball IQ, ability to score in transition, read the floor and defend step-for-step will be invaluable in helping us reach our goals. We are thrilled to add Chadarryl to our Ram family."

Clay said that while sitting a year out will be hard, it'll be beneficial.

"It'll be difficult having to sit out, but it'll be good having a year to make sure I'm completely healed," she said. "I'm going to try to make the team better next year, and when I come back that following year, I'll know the system and know what Coach wants and doesn't want.

"It'll be a learning experience, but I think I will fit in well at VCU."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

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