MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head men’s basketball coach Frank Martin announced on Tuesday the addition of junior point guard Denis Clemente (University of Miami/Calusa (Miami, Fla.) Prep/ Bayamon, Puerto Rico) to the program.
A transfer from the University of Miami, Clemente will receive a scholarship to attend the university and will have two years of eligibility after he sits out the 2007-08 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
“We are excited about the addition of Denis to our program,” Martin said. “He is a young man that brings incredible experience to a very young team, including significant starting time in a major conference like the Atlantic Coast. He is a competitive young player that has an unbelievable ability to score and is fast as anyone in the country in getting the ball up the floor. He will be a great asset in helping Jacob (Pullen) and Fred (Brown) in their transition to the college level next season and we look forward to him helping us win many games when he is eligible beginning in the 2008-09 season.”
Clemente transfers to Kansas State after playing the past two seasons at the University of Miami in Miami, Fla., from 2005-07 for head coach Frank Haith. A 6-foot, 180-pound guard from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, he averaged 9.8 points on 43.5 percent shooting (101-of-232), including 38 percent from 3-point range (35-of-92), with 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 25.9 minutes per game as a sophomore in 2006-07. His scoring average was higher in ACC play, as he averaged 10.5 points on 41 percent shooting (55-of-134) with 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 27.5 minutes per game.
A starter in 15 games with 27 games played last season, Clemente ranked among the top-5 in numerous categories for the Hurricanes, including second in 3-point field goals, 3-point field goal percentage, assists and steals and fourth in scoring. He scored in double figures on 11 occasions with three 20-point outings. He scored his career-high of 24 points twice, first against Virginia Tech on 8-of-17 shooting on Jan. 23 and then again against Boston College with a career-best five 3-pointers on Feb. 7.
A member of Miami’s highly-ranked freshman class, Clemente played in all 34 games with 13 starts as a true freshman for the Hurricanes in 2005-06. He started the last four games of the season, including all three of the team’s NIT contests. He averaged 5.5 points on 33 percent shooting (66-of-200), including 24.7 percent (22-of-89) from 3-point range, with 2.1 assists and 1.3 rebounds in a freshman-high 20.8 minutes per game. Clemente ranked among the top-5 in several team categories, including fourth in 3-point field goals and fifth in scoring. He scored in double figures six times, including a season-high 19 points on 7-of-18 field goals against Temple on Nov. 27, 2005.
A 2005 graduate of Calusa Prep in Miami, Fla., Clemente averaged 33.5 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals per game in helping the squad to a 17-4 record as a senior for head coach Tim Fowler. In addition, he was named the Florida 1A Player of the Year as well as first team all-state, first team All-Dade County by the Miami Herald and team most valuable player for the second consecutive season in 2005. On the night he became the first player in school history to have his jersey retired, Clemente scored 34 points and beat Florida Prep, 77-75, on a last-second lay-up.
The second cousin of Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente, he is the third player from Puerto Rico to play basketball at Kansas State, joining former Miami Tropics teammate Luis Colon (Carolina, Puerto Rico) and the late Pachin Vicens (Ponce, Puerto Rico) who averaged 11.6 points for head coach Tex Winter from 1954-56. Vicens was the second-leading scorer for the 1955-56 squad that won the Big Seven Conference and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. He is also the third current student-athlete from Puerto Rico, joining senior volleyball outside hitter Angie Lastra.
Clemente becomes the eighth player to join the Wildcat program for the 2007-08 season. He will join a recruiting class that has already been judged by several analysts as one of the nation’s best (No. 2 by Rivals.com and No. 5 by ESPN and Scout.com) and includes consensus No. 1 high school recruit Michael Beasley (Notre Dame (Mass.) Prep/Washington, D.C.), Fred Brown (Dwyer High School/West Palm Beach, Fla.), Andre Gilbert (Mount San Jacinto (Calif.) College/Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Jacob Pullen (Proviso East High School/Maywood, Ill.), Jamar Samuels (The Patterson (N.C.) School; Washington, D.C.) and Dominique Sutton (The Patterson School/Durham, N.C.).
Clemente joins Gilbert and Samuels as the third player to ink with the Wildcats since the introduction of Frank Martin as head coach on April 9.
With the addition of Clemente, Kansas State now has the NCAA-maximum of 13 scholarship players on its roster for the 2007-08 season.