Point guard Anthony Clemmons says confidence is back

Rick Brown
Iowa's Anthony Clemmons shoots a three during the Hawkeyes' game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff last season.

IOWA CITY, Ia. -- Point guard Anthony Clemmons lost his confidence last season.

"That's a big part of this game," Clemmons said. "When you don't have confidence, it's hard to become the player you expect to be."

Clemmons was a pleasant surprise as a freshman, playing in 38 games while starting 13 and ranking second on the team with 105 assists while averaging 16.8 minutes. But those numbers fell off last season after his confidence waned. He averaged just 11.3 minutes a game, with 54 assists. His scoring average fell from 4.3 to 2.4 points a game.

"My freshman year, I made him (Iowa coach Fran McCaffery) play me," Clemmons said. "Last year I wanted him to play me and I expected him to play me, but I wasn't performing in the way that he should play me."

Clemmons had several heart-to-heart talks with McCaffery after the season.

"I asked him what he had in store for me the next two years,"Clemmons said. "He said I could be an important piece to this team."

Clemmons returned home to Lansing, Mich., after spring classes ended in May, and didn't return to Iowa City until July 1. He said his confidence is back.

"My killer instinct is still there," said Clemmons, one of Iowa's best on-ball defenders. "It was just hidden last year."

Because of his struggles as a sophomore, Clemmons is flying under the radar heading into his junior season.

"I think the guy that nobody is talking about and a guy we probably should be talking about is Anthony Clemmons," McCaffery said. "Very few people handle what he went through last year the way he did. Most people would just transfer. I didn't play him as much. He didn't play as much or as well. Nine out of 10 kids today blame everybody else."

Clemmons didn't do that. He went searching for his confidence and killer instinct, and said he's found it.

"Now there's no way I can lose it again," Clemmons said. "It's my last two years. I've got to make the most of it, to become the player I want to be."