WYOMING, Mich — Clayton Roberts has a message for anyone who thinks just because he’s home schooled doesn’t mean he can’t school his opponents.
“If people are going to say that, just because I’m a home school kid, I don’t have talent,” he says. “Than all I can say is, 'play us.'”
17-year-old Roberts plays for the Grand Rapids Angels, a basketball team specifically for kids who choose to learn at home. While it’s an unconventional route for a high school athlete, it does have its benefits.
“We play more games. We see more talent. We travel,” Roberts explains.
And more games, and more travel mean more exposure to college coaches, something Roberts says he was lacking when he went to Lee Middle and High School. In his junior year with the Legends, he was all-conference after averaging 17 points a game, yet not one school seemed to show any real interest.
“I think his biggest thing was, (he wanted) to play with other kids that want to go to college,” said Angels head coach Greg Endsley. “To me, that means you want to put a little more effort into you basketball game.”
A friend told Roberts about Endsley and his four year old basketball team for home schoolers. While the East Kentwood native and his father initially had their doubts, they quickly realized that outside of going to a prep school, this was their only option. After all, this would have been Robert’s second public school transfer in high school, meaning he wouldn’t have been eligible to play his senior year anyway.
“My dad was really pushing it because me and him really have a plan, we want to go to any school that makes me feel at home," Roberts said.
So far, the plan appears to be working. After one season with the Angels, several schools including Cornerstone and Aquinas have shown interest, and Roberts hopes more are on the way. By getting a home school education, the 6 foot 4 inches forward is able to take advantage of a 5th year of eligibility. That means 40 more games to show his stuff.
“I am a kid that can go D-1,” he says proudly. “They just gave me multiple things to work on because I’m still growing as a basketball player.”
For Roberts, the education continues. Both on the court and outside of the classroom.
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