Saturday, July 13, 2024

Sumter Central basketball’s Emmanuel Clarton turns dreams into reality, commits to Troy

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Two years ago during his freshman season at Sumter Central, Emmanuel Clarton told coach Jazmin Mitchell that he was going to play Division I basketball one day.

Two weeks ago, the summer before his senior year, Clarton made that dream a reality by announcing his commitment to play basketball at Troy University.

“He told me when he was in the ninth grade that he was going to play Division I basketball, and his dreams have come true to play Division I basketball,” Mitchell, who has coached Clarton since his freshman year at Sumter Central, told The Tuscaloosa News. “I’m just so happy for that kid.”

Clarton’s commitment comes after his junior season with the Jaguars, where the 6-foot-5 guard averaged 25.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game. He helped lead his team to the Final Four in the AHSAA Class 3A state tournament. It was the second straight season Sumter Central made it to the Final Four.

Troy originally extended an offer to Clarton last summer before his junior year when Sumter Central travelled to Troy for a team camp. He also held an offer from Tennessee Tech.

“When (Troy) saw me play, it was like their eyes lit up and it’s been like that ever since,” Clarton said. “They gave me the offer, I have had the offer for over a year now. They showed me a lot of love. They showed me that they wanted me to come play for them. They showed me everything that I needed to see. They always kept in touch … I feel like they were family and I feel like that’s where the love is at, so that’s why I committed.”

Clarton also earned Class 3A First-Team All-State and All-Area honors in 2024 and was selected to play in the AHSAA North-South All-Star game. His commitment to Troy, he said, is a dream he has had since he was three-years-old.

“I fell in love with the game, and when I saw others play how they do the cool moves, it made me want to play,” Clarton said. “It means a lot to me, where I come from, that I can show other kids that you can make it.”

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Clarton becomes the 42nd player Mitchell has coached to commit to play basketball at the next level.

“I’m so proud that Emmanuel got to achieve his dream of playing Division I basketball,” Mitchell said. “I want people to know that you don’t have to go far, you can make your dream happen right here in Sumter County.”

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