Clifford Named Colorado Gatorade Player of the Year

Chase Howell

Colorado Buffaloes signee Dominique Clifford has been named Colorado's boys basketball Gatorade player of the year. 

The 6-foot-5 guard received a package in the mail a couple of weeks ago but was told to keep it a secret until Wednesday. 

"My family and I were pretty shocked," Clifford said. "They called me upstairs and were like, 'Look at what you just got in the mail,' and I was like, 'Oh dang, that's crazy,' so it was a surprise, but it was definitely a cool thing to get in the mail. It was surreal at first but it's definitely a blessing to say the least."

Clifford averaged 25 points, 13.7 rebounds, six assists, 3.5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game during his senior season at Vanguard High School.

The do-it-all guard was also named Colorado Hoops player of the year amongst many other awards. 

"It's kind of crazy how I was barely even known a couple years ago," Clifford said. "And then being named the number one player in the state. It is crazy how God's plan works. But it's definitely been a lot of hard work. I wasn't handed anything I've earned all of it. But it's cool how It's cool to see all my hard work pay off for sure."

Clifford is ranked in the top 100 in the nation on 247Sports and the best player in the state.

He injured his wrist during the playoffs and continued to play through it. Clifford got X-rays after his season was over which revealed he had a fracture. 

He says it's been a battle for him not being able to do any shooting but he's been working on his left hand and is getting his left-handed floater down.

Clifford's other competition for the award was Javonte Johnson who averaged over 30 points per game and is heading to New Mexico next season. And fellow CU signee Luke O'Brien who averaged 25.3 points per game during his senior season at Columbine. 

Clifford will arrive on campus in June barring unforeseen circumstances. And head coach Tad Boyle recently told the Colorado Springs Gazette he wants Clifford to be as ready to go as possible. 

“We need Dominique to fit in early and quickly,” Boyle told Paul Klee. “We’ve got eight months until the start of basketball season next year. He’s got to do everything in his power to physically get ready because his basketball skills will speak for themselves. He’s really talented. We’re bringing him in next year to play, no doubt about it, and have a significant contribution on next year’s team. The future’s bright for him. I don’t want him coming in thinking I’m going to ease him in. He’s got to be ready to go. We need him to be ready to go.”

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