One month away from national signing day on April 15, Mount Airy’s Clay Mounce has made his decision.
Mounce announced his commitment to Furman University from his Twitter profile early Wednesday morning. The Paladins became the first Division I school to offer the Mount Airy senior a scholarship exactly one week prior to pledging his allegiance to Furman.
Head Coach Levi Goins and Mounce both believe more Division I schools could offer Mounce a scholarship in the coming weeks, but the chance to play at Furman became a perfect match.
“It just seemed like the place for me when I was down there. A place I could be happy for the next four years of my life,” Mounce said. “They actually had another kid commit when I was down there and that left only one spot, so if it was the place I wanted to be, it was the time to do it.”
Clay and his mother, Angie Mounce, went to Greenville, South Carolina on Monday for Clay’s official visit to Furman University. Clay spent time with the players and coaches that evening before spending Tuesday touring the campus.
He took an unofficial visit to the school in February to watch the Paladins defeat Mercer 85-74. Even without an offer, Mounce was hopeful Furman would be his future home from that moment.
“I liked the whole atmosphere during the Mercer game and I was really hoping they would offer, and then they did,” Mounce said. “I guess I didn’t fully know it was the place I wanted to be till the first day of my official visit.”
“They took me to this nice restaurant and I hung out with the players. It was just really nice.”
Furman edged out Division II schools UNC-Pembroke and King University in the end. One of the tougher decisions for Mounce was passing up the opportunity to play with his brother, Carson, who is currently a freshman at Pembroke.
The stats speak for themselves as to why Clay is a Division I player. He averaged 24.4 points and 11 rebounds per game during his senior campaign and finished his career with 1,383 points in a Granite Bear uniform. He led Mount Airy to a 25-4 record, and after the season he was named the Northwest Conference and District 11 Player of the Year.
Aside from the talent, though, Mounce also believes Furman is a perfect fit for his playing style. The Paladins love to push the tempo and turn defensive rebounds into fastbreak opportunities.
He is also excited to make an impact on the defensive end, where Furman almost exclusively runs a man-to-man defense.
“I’m excited for that because I feel like I can defend at the college level,” Mounce said.
His recruitment isn’t officially over until the pen hits paper on April 15, but Mounce is satisfied with the timing of his decision. He will enroll at Furman in early June after Mount Airy’s graduation, and flying under the radar for months gave him enough motivation to end the process sooner rather than later.
“I told my girlfriend that I was glad all this recruiting stuff is over. I was just instantly relieved,” Mounce said. “I was always worried I wasn’t going to find the right school, but Furman came along and I really liked it. I’m just glad to know where I’m going now.”
Reach Jackson at 415-4702 and on twitter @jacksonfuller16