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Seton-La Salle point guard is team's offensive catalyst

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Seton-La Salle point guard Dale Clancy brings the ball upcourt against Brentwood on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
File photo: Christopher Horner | Tribune Review
Seton-La Salle point guard Dale Clancy brings the ball upcourt against Brentwood on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Seton-La Salle head coach Mark Walsh still is amazed when senior point guard Dale Clancy runs down the court, pulls up and hits a teammate with an indescribable pass.

“He sees the floor unbelievably at top speed,” Walsh said. “All of a sudden the balls coming out of his hands.”

Clancy is the catalyst to the Rebels' high-powered offense, and Walsh believes, as the team's point guard he acts as coach on the court.

“Your point guard is like the extension of the coaches on the court,” Walsh said.

At the start of this week, Clancy was averaging 17 points per game and seven assists. As a lefty, his unfamiliar ball-handling and quick first step is what makes him most lethal.

“His quickness is indescribable; his first step,” Walsh said. “I think its unique for a lot of kids to defend.”

Clancy credits the evolution of his game to practice, and studying film of opposing teams and learning their weaknesses.

“My (basketball) IQ is much higher,” Clancy said. “I pay more attention and watch a lot of film.”

While getting teammates involved is priority No. 1, Clancy knows making passes like he's used to creating requires some faith.

“I kind of see things before they happen, that's why I make so many passes,” Clancy said. “Most of the time it's usually a risky situation because you don't know how its going to end.”

Seton-La Salle won its first three games and opened Section 4-AA play with an 82-56 win over Chartiers-Houston last week.

Clancy recognizes his role as a team leader, and says he looks to get everyone a touch. He tries to teach the younger players how to play the position.

“I like to look forward,” he said. “I'm not going to be here next year. I try to teach the other guards.”

Walsh has seen Clancy's leadership style change as well. Usually quiet, the Rebels' floor boss says Clancy has been working on becoming more vocal.

“He's starting to say things as a leader,” Walsh said. “We gave him some rest in the game the other night and he's calling kids' names out and was still involved.”

Clancy sees being vocal as necessary in being a good point man.

“Sometimes I have a tendency to be quiet,” he said. “To be a good point guard you can't be really quiet.”

Clancy believes there's always room for improvement, and is working on his right-hand dribbling and jump shot.

“(My right hand) gets better every day,” he said. “You can never stop practicing; you can always get better.”

Walsh sees the determination in practice day in and day out, and loves Clancy's nerves of steel on the court.

“Great mental toughness; never loses composure,” Walsh said. “He smiles and enjoys himself, but never shows negative emotion.”

At 5-foot 8, Clancy's height may be a hindrance for him in getting major college recruiting interest, but so far area schools like Robert Morris University (Division I) and California University of Pennsylvania (Division II) have shown interest.

But first things first. Clancy and the Rebels are looking to win now, and it starts with Clancy.

“It's like the norm. A lot of things are coming together,” Walsh said. “He understands the way we want to play.”

Justin Criado is a freelance writer.

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