Ever since he finished his career at Texas, Clint Chapman has been proving his merit as a professional basketball player with staying power.
In game seven of the Swiss League finals, former Canby star Clint Chapmans team Fribourg Olympic had the ball down two points against Lugano with ten seconds left. Chapmans teammate caught a pass at the baseline and released a shot beyond the arc. He missed. Then after a series of fouls, Fribourg came up a few points short of a championship trophy.
If placed into Chapmans shoes, many mightve spent their summer neurotically reflecting on the games waning moments over and over again. However, Chapmans vision is transfixed solely on the future.
After playing four year at Texas and two stellar seasons in the Swiss League for El Massogno and Fribourg Olympic following his Canby graduation, Chapman recently signed a contract that will elevate him further up the professional basketball totem poll.
This is the least stressed Ive been since I left for college, he said.
But his professional career didnt get off to such a relaxing start.
In Chapmans first season playing pro hoops, he played for El Massagno. They stunk. El Massagno won just four out of 26 games in the regular season and players were paid low wages, forcing many players, not including Chapman, to have to work part time jobs along with enduring the Swiss League gauntlet.
Also, having played American basketball his whole life, he had to adapt to Euro-league rules and style. Defensive strategy was especially counterintuitive to Chapman.
Im used to sending defenders to the baseline. In Europe, we send offensive players to the middle. It might go against my way of thinking, but if your entire team is on the same page, it works.
He added: Some things help me, some hurt me. At the end of the day, its still basketball.
Life outside of basketball was also off-kilter from his childhood in Medford and Canby.
People in Europe dont tip. Thats weird. Everyone drives stick shift so I had to learn how to do that and you can go from one town to the next and there will be a new set of driving rules, he said.
However, he learned that the Swiss can be quiet and reserved, but once you get to know them, they are exceptionally kind and generous.
That isnt something you would find out by just traveling there for a week, he said.
Despite adjustments on and off the court, individually, Chapman was a force to be reckoned with, averaging 19 points and 8.5 rebounds for El Massagno.
This past September, shortly after Chapman moved on to Fribourg, he broke his hand. To make matters worse, he hadnt signed a contract with the team yet.
Chapman thought he would have to move back to the U.S because he couldnt pay for the surgery and because he was no use to the team.
However, the team paid for his medical expenses and signed him anyway. If they hadnt, he said it wouldve debilitated his career.
I wouldve had to start all over. Missing a year in Europe is a big thing. Its all about trust. Chapman wound up only missing six weeks of practice.
Once the season began, Chapman and his teammates collaborated together in hopes of achieving one simple goal: winning games. The melting pot of Chapman, 2013/2014-league most valuable player Jonathan Kazadi, former Yale and St. Peters standouts Edwin Draughan and Ron Yates, among others, cooked up a 20-8 regular season record and a runner-up finish in the playoffs.
We had a lot of guys that really love basketball. We all wanted to win as a group, Chapman said.
On the season, Chapman averaged a team high in points and rebounds, marking the second consecutive season he posted the best numbers on his team, a feat he hadnt accomplished since his Canby days.
At Canby, Chapman was far and away the teams best player, was a four star recruit and a top 100 recruit nationally. Many other years, he wouldve been the most coveted player in Oregon.
However, there wasnt much room in the limelight with current NBA superstar Kevin Love and current NBA role player Kyle Singler receiving consistent national attention.
Still, Chapman is happy he got to play against Love and Singler.
I wasnt as great a player as them, but being a part of that was really exciting, he said.
Chapman said his era brought Oregon to the next level and paved the way for players such as Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross to gain recognition and flourish at higher levels of basketball.
Our era was more of a spark. Oregon basketball is on the way up, he said.
In his senior season, Chapman led the Cougars to the quarterfinals at the state tournament, averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game and made second-team all state.
Chapman signed a letter of intent to play basketball under Rick Barnes at University of Texas one year after Kevin Durant went pro and two years after LaMarcus Aldridge entered the NBA Draft.
Chapman didnt receive much playing time until his senior year for the Longhorns, where he averaged 7.4 points and 5.7 rebounds in 22 minutes of action per night.
Though he didnt rumble the college basketball landscape, Chapman cherishes his time at Texas.
Obviously I wasnt the best player in the country, but I get to go back every summer to workout and playing in the NCAA tournament four years in a row was something I will never forget, he said.
Chapman said hes improved all facets of his game since he left college – especially three-point shooting. At Texas, Chapman netted a goose eggs worth of three-pointers and went 0-7 from beyond the arc his senior year.
Ive always been able to shoot, but I was really limited by the system at Texas, Chapman said.
This past season, he made one three-point field goal per game and shot 36 percent from three.
My confidence has really grown the last two seasons, he said.
He is also happy to be playing forward rather than center – which he played at Texas.
Chapman said players go to the Swiss League to either springboard their hoops careers or fade off into the sunset. Chapman chose the former. Earlier this year, he received an offer to play basketball for the Hiroshima Dragons in the Japanese Basketball League. He happily accepted.
This is a big time move for me. There are ex-NBA players in the league and its a pay increase. I just have to thank my agent for all of his hard work, he said.
Right now, Chapman is in Texas, working on his game and hoping he will receive his second summer league invite.
If I dont make it, Im going to be disappointed, he said.
Last year, Chapman played in the summer league with the likes of 2012 first round draft pick John Henson and 2013 second round draft pick Nate Wolters.
Chapman was awe-struck by the NBA environment.
Being apart of the NBA atmosphere and witnessing the level of professionalism was incredible. Guys are no nonsense. They come into the gym, get their work done and dont goof around. All the jokes are in the locker room.
He added: It gave me motivation to try to do things the right way.
Chapman has his eye on forging an opportunity to make an NBA roster in the not too distant future.
My goal right now, is to get to Japan, and if I put up good numbers and theres some interests with NBA teams, NBA camp next year is a possibility. Thats definitely still my main goal.
Wherever he ends up, Chapman is content with his current occupation.
Im just lucky to say Im a professional basketball player.