Local Sports, Sports, University

Former University High basketball standout KJ McClurg named D-II All-American

MORGANTOWN — Former University High state champion KJ McClurg was recently voted to the 2023-24 NABC D-II All-American team following a strong sophomore season at California (Pa.) after transferring from New Hampshire last year.

McClurg said finding the right fit was something that made a big difference coming into his sophomore season out of the portal.

“I always knew if I had the right fit basketball-wise that I could accomplish great things,” McClurg said. “It was sort of a mix of trusting myself and trusting the system and my teammates to be successful. This season is one I am very happy with and thankful for.”

McClurg helped lead the Vulcans to a 28-5 (19-3 PSAC) record and a trip to the NCAA D-II tournament that ended in a 68-67 loss to the University of Charleston.

The 6-3 redshirt sophomore averaged 23 points, six rebounds, and three assists per game while shooting 54% from the field, including 45% from three-point range, and 83% from the free-throw line.

“I went into New Hampshire knowing what I had to work on, then came to Cal which was closer to home and I felt like I needed to prove myself,” McClurg said. “Having the full trust of my teammates and coaches coming in really inspired me and helped me be successful this season.”

McClurg said he has been able to learn things from his first two seasons that will help him going forward.

“It’s mostly believing in myself and trusting my ability,” he said. “I feel I was able to play free this season by trusting my instincts and things just came together from that.”

Now, after an outstanding All-American season, McClurg is re-entering the portal and searching for a new home. Being familiar with the process is something he is glad to have but he says it still has its obstacles.

“It’s a little different now with everything being so open now,” he said. “Teams are reloading their rosters every season now, it’s just about finding the right fits. For me, I’m looking for somewhere I can fit in with the playstyle and I can continue to develop.”

McClurg said academics are in his sights also. In fact, he is on track to graduate with his degree in Finance and Accounting this spring as a sophomore, with the goal of obtaining a Master’s Degree from his future home.

Despite being on the move for his third school in three years, one thing that remains constant about McClurg is where he comes from. 

“It’s tough coming from a state that isn’t noticed as much as others,” he said. “It’s challenging but it has given me a strong sense of perseverance. I just put my head down and continue to work because I know I can play with all of the other players that come from other places that may have a higher level of basketball. I’ve just kept that chip on my shoulder and tried to prove why I can play at the highest level.”