Former Marist men’s basketball forward Connor McClenaghan has signed a professional deal to play with Galitos FC, a Portuguese team that plays in the Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol.
McClenaghan appeared in 97 games for Marist across his four year collegiate career. He averaged 2.0 points per game along with 1.2 rebounds and 0.4 assists. The Carrollton, Texas native was a key role player throughout Marist’s conference play during his senior season, including a career high 11 point performance against Niagara. Playing professionally was an opportunity that came after an eventful summer.
“This past summer, my agent and I just started contacting pro teams from all over the world with interest in my specific position,” said McClenaghan. “On October 2, I got a call from my agent asking if I could leave for Portugal the next day and I said yes.”
The former Red Fox continued his basketball career this past season in Ireland through the Victory Scholar Program ran by Sport Changes Life. McClenaghan then spent this past summer in Dallas at numerous summer workouts with former University of San Diego guard and friend, Tyler Williams.
“I didn’t know Tyler had an agent at the time,” said McClenaghan. “So I went with him to a workout and his agent set up a couple open runs with pros for us at Prestonwood Christian Academy. I eventually asked him to represent me and spent the rest of the summer setting up these scrimmages.”
After meeting with Williams’s agent, the two began playing alongside NBA players such as Trae Young, Dennis Smith Jr., Julius Randle, among others. McClenaghan was also able to team up with ESPN’s fifth ranked recruit in the country, R.J. Hampton.
“After the first one, they said I could keep coming,” said the 6’9” forward. “I was even in a Ball Is Life video on YouTube that went viral since it featured Dennis [Smith Jr.] and Trae [Young].”
Liga Portuguesa de Basquetebol is a foreign league littered with U.S. talent such as former Florida Gulf Coast standout Marc Eddy Norelia and former North Carolina State forward Abdul-Malik Abu. McClenaghan finds himself on a solid roster, headlined by former Central Michigan starting guard Cecil Williams, who shared the Chippewa backcourt with Marcus Keene, the country’s leading scorer back in 2016 and 2017.
“I want to make top eight and the playoffs for sure,” said McClenaghan. “If I can average a double-double, I think I’ll set myself up well for next year.”
Galitos FC have started the season 0-2, but hope to get on the right track this Saturday against Illiabum Clube.
Edited by Lily Caffrey-Levine