Clemson Basketball: Greg Buckner Almost Wasn’t A Tiger
Greg Buckner is one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the court in Littlejohn Coliseum. However, if not for a little fate, he would have never played a game for Clemson.
““There were several things that worked in my favor for me to end up in Clemson, it wasn’t my original choice,” Buckner told Clemson Junkies. “I actually signed with Providence when Coach (Rick) Barnes was at Providence his last year there. I signed with him in October and when he got the Clemson job, Coach Pete Gillian got the Providence job.
“He (Gillian) didn’t know much about me or recruit me, and he wanted to get his own guys. He’d just started, so he let me out of my scholarship and as soon as he did I signed with Clemson. Without a physical or anything. It was one of those things I was glad to be with Coach Barnes, Coach (Dennis) Felton, and Coach (Larry) Shyatt.”
Rick Barnes taking the job at Clemson when he did was the perfect twist of fate. Buckner was very familiar with the school, and had been since he was a kid.
“One of the earliest things I remember about sports was watching a Clemson football game, it was a rainy game,” Buckner said. “I was probably four or five years old in my grandmother’s house and was watching this game in a big storm and it showed the tiger paws walking into Clemson. I was like, you know, as a kid, like, that’s amazing. They got Tiger paws on the ground. You know, I obviously didn’t know what school it was. So it was like, wow.”
On top of being wowed the first time he saw the Tigers play on television, one of Buckner’s closest friends would eventually go on to play at Clemson. It was like the stars were aligned, and as they say, the rest is history.
“And then one of my best friends who I grew up with played at Clemson, Chris Whitney,” Buckner said. “He is five years older than me and we grew up right across the street. So he was one of my mentors. He looked out for me and I played with him and he got me entrenched with basketball.”
“He showed me how to do things the right way. So he was a tiger, so always was a fan because of him but I get down to Clemson and I kind of knew a little bit about Clemson because of Chris Whitney growing up there and it was a match made in heaven. The rest is history as they say.”