It took several years but RDC Kings basketball head coach Clayton Pottinger and Clay Crelin finally got together.
Pottinger tried to recruit Crelin while he was at Douglas College in New Westminster, but the two could never hook up.
All that changed this year when Crelin decided to return to college and with Pottinger at RDC it was a natural fit.
“He was a kid I’ve known for several years and someone I tried to recruit while I was at Douglas College,” explained Pottinger. “It didn’t work out, but we stayed in touch. In the end it was a matter of timing and this seemed to be the year.”
Crelin, a native of Brackendale, B.C., who played high school at Kitsilano, did play briefly with Douglas before moving to Texas.
“I was going to play there, but my mother unfortunately got sick and I had to come back home to look after things,” explained the six-foot-four forward. “I eventually moved to Edmonton and have been there ever since.”
He played a season and a half with the NAIT Ooks before taking last year off.
“I took a year off to get my life together,” he said. “But I was still hungry to play basketball and with coach (Pottinger) being here that played a big part of my decision to come here. It wasn’t because I know him, but because of who he is as a person and a man.”
Crelin is also familiar with several members of the Kings, including his brother Reece Gavin, who also played for NAIT and Keyano College.
“I also know Ashaunti (Hogan) from when I was in B.C.,” said Crelin. “Coming here is a dream come true, as we have a great team and a great bunch of guys.”
Crelin gives the Kings a top of the line player, who will provide scoring, rebounding and leadership.
“He is pretty damn good,” said Pottinger. “He fills the gap with Rob (Pierce) not coming back until Christmas. He’s super athletic and can fill any position.”
Crelin will be used up front, but doesn’t mind playing any role.
“I just want to win and I’ll contribute any way I can . . . I’ll do whatever I have to do, whether it’s as a role player or a scorer. I just want to fit in,” he said. “I know the guys look at me to be a leader by example, but really I believe my ability to fit in with everyone is one of my biggest attributes.”
Crelin attended the national championships with NAIT while the Kings have attended the Canadian finals the last two seasons. Crelin wants nothing more than to return.
“It would be great to go back, especially this year with the nationals close to my home town in Squamish.”
The defending ACAC champion Kings, and the Queens, see their first league action Saturday when they visit The Kings University College Eagles. They don’t play at home until Nov. 1 when they host Olds.
l The hockey Kings, 4-2, will meet Concordia University College Thunder in a home-and-home series — Friday at 7:15 p.m. at the Penhold Multiplex and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. at Glengarry Arena in Edmonton.
l The RDC golf team is in Quebec City for the national championships, with Kyle Morrison going in as a definite threat for gold on the men’s side. Morrison, who was the golfer of the year in the ACAC, was undefeated in ACAC play.
Action begins Wednesday.
• The hockey Queens finish their exhibition play Friday at SAIT.
• The RDC soccer teams return to action with an all-important final weekend as they visit SAIT Saturday and host Olds Sunday.
The Queens. 4-2-2, can wrap up second place in the South with a pair of wins or make the playoffs with one win.
The Kings, 5-3-0, can still take first place in the South with two wins and will finish second with one.
• Cross-country running dominated the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week voting.
Devin Woodland, who was sixth overall and second among college runners in Camrose, received the top male award. Jordanna Cota, who placed 18th overall and eighth among college runners, was the top female.
Kings soccer received the Breathing Room team of the week award.