Claude Finley has made himself a name with the Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team. Finley began the season providing a spark off the bench for the Raiders.
Finley’s hard play and contributions on the offensive end eventually landed him a starting position and the responsibility of being even more aggressive on the offensive and defensive ends for the Raiders.
“I felt like that was big for me, I worked hard and I earned it,” Finley said. “It was one of my goals to start as a freshman. So it definitely felt good to see that my hard work paid off.
“As a starter I feel like now I’m expected to score, rebound, and assist and everything else. I have a big role and my team is counting on me.”
Finley, a Detroit native, chose GRCC after being overlooked by other schools..
“When I was in high school in ninth and 10th grade, I was only 5-foot-9 and was growing slowly,” Finley said. “I did not have a lot of colleges looking at me. The summer entering 11th grade, I grew to 6-foot-3 and by the time I started getting really good, the colleges had already overlooked me for other people so I wasn’t highly recruited.
“Then Coach Hunt came to one of my games and he liked what he saw and told me to come to GRCC on a visit. I came here on a visit and he offered me a scholarship and I felt this was just the best place for me to get an opportunity.”
GRCC coach Michael Spicer had high praises for his first year player.
“Claude in my opinion has the most Division I talent,” Spicer said. He really is just a rare player with great character. His game on the court reminds me of James Worthy. We could really use more kids like him.”
Even though the Raiders have been disqualified from the playoffs this year, Finley still has expectations for the end of the year.
“I just want to finish the year strong,” Finley said. “Try to make the All-Freshman Team and play hard. We just need to win the rest of our games and go into the summer and into next year on a positive note.
“We have things going on off the court that’s messing with the things we do on the court. There’s just some things wrong right now. We just have to win.”
Spicer also added some things where Finley can improve his game.
“Claude has a tremendous upside,” Spicer said. “He is very athletic. I feel though sometimes he has lapses in the game where I feel he loses focus or becomes disengaged, and I would like to see him get stronger and attack the basket with more intensity at times.”
Finley will continue to try and make his stamp on this team for the rest of the year and lead the Raiders into a higher caliber.