Community R-6 graduate Clay Thebeau certainly took pride in the time he spent with the Hannibal-LaGrange Men's Basketball Team during the 2018-19 season.
To say the squad was anything less than happy to have him would also be a lie, and the way that relationship culminated was with the former two-time Trojan being named the American Midwest Conference Champions of Character Recipient along with fellow senior Marita Chavez of Utica, MO.
"Clay came to one of our annual open tryout in the spring of his freshman (year). That is the first time I really got to see clay play," said HLGU Men's Basketball Coach Jason Durst. "His academic performance, athletic background, and high character made him a great fit for our program."
This past season Thebeau played in 31 games for Hannibal LaGrange and started three according to www.dakstats.com, which added up to 484 minutes. In that time the CR-6 grad. went 46-for-102 from the field, which included making 21-of-49 three-pointers, to average 4.2 point per game. The 6-foot-0 point guard also went 16-for-23 from the free throw line with 52 rebounds, 35 assists, 16 steals and one block.
"Our goal is not only develop players athletically and academically, but also in their faith and character," Durst said. "Clay has always displayed the desire to work hard and overachieve. Our university and basketball program has given him an environment to grow and foundation to pursue his future goals. Clay’s dedication and resolve can be seen in his progression the JV team early in his career, and then finishing his senior season as our sixth man on our most successful team in 20 years."
This season HLGU finished with a record of 19-13 overall, 15-17 AMC. This left the squad in fourth place behind Missouri Baptist, 27-4 overall, 19-3 AMC, Park, 21-11 overall, 16-6 AMC, and William Woods, 18-12 overall, 15-7 AMC, but ahead of Central Baptist, 22-11, 12-10. The Trojans also placed in front of Harris-Stowe, 16-13, 11-11, Lyon, 17-15, 11-11, Columbia, 15-15, 10-12, Williams Baptist, 11-16, 8-14, and St. Louis College of Pharmacy, 7-22, 6-16, according to www.hlgtrojans.com.
"Clay has always accepted any challenge, on and off the court, and excelled in challenging situations," said Durst. "His dedication to being a great student and a great teammate has allowed him to progress each year as a student-athlete."
In 2017-18 Thebeau's season was a much different experience. That year he only played in seven games and didn't start any. He also took four field goals and didn't make any, but he did go 2-for-4 from the charity stripe with eight rebounds, six assists and six steals. The end result for HLGU that year was a record of 8-19 overall, 8-14 AMC, begging the question does this team goes as Thebeau does.
"Clay’s work ethic and character are his two strongest attributes as a player. His teammates respect him because he is reliable and consistent on and off the court," Durst said. "He is a leader because he chooses to do things the right way and never takes shortcuts."
The 2016-17 campaign was a similar story as Thebeau played nine games for a total of 72 minutes, going 9-for-24 from the floor and 4-for-7 from the free throw line to average 2.9 points a game with 11 boards, six assists and two blocks. HLGU's final record that year was 8-18 overall, 5-17 AMC, and even though there may be no scientific formula behind it, during Thebeau's time with the Trojan's, the better he did, the better the teams he played for seemed to perform.