HomeBasketballHow a 6-foot-10 Dutchman became Clemson basketball's hype man

How a 6-foot-10 Dutchman became Clemson basketball’s hype man


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“Having taken that journey, you see some things, I have a lot to be grateful for where I am now,” Leyte said. “I don’t have nothing to be sad about.”

Leyte was lucky, because he played with the Dutch national team, which linked him up with another organization that gets European hoopers to the U.S.

This time, he was shipped to New Hampshire to play for the private boarding school New Hampton, which is hidden away in a landscape of dense trees and mountains. There was one Subway, along with a pizza place.

But it was more than enough.

“Three meals a day, iPad to do my school work on, I was loving it,” Leyte said. “It was awesome.”

From New Hampton, he jumped to UNC Greensboro, where Leyte averaged a combined 8.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in his final two seasons. He entered the transfer portal going into his fifth and final year of eligibility, hoping to leap to a Power 5 school in 2023-24.

Clemson happened to lose a big man, Ben Middlebrooks, to N.C. State.

It wasn’t long before Leyte was walking into PJ Hall’s apartment on his recruiting visit, throwing himself into a game of pool with Ian Schieffelin.

“He misses a shot, and he’s yelling in Dutch,” Schieffelin said, “and we’re like ‘Who is this guy?’ The guy just always has energy.”

That energy is exactly what Brownell wanted, just to spare Hall a few minutes here or there. Leyte was good with it, because he was just as much interested in getting to Clemson as a next step in a potential transition into coaching.

He wants to find a job in basketball, in the U.S., because so many of his formative years have been spent here. Going back to the Netherlands would mean leaving his friends behind.

Leyte, who lists “slow” rap and “hardcore” rap as two of his three favorite musical genres, has been thoroughly Americanized. It might be best to spare the details of his “juiced up” catchphrase at Clemson, because it originates from a somewhat raunchy animated film, Sausage Party.

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