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Former UMC star Harrison Cleary signs to play professional basketball in Spain

Jacob Shames
Crookston Times
Former UMC men's basketball player Harrison Cleary signed a contract with TAU Castello in the Spanish second division.

The best player in Minnesota Crookston men's basketball history has found his next home.

Harrison Cleary, who starred for the Golden Eagles from 2016-2020, signed a contract with Spanish basketball team Amics del Bàsquet Castelló, also known as TAU Castelló. The team announced the signing Wednesday.

TAU Castelló is located in Castellón de la Plana, Valencia and competes in the LEB Oro, the second division of the Spanish professional basketball pyramid.

Cleary was signed by TAU Castelló to replace one of their guards, Joan Faner, who recently suffered a broken rib. Per the Castellon Plaza, Faner will miss at least a month, during which Cleary will remain with the team. 

A 6-foot-1 point guard, Cleary started all 120 games he played for Minnesota Crookston, averaging 23.7 points per game for his career. He is the Golden Eagles' all-time leader in points, assists, field goals, 3-pointers, free throws, free throw percentage and games played.

As a senior in 2019-20, Cleary averaged 26.6 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds, en route to being named to the All-NSIC First Team for a third straight season. He was fourth in Division II in scoring, and was named to the D2CCA All-Central Region First Team and D2CCA All-America Third Team.

In addition, Cleary broke the NSIC's all-time scoring record on Jan. 31 by scoring his 1,933rd career point. He finished with 2,107 points for his career in conference play, and his 2,846 points overall rank 16th in DII history and first since 1992.

Cleary, who is represented by Duran International Sports Management, is the second Golden Eagle to sign a contract in Spain this year, following Javier Nicolau. The 6-foot-10 center, who played for UMC from 2017-20, signed with C.B. Benicarlo, in the Spanish third division, in July.

Nicolau is currently averaging 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds per game for C.B. Benicarlo, per Eurobasket.com.Coincidentally, Cleary will begin his professional career in Nicolau's hometown of Castellon.

Cleary is already in Spain, and could make his professional debut as soon as Friday, when TAU Castelló plays HLA Alicante.

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