UC Davis guard enjoys chance to face KU walk-on Clay Young, favorite childhood team
Tulsa, Okla. — When UC Davis sophomore guard Siler Schneider saw the NCAA bracket unveiled Sunday, one of his first calls was to Kansas walk-on Clay Young.
Schneider and Young were teammates at Lansing (Kan.) High, leading the Lions to the Class 5A state championship game.
The former teammates were excited about the opportunity to play against each other — and it became a reality when UC Davis secured a four-point victory over North Carolina Central in the First Four on Wednesday.
Young, who transferred to KU from Kansas City Kansas Community College, will likely look on with pride when he sees his former teammate Schneider on the court during Friday’s game at 5:50 p.m. (TNT) at BOK Center.
“Clay has been one of my best friends since first or second grade,” Schneider said. “We’ve played together for a long time. I just Face-Timed him right when we found out we were playing each other. It’s exciting.
“He had like a mini basketball hoop in the attic of his house and we’d always play up there. Just a lot of memories with Clay. We grew up together and we formed our love of basketball together.”
Schneider, named the Big West’s Sixth Man of the Year, ranks third on the team with 10.3 points per game.
The 6-foot-3, 183-pound guard shoots 40 percent from the floor, including .346 from the 3-point line. Schneider went by the first name Joe in high school, but switched to his birth name during college.
Prior to UC Davis, Schneider attended the Air Force Academy Prep School.
“When I first went out there, my roommate, his name was Joe Mooney,” Schneider said of his name change. “I just thought it’d be a good time to go back to my original name, Siler. It’s been good. It stuck and it’s a unique name.”
Starring at Lansing, Schneider led his school to an undefeated state championship in 2015. He averaged 17 points and five assists in his final season and received the DiRenna Award, which is given to the best player in the Kansas City metro area.
For Schneider, playing against the Jayhawks is a dream come true. His parents and older brother attended Kansas State, but Schneider grew up going to games at Allen Fieldhouse and cheering on the Jayhawks.
With extra family and friends in attendance in Tulsa, Schneider hopes to make the most of his NCAA Tournament experience.
“They are the best team in the country so it’s not going to be easy, by any means,” Schneider said. “We’ve just got to play our best game of basketball and defend and hopefully good things happen.... Just have fun and enjoy the moment. Just hope for the best.”