US basketball

Jordan Clarkson ready to compete amid trade rumors

Paul Mata
Jordan Clarkson ready to compete amid trade rumors

PRESEASON. Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson looks to make a pass in front of Raptors guard Jeff Down Jr. in a preseason match.

Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

As Jordan Clarkson gears up for a new season with the Jazz, he looks back on a busy offseason, including a stint with Gilas Pilipinas

ATLANTA, USA – Utah was one of the busiest franchises in the offseason as the Jazz made some headline-generating moves by trading away their two best players in Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.

Amid all that were more talks that other Jazz players could soon be on the move, including veteran point guard Mike Conley and former Sixth Man of the Year Jordan Clarkson.

“I don’t know if I’m surprised,” said Clarkson. “I’m just kind of… whatever, honestly. I’ll put on a jersey. I’m here to compete, win games, put it all on the line, help communicate and lead these guys.

As Clarkson enters his ninth year in the league, he understands that trades are just part of the league so he’s just playing it cool. 

“I’ve seen myself get traded. I’ve seen other people get traded. Yeah, this is part of the business,” said Clarkson. “You try to see what the team is trying to do and what direction it is going. I think we are prepared for whatever it is and whatever opportunity presents to us.”

Clarkson, who traces his Filipino roots in Pampanga, also looked back on his offseason, which included a stint with the Philippine men’s basketball team in the FIBA World Cup Asian Qualifiers last August.

“It was fun! We had a great time,” said Clarkson, who went up against Lebanon and Saudi Arabia in the fourth window of Gilas Pilipinas’ campaign. 

“Man, first honestly, it was pretty crazy,” Clarkson said of Gilas’ game in Lebanon’s home court. “In the arena, I was just like getting booed so much, I just became like the villain. It was so crazy.” 

“And then after the game, it was just like so much love from like the people in Lebanon, and the buses in the back, they were just like filled with fans,” he shared. 

“I remember people just like rushing and I’m trying to get on the bus and we all just like forming a line trying to get there.”

“Then same thing happened in the Philippines after the game,”  Clarkson said of Gilas’ home game, which happened to be his first time he playing in front of the Filipino crowd.

“We were like trying to get back to the bus. I was going to make my way, and like walking, like sign autographs, and take pictures with fans. They just like busted down the barricade. But, it’s just all love. I love it and it’s just part of it and I had a great experience.”

For now, Clarkson is focused on his NBA campaign with some new teammates and coaching staff onboard the Jazz train.

“It’s a new experience, new team. A new vibe, really,” he said.

“There’s a bunch of young guys. I’ve played with Collin (Sexton) in Cleveland. (Jarred) Vanderbilt is one of my favorite guys. He has a presence on the court and is super long. You got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball still and do a lot of things.”

Clarkson said he’s also doing his part in getting the team to come together. 

“I’m taking guys under my wing, talking to them. Just being professional. Just staying on course with what we’re doing,” he said.

“During practice you talk and communicate more. Just trying to be a big influence in that part. And then trying to talk to guys, bringing guys to the side, sharing my experiences about my time just being in this league.” – Rappler.com

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