Jordan Clarkson only spent 12 days in the Philippines. But those 12 days were something he will relish heading into the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
For starters, Window 4 was the only time Clarkson will get a chance to play with Gilas heading into the Worlds. Starting next month, the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year will be going back to Utah to prepare for the upcoming season.
Clarkson will only return to the country just six weeks before the August 2023 showpiece.
That is why Clarkson made sure to form a bond which each member of the team as he might see them again for their preps for the Manila Basketball Games.
“We were able to build a bond being in Beirut and getting back here,” Clarkson responded on who from the team he was closest with. “We all have some pretty funny ones. No cameras allowed. Our team is pretty free-flowing, having a good time in practice. We know when to lock in and be serious. Everybody is free-flowing, having fun.”
Gilas head coach Chot Reyes was surprised with how down-to-earth the eight-year NBA veteran was.
In fact, Reyes bared that even if Clarkson’s contract only allowed him to practice once a day with Gilas, he went out of his way to attend the second session when Gilas were already holding twice-a-days at Meralco Gym.
“If I can make a comment, what we appreciate with JC besides what you see on the floor is his work ethic. Behind the scenes, he always comes in early, never late, never misses film sessions,” said Reyes, who always had Clarkson penciled in as Gilas’ naturalized player during his second stint with Gilas.
“In fact, there’s a provision in his contract that he can’t do two practices a day but he still went on and practiced when we had two practices. But I think, that’s very, very important for our team. He is just one of the guys, always with us, and doesn’t excuse himself,” he bared.
“That makes our jobs easier. That’s leadership.”
Of course beyond the leadership, Clarkson also delivered the goods.
In two games played with Gilas, the 6-foot-4 guard put up numbers of 25.0 points, 6.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds per contest.
Playing in front of the home crowd Clarkson said definitely boosted his numbers up as well.
“It was great. I think you kinda see my shooting numbers boost up,” he said as he shot 57.5-percent from the field against Saudi Arabia compared to 35.5-percent during their game in Beirut against Lebanon. “I think I felt a lot of energy from the crowd, we all did as a team. It’s different playing at home, playing in front of your own people. This arena is beautiful.
“I can’t wait to come back here and play some more games, have everybody behind us, and get some wins.”
Before heading back to Utah though, Clarkson is planning one more thing with the boys.
“We’re looking forward to hanging out before I get out of here.”