We caught up with Los Angles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson at his Nike JC6 youth basketball camp this week in Corona, California. From chatting about his first camp in Southern California to his time in the Philippines and cruising around China with D’Angelo Russell, Clarkson gave us a rundown of what he’s been up to this summer. Plus, Clarkson comments on his future with the Lakers as a restricted free agent this summer, new head coach Luke Walton and the upcoming NBA draft.
Q: What’s a day like at Jordan Clarkson camp?
Clarkson: We’ve got two sessions actually, we’ve got the younger kids in the morning, and the bigger kids later in the day. Goes from about 9-5, with all the kids. We’ve got so many kids staying from the first group that are advanced enough to stay in the second. It’s been a great camp. We’ve had some great sponsors: East West Bank, Stance Socks and Nike – they did a really good job of helping us put it together.
Q: From what I understand you didn’t start playing basketball until ninth grade, and didn’t have any camps like this as a kid, so what’s it like for you now being the face of a camp?
Clarkson: It’s pretty crazy, just having the opportunity to do this and give this experience to kids. East West Bank sponsored 20-30 kids (to attend the camp), so just being able to have those kids here and give them that experience has been great for me.
Q: Speaking of camps, you were just in the Philippines doing a camp there as well with lesser-privileged children. What is it like there? Does it give you a bit of a different perspective?
Clarkson: Ya it is. It’s really different. We bring those kids out of that area, Nike helped me out with that as well, gave them all new gear, shoes, brought them to a court and just ran a little camp during that time. It’s a lot different. They live in different circumstances than us. I feel like we should always thank the man that we’re all blessed, because people live way different than it is here in America. I had a great time in the Philippines, the energy is always great and they always show a lot of love. When I was over there I had practices and workouts with the National team, so it all was kind of logged up in a few days and I just had a great time.
Q: What were those workouts like (with Gilas Pilipinas), and when do we get to see you wear Philippines across your chest?
Clarkson: We’ll see. We’ve still got to finish all the paperwork with FIBA. Hopefully we get to Rio, make it through this qualifier, but practices were long. They were intense.
Q: Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell were chosen for the USA Select Team – What do you think about that?
Clarkson: I think it’s pretty cool. It’s an awesome honor. I hope they do well and they really enjoy that experience.
Q: You’ve been spending a lot of time with D’Angelo Russell, and just got back from China. What was the craziest thing you guys did over there?
Clarkson: Craziest thing I’d say we did, is we went to this building and it was kind of hanging off and they have a glass window that shows straight down to the city and me and D’Angelo are jumping on it like a trampoline.
Q: We’ve got to talk about the new head coach – Luke Walton. What was your reaction to getting the news?
Clarkson: I was definitely excited getting the news. D’Angelo texted me when stuff happened. It was pretty cool. It’s definitely a good opportunity for us to learn and grow with somebody. Hopefully, everything works out in the summer and I’m here.
Q: I know you talked to Luke pretty soon after he was hired on, gotten a chance to talk to him since?
Clarkson: I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to him again. But, from the last time we talked, hopefully he finishes out these Finals soon and we’re able to get in the gym and work.
Q: With the Finals going on and watching that Warriors style of play, are you watching that and getting excited for what the future could be?
Clarkson: It’s a really exciting time I think, just being able to play that system. I feel like a lot of guys on our team can do a lot of things with the ball and being able to see the ball movement and that kind of stuff implemented with us is going to be great.
Q: We’ve got the draft coming up. Were you as excited as everyone else was to see if the Lakers were going to get that No. 2 pick?
Clarkson: I was – we had some friends over and watched the draft lottery and we was all excited that we got the pick so we’re just waiting to see now who we’re going to get.
Q: There’s the No. 2 and the No. 32 – are you excited for a couple new members to join “The Breakfast Club” as I hear you call it? (The “Breakfast Club” is comprised of: Jordan Clarkson, D’Angelo Russell, Anthony Brown, Julius Randle and Larry Nance, Jr. and refers to the crew coming in for early morning workouts)
Clarkson: Ya for sure, it will be good to get some new faces in there, to get some new guys to work with.
Q: And how did you come up with the Breakfast Club nickname?
Clarkson: Kind of one of those things – we all wake up early get our work in before anybody else. Kind of just started on Twitter, somebody posted it, and that’s what it was after that.
Q: How confident are you that you are going to be a Laker next year?
Clarkson: I don’t know. I can’t even give you like a number on that. Just going to have to play the waiting game and hopefully see. I want to be here, so it’s kind of out of my control a little bit when it comes to that stuff I guess, but we’ll see.
Q: D’Angelo’s got a good relationship with Ben Simmons, do you have any friendships in this draft class or are you looking at anybody thinking, ‘I could see myself playing with you?’
Clarkson: I didn’t really get a chance to watch too much college basketball this year. I don’t really know too many young guys. We don’t have any young guys from our city. We have one kid actually Taurean Prince, the kid that went to Baylor. But, that’s probably the only kid I know in the draft right now.
Q: You were picked 46th, Draymond Green was picked 35th and I just watched a video of him the other day and he was able to recite every player drafted before him – 34 players drafted before him – Can you do that?
Clarkson: Nah but I could give you every point guard/guard drafted before me. Dante Exum, Elfrid Payton, Marcus Smart, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine, Spencer Dinwiddie dang, I think there might be two more….
**Alright, so Clarkson missed a few, but we’ll give him a pass
Head over to JordanClarkson6.com for more info about his camp.