SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It was quite an eventful summer for Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson.
Playing for his mother’s native country of the Philippines in the FIBA World Cup, which was played in the Philippines, Clarkson was treated like basketball royalty.
“It was fun having an opportunity to represent the country,” Clarkson said. “It’s just love. It’s something you can really describe. You’ve just got to be there to really see it and feel that energy. I know that everybody that came to play in Manila felt that.”
It almost turned into a disastrous summer as Clarkson was in Germany with his girlfriend, when his tour bus crashed into the side of the road.
“Sorry for the driver, but he got sick and almost passed out,” Clarkson said. “The bus swerved off the road on the highway. Everybody was fine, but the bus was sitting [at an incline]. I just kind of took it with a grain of salt. We stayed there for like 14 hours waiting for a new drive to come.”
Clarkson is safer driving to the hoop, where last year he averaged a career-high 20.8 points per game, while shooting 44.4 percent from the field.
Clarkson started all 61 games he played, after coming off the bench the previous year, winning 6th Man of the Year honors. He’s not sure what his role will be this season, but about to enter his 10th season in the NBA, he wants to become a more complete player.
“Everybody knows I can score the ball, and do it as fast as possible,” said Clarkson, who averaged a career-high 4.4 assists per game. “But in terms of my game, getting shots for my teammates, I think that’s going to be a big step for me, just manipulating the game and picking my spots.”
While not many people think the Jazz will be a championship contender, Clarkson says don’t underestimate this team.
“If you look at whatever rankings, you don’t see us in too much of them,” Clarkson said. “I think this year we’ve got a good mix of guys, we’ll come in to compete and try to win games.”