Category: Current Issue

doesn’t mind
Whether it’s answering a question, improving his game, finding the right shot, Desmond Claude will not be rushed. And he didn’t rush into the biggest decision of his basketball life (thus far) when he made his commitment last week to play college ball at Xavier University in the fall.
“I would much rather wait and get it right, than rush and get it wrong,” said Claude, Putnam Science Academy’s 6-foot-5 combo guard. “I’m OK with waiting and taking my time to get it right, especially when it’s something that I really want to do.”
Claude chose Xavier, located in Cincinnati, from a couple dozen offers that came from all over the college hoops landscape, from the A-10, Big East, ACC, Big 12, and SEC. Currently ranked No. 20 in the country, the Musketeers are coached by Travis Steele, with whom Claude can be patient.
“I felt comfortable with the coaching staff helping me develop into a point guard,” he said. “It might take me two, three, four years to really pop off and get to the next level, but I believe and trust in them to help me get there.”
That development into the point guard role is something Claude takes seriously and knew was needed to help him get more college offers. He was able to showcase himself at a NEPSAC event in the early summer, then ran more point on the EYBL circuit with his Expressions Elite team. And he has continued to get the chance to play on the ball more at PSA, a team that has plenty of adept ballhandlers.
“It naturally takes times for guys to adjust,” said Mustangs assistant coach Dana Valentine, who has known Claude for four years going back to their days with Expressions. “Des is a thinker, very cerebral. He’s a worker and will always figure it out. There’s no reason to think he won’t keep working on this next phase of his game and figure that out too.”
Claude, who would like to major in business management or digital marketing, grew up in a basketball family. He said his mom and dad put a ball in his hands when he was little and they’d go find a hoop and play. It was around middle school, sixth or seventh grade, that he started to take it seriously.
“Even then, I knew it was going to take time,” he said. “I didn’t really pop off until this summer and coming into this year. My parents told me to keep working, keep believing, and you’ll be fine. That’s what I did.”
Once the all those schools – whether it was Xavier, Louisville, Kansas or any other – started calling, that’s when he knew that what he was doing was paying off.
“I was taught to never give up on anything, to just keep working and it would happen,” Claude said. “I think a lot of coaches noticed who I was and what I can be.”
And what does Claude believe he can be?
“An NBA point guard running a team,” he said. “That’s the big goal. I know there is a lot of work to be done, but nothing has ever been given to me. The way I was raised was keep working, keep working, keep working. That’s how I will approach everything going forward. I can be patient and work for it.”
By Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy