Clerius didn’t play much his freshman season. He was deep on HCC’s bench and spent most of the year trying to adjust.
“He spent a year working on his game,” Brown said. “He got stronger and wiser. He never lost faith in himself. That was important. There are some freshmen who can’t handle that, but Jean Eddy has done what he needed to to make himself a good college basketball player.”
Clerius may have finally turned the corner on Nov. 12 when HCC played the Alderson-Broaddus junior varsity and won in blowout proportions. Clerius scored 27 points in strong fashion, with two flurries that helped the Hawks take the lead and blow it open for a 136-56 victory.
“It’s a great feeling. My teammates and coaches really support me and give me confidence to my game and shooting 3s,” he said. “I have a lot more confidence now. I’m not shy to shoot. I’ve always been a scorer and a defender, but I have more confidence now. I’ve proved to myself that I’m capable of playing.”
Brown sees even more.
“He’s a leader and a co-captain,” the third-year head coach said. “He represents all the things that are good about college athletics. He’s an excellent student, a good role model and he is proud of the school he represents and to wear the HCC uniform.”
The American way
Clerius is ready to live his mother’s vision.
And because of his new citizenship, HCC becomes the starting point.
As an American, Clerius can more easily earn a scholarship. Brown says Clerius’ improved game and new status will definitely open doors. It couldn’t hurt if the Hawks would happen to make the national tournament, too.
“I would love that,” Clerius said. “We are capable of it because we have the players, the team and the coaches. I have no goals … just to be the best I can be and work as hard as I can.”
Off the court, though, Clerius has definite goals.
“The first thing I wanted to do was go vote,” he said. “I couldn’t for this election because it was already after the registration deadline. It’s a good feeling though. I just enjoy knowing that I can vote. It’s really a great feeling to be a citizen. It’s a privilege, especially from where I come from.”
And Clerius will never forget where he came from.
“I want to graduate from school and do social work,” he said. “I want to be able to help people, anywhere. I know the struggle.”
That would be the best way to thank his mother, by becoming the “difference maker” that made Jean Eddy Clerius destined to be an American.