Elijah Clarance put on a stellar performance with Swedish U20 team during FIBA Championships in Chemnitz this summer. He averaged 22.4 ppg but not everyone saw that coming after underwhelming season at Illinois State. Lately talented and electric guard decided to turn pro as he signed contract in Germany with Fraport Skyliners. Eurospects had a chance to discuss with Elijah his past, present and future:
After spending a while playing in USA, how do you think it helped to your game’s development?
Elijah: Playing in the U.S. helped me in various ways. I became a more athletic and physical player. I also developed a more competitive mindset.
How last year injury in Illinois State affected you? How you overcame it.
Elijah: It surely took a tool out of me mentally, and I had some doubting moments when I got back to playing after 4 months. But I just kept working on getting my confidence back by doing my rehab and playing with the National Team.
What were your feelings during the FIBA U20s?
Elijah: I wanted to go out there and gain my confidence back as well as try to win as many games as possible.
How do you look to the next season with the Skyliners? Mixing BBL and 3rd Division?
Elijah: This year a developing year for me as a basketball player and I want to play and learn as much as possible so if that is with the pro B team or A team it doesn’t matter.
What made you decide to join Fraport. Did you have any other serious opportunities?
Elijah: There were many other options but I liked the talks I had with coach Herbert and the fact that they really developed their young players.
Did you have thoughts of dropping out of college during the season or rather U20s made you think you are pro ready?
Elijah: Actually I had no thoughts I just wanted to get better but I was fortunate enough to get this opportunity.
You seem to have unlimited passion for the game and play with as much poise as anyone. How did that come about?
Elijah: Playing with poise is something I am working on as a basketball player and it is something I’ve heard from my coaches since I started playing so my passion and intensity has always been there.
Who is the person that helped you the most during your basketball journey?
Elijah: Nicolas Lunabba.
How are you picturing your draft chances in 2019 since you will be auto eligible?
Elijah: If God allows I will get drafted, if not I will continue with the Skyliners to become better and more polished player.
What are your all-time favourite players?
Elijah: Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook.
Do you think your playing style reminds of any other player?
Elijah: If I had to pick I’d say Russell Westbrook and Damian Lillard.