NPH Q&A with CIS Most Outstanding Player, Winsor Lancers Star Jessica Clemencon
WINDSOR, ON–Jessica Clemencon is only going into her junior year of university and she has taken the Canadian Inter university Sport [CIS] league by storm. A native of France, Jessica came to the University of Windsor, in hopes of fulfilling her hoop dreams, and she’s done just that. She won the CIS Rookie of the Year award in 2010, as well as the CIS player of the year for the 2010-2011 season. She was also recently awarded the 2011 BLG Award as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) athlete of the year. Clemencon has accomplished so much at just 22 years old and she’s still looking for way to get even better. Through a question and Answer period, Clemencon gave NPH the inside scoop.
1. When did you first realize you had a talent for basketball?
I started playing when I was pretty young, around 10. My dad use to play, so I grew up in the gym basically, and one day I just decided that I wanted to give it a try and I never stopped because I really liked being part of a team. I also liked the different aspects of the game, I’m pretty tall too, so it helped.
2. Thats for sure. Moving into high school, do you remember what schools were recruiting you?
I actually came as an exchange student. My university in France had an exchange program with Ontario, so I actually applied to Ottawa, University of Toronto and Windsor, because I knew Windsor had a really good basketball program. Windsor is actually the only school that emailed me back, and my coach can speak french, so it worked really well and it helped me a lot at the beginning.
3. I’m guessing Ottawa and Toronto are definitely regretting not emailing you back?
Hahaha, I don’t know. I never talked with the coaches about it.
4. Being a native of France, is representing France on a national level something you would like to do?
I’ve been part of the national team. I played for the European championship with their U16 team and we finished second and with the U20, we won the European championship. I might go to the university games this summer. I will know by the end of June if I made the team or not.
5. You just finished your second year, and with you accomplishing so much whats left for you to do at the CIS level?
This year I won a lot of awards and different things but I think I still have a lot of things to work on. I still want to win a few national championships and even though we won this year, I know that next year is going to be even harder because everyone loves to beat us!
6. You won the award for top female university athlete in Canada this year, definitely the highest honor in the CIS, what was that experience like for you?
It was a great experience! I was in B.C for a few days and I met a lot of other good athletes and great people. I was proud to represent my university too because they’ve given me a lot and they still do. I think its going to help me and give me some more motivation because I didn’t win that by myself. It was thanks to my teammates, my coaches, and everyone.
7. Your team has been one of Canada’s best for the last few years. What makes your team better then everyone else?
We work really hard and we have different backgrounds, so we can experience different goals in life but we all know what we want to achieve. This season, we all knew we wanted to win and we knew what it was going to take and we were ready to put in the hard work. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy but we all trusted coach because we knew she was going to lead us there, and I think it made the difference.
8. Your team has faced a variety of teams in the CIS over the years, who would you say is the toughest team you’ve played?
Simon Fraser University because we didn’t find a way to beat them last year. They left this year [no longer part of CIS, now ncaa Div II], who knows? Maybe this year we would have beat them. I don’t think last year.
9. Who is the toughest player you’ve ever faced in the CIS?
I would say Nicki Schutz. (UofT) She’s a post player but she’s able to do everything. She can shoot the three, she can drive, she’s physical, she’s the leader of her team and I have to give her some credit because this year they beat us. I think she’s tough.
Yes, thats my goal for the future. I can play inside, but I want to be able to drive and shoot and do different things because once they double me inside, I cant do much, so I want to have different answers and I think I have a lot to work on.
11. What professional basketball player do you model your game after? (Male or female)
Tim Duncan because he is a pure post player. He has good moves, he’s not that athletic but he’s a really technical player. I think thats kind of what I do. I’m not saying I’m as good as him though. [she laughs]
12. Being that its off season, what are you doing to make sure you come back bigger, better and stronger?
I work out everyday, weights, individual practice almost every day. I also scrimmage with the team. I’m going back home,next week, but I’m going to keep working by myself. I’m going to make sure I come back in shape, and work back home with my dad and my brother. If I can, I will practice with another team at home.
13. What are your plans after university?
Go back to Europe and play professional.
14. Is the WNBA an option?
Yes, of course, I think about it. I don’t think I’m ready yet.
15. Anything else you want NPH fans to know?
They should come out and watch a few games. We have amazing fans in Windsor and I think we have the best crowd in Canada!
PHOTO COURTESY: CIS, THE PROVINCE