Claude pg 7 6-30-22

Desmond Claude is looking ahead to where he wants to go, but knowing too that what’s behind him was pretty special.
And so when he talked recently about having been named the National Prep Basketball Player of the Year, the Putnam Science Academy product spoke of it like a double-edged sword.
“When I found out I had been honored with that award, I was super excited, obviously,” said Claude.
Claude  led PSA to a third national championship and perfect 38-0 record by averaging 13.6 points, four rebounds, three assists, and more than one steal per game.
“It meant a lot because of everything that I had worked for, I actually got it. I always wanted to play on the national stage, play in the national tournament. And then when I did it, to do as well as I did and to be honored with that recognition…it was a big accomplishment for me. And the team success that we had of course brought it to another level and made it possible.”
Claude has been on campus of his new home, Xavier University, for a few weeks and getting acclimated to a future in the Big East. And it has understandably changed his perspective somewhat.
“Now that I’m out here, thinking about being the prep school Player of the Year does seem different,” he said.
“I don’t let that go behind me or anything like that, but this is a new level, a new situation, and an upgrade. But having that in the back of my mind still gives me that chip on my shoulder, that I can do these things. So I still hold it high.”
Despite the numbers and the recognition, it wasn’t an easy year for Claude at PSA.
 He came off the bench at the start of the season, as he missed time for college visits, which kept him behind on adjusting to the way the Mustangs played defense.
“But he never complained,” said PSA coach Tom Espinosa. “He just worked harder and harder.”
By early December, he was in the starting lineup, and “by the end of the season, in the national championship run (when he averaged 20.5 points, four rebounds, 2.5 assists, and nearly two steals per game), he was the best player on the court every single time.
“He was a special player on the court, a special kid off it. Xavier got a really good kid and an outstanding basketball player.”
Claude is hoping to carry that success over into his freshmen season.
He said the physicality and the pace of the game are noticeable at this new level, and he has set a handful of goals for himself.
But, as is his M.O., Claude will be patient.
“I want to be an all-conference freshman,” he said.
“But really, I just want to continue to play and get better. Of course you want the awards, but honestly, as long as I’m getting better, I’ll get there.
“Everything has been great so far. PSA helped get me prepared for this, and now we’re at the next level.”

Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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