Layshia Clarendon Q&A

CLARENDON: Self-proclaimed nerd loves reading, ice cream and The Walking Dead

Layshia Clarendon led the University of California to its first 30-win season and later the NCAA Final Four. She was her team’s leading scorer – 16.4 points per game – and arguably its best leader, determined to make an impact with the program she chose four years earlier.

A relatively unheralded star nationally, she was among top prospects invited to attend last week’s WNBA Draft and, Monday evening, she was a first-round selection of the Indiana Fever. After she was interviewed by local media on Monday evening, FeverBasketball.com conducted a Q&A with Clarendon following her return to the Bay Area.

FeverBasketball.com: You’ve been a member of the Indiana Fever now for two days … how’s it feel?

Layshia Clarendon: “Being a member of the Indiana Fever is an honor; I feel humbled to have been drafted by the defending champions and to have an opportunity to play with some very talented players such as Briann January, Tamika Catchings and many more. On top of that, I have heard nothing but the best about their high strung, Southern-accented head coach Lin Dunn as well as the two other coaches: Stephanie White and Mickie DeMoss. I can’t wait to get to know my new family.”

FB: You got to attend the Oakland A’s game [Wednesday] to be honored with the rest of your Cal basketball team. Tell us about your visit!

LC: “The women’s basketball team was honored at the Oakland A’s baseball game in which I got to throw the first pitch. I must boast that my throw only bounced once! It was a beautiful day in the Bay, the Bears hung out on the field before the game, met a few of the A’s players, then stayed and ate hot dogs, nachos, and drank lemonade as the game played out. Although every one of my teammates and I have played on a huge stage before, we had never been on a major league field, so it was a cool new experience for all of us.”

FB: You roomed with Skylar Diggins during a USA Basketball tour and you roomed with Brittney Griner during your WNBA Draft weekend. Can you compare the personalities and experiences with two of the top picks in this year’s draft?

LC: “My rooming experience with the 2013 WNBA #1 and #3 draft picks were better than I could have imagined. During our rooming experience, I learned that both are amazing, complex, and dynamic people. Entering the roommate situation with Skylar (in Bankok, Thailand), I wasn’t sure what to expect because she plays with such a fierce personality on the court. We ended up having a great time discussing topics that ranged from dating, family, and religion. Not only did we hang out and bond in our hotel room together, we shared various experiences at the grocery store, sight-seeing the reclining Buddha, and of course, winning a gold medal together. Skylar is a leader on and off the court and her presence always demands attention, a natural-born leader I would say. Although she is a complete superstar, it was fun getting to know her and experience just how down to earth she is.

“Brittney is quite the character, a complete goofball and an even bigger kid. It was refreshing to see someone be as silly as I am off the court. I was in awe that Brittney and I shared similar passions about working with the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered) community. We conversed about her desire to start an anti-bullying campaign and my passion to stop spiritual and religious violence towards the diverse group of people.

“I was able to share and experience rookie orientation along with the WNBA draft with both of these fine young women, and am pleased to know them not only as fellow athletes but as people off of the court. I found that both of these women are so much more than the sport they play. We laughed, cried, and even hugged throughout our short journeys together.”

FB: What will be the most important personal item that you will bring with you from California, and why is it special to you?

LC: “My books will definitely be the most important items I bring. I am a nerd when it comes to reading. Although I absolutely loved attending Berkeley, I am excited to graduate so I can have more free time to read all of the books on my to-read list. A couple of those include: The Last Lecture, South of Broad, and A Piece of Cake. A few of my favorite reads include: Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott; Beach Music by Pat Conroy; and Love is an Orientation by Andrew Martin. Book recommendations are always welcome!”

FB: During a radio interview on Tuesday you talked about your dog Bruschi. Describe your dog, how he got his name, will he accompany you to Indiana?

LC: “Reluctantly, I must admit that our family dog was named Bruschi because my younger brother’s favorite player was Teddy Bruschi of the New England Patriots. Ironically, she is a girl dog, but my brother was such huge fan of them he didn’t care. Sadly, Bruschi will be staying in Southern California where she has always lived with my family.”

FB: Have you ever been to Indiana before, and if so, what do you remember most?

LC: “I have been to Indiana once, last year the Bears traveled to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. I remember coming up short in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. I also remember them having a ton of fans and I hear that Indiana is a huge sports place, so I am excited to interact with the Fever fans.”

FB: Is there anything in particular that you look forward to seeing in Indianapolis?

LC: “Upon researching Indianapolis, I learned that it is home to an eclectic group of 11 museums that range from art and science, to medical history, to a children’s museum and the NCAA Hall of Champions museum. I am excited to get out and explore the new city that I will call home for the next few months and hopefully for years to come.”

FB: Describe your personality off the basketball court. What things do you like to do in your spare time?

LC: “I love to go to Café’s, order a chai tea latte, and delve into a book for a couple of hours. I also really love to draw and paint and I am currently trying to learn how to play the ukulele.”

FB: How would your friends describe Layshia Clarendon off the court?

LC: “My friends would probably say that I am uncoordinated off the basketball court, I often run into doors or trip over the cracks in the sidewalk. They would say that I am a big kid and always love to have fun, enjoy the moment, and that I am passionate about life and people. They would also tease me about the amount of hours I sleep because I am always calculating how much sleep I will get if I go to bed at a certain time. I must get at least 8 hours! Lastly, they would say that I absolutely love ice cream!”

FB: What is your favorite TV show and why?

LC: “Currently my favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. It’s set up as the end of the world due to a zombie apocalypse attempting to wipe out the human species. I love this show because it is a total thriller that combines the need to survive with the flaws of human relationships. It ties in issues of trust, deception, and even insanity and leaves you at the edge of your seat every episode.”

FB: What is your favorite type of music?

LC: “I listen to an eclectic mix of music, such as gospel, alternative rock, country and R&B. I can’t choose a favorite genre of music but my favorite band is currently Six60, a New Zealand band that has a soulful rock feeling.”

FB: Favorite professional athlete? Favorite pro or college sports teams?

LC: “My favorite professional athletes growing up were Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Sue Bird. Of course my favorite college sports team is always going to be the California Golden Bears!”