One in a series of player profiles previewing the 2020-21 City Six college basketball season.
Jasha Clinton, new to Philadelphia, a freshman guard at Temple, last season’s high school player of the year in Virginia, follows a path from the Tidewater area of her state. There was a special player from down around there, made his home up here for a while.
A big Virginia-to-Philly connection. Can Clinton guess the name?
“I actually don’t know,” Clinton said over the phone.
A guy named Iverson?
“My dad liked him,” Clinton said. “That’s how I knew of him.”
When you do the math, it adds up. Clinton was 8 months old in Virginia Beach when Allen Iverson played for the Sixers in the 2001 NBA Finals. Nobody ever asked Iverson about what he thought of Wes Unseld or Elvin Hayes or Rick Barry playing in the 1975 Finals.
“I like [Russell] Westbrook,” Clinton said of her personal hoops favorite. “He’s fast.”
Basketball was Clinton’s game since she was little, she said, following her older sisters to the gym. She liked running track but loved playing basketball. She became dominant by high school. An 80-4 record, three straight state titles at Princess Anne High School, first-team all-state as a junior, then player of the year, in a hoops-centric state. Clinton also played for the high-powered Boo Williams AAU team.
“Higher competition,” Clinton said of being on the summer Nike circuit. “Different than regular AAU.”
She liked all that. In high school, she said, you could get away with some things. Now, in college, she already feels the difference in practice.
“They want everybody to be perfect,” she said. “I’m working on the stuff I really need to work on. Working more on my left hand.”
Even before practices, she’d spent an entire workout session just left-handed dribbling, left-handed shooting, strengthening her off hand.
Her real strength?
“I think defense,” Clinton said. “I can run around the whole court, to be honest. But I think my defense is what really sticks out.”
It doesn’t sound like the work required on North Broad Street will faze her.
“I used to love practice,” Clinton said. “I’d keep the ball in my hand. I would want to go to practice every day.”