Jordan Clarkson’s journey with the Philippine National team has ended, for now. The Philippine National team was hopeful to have Clarkson join them later in September for the FIBA Asia Championships in China, but, via a statement by the PBA, those hopes were recently dashed:
We did all that we could to have Jordan Clarkson join Gilas for the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship but we are saddened to report that we are not able to beat the deadline to secure the necessary clearances on time. Although we pushed the boundaries whenever possible, this process cannot be rushed if it were to be done properly. But we respectfully adhere to the schedules set by the Los Angeles Lakers whom SBP officials Ricky Vargas and Pato Gregorio met with to try to exhaust all possible options. SBP Executive Director Sonny Barrios was also in Geneva to personally attend to the guidelines set by FIBA which also required more time.
The inability to get clearance from FIBA in time, however, was not the only hurdle that was not cleared. Clarkson’s commitment to the Lakers also presented issues. More from the PBA:
The Los Angeles Lakers Management has allowed Jordan Clarkson to play for the Gilas Pilipinas Team as long as it will not conflict with the schedule of the NBA. Unfortunately, under this limitation, Jordan Clarkson can only participate in the elimination phase of the tournament. This scheduling issue is distinct only to the FIBA Asia Zone, and it does not occur in the other FIBA zones. By this token, we will ask FIBA Asia to consider holding the tournament in the same manner as FIBA Americas, Europe, Oceania and Africa do, that is avoiding scheduling conflict with the calendar of the NBA.
This timing issue is one of the main reasons why I was not on board with Clarkson playing in this specific tournament. The overlap with Lakers’ training camp presented real challenges, in addition to any additional concerns tied to injury risk or Clarkson’s contract status.
The good news for the Lakers, then, is that Clarkson will be in camp on time and ready to build on his strong rookie season. He hopes to take another leap in his growth as a player this season and building chemistry on the floor with D’Angelo Russell while also finding his way in a lineup next to Kobe Byrant and shifting to shooting guard are all important to him being able to progress the way he hopes.
The other good news is that not playing for the Philippines now will not eliminate him from future participation. Both Clarkson and the PBA seem very committed to his inclusion in the future, which should only aid in his development while also offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a marquee player on a National Team. Things may not have worked out this time, but it looks like they will down the line.