Members of the Clemson women’s basketball team will share their thoughts and experiences on ClemsonTigers.com throughout the 2017-18 season. This week’s entry is by sophomore, Towson, Md. native Jaia Alexander. Scroll down to read previous blog entries.
10/18/17: Challenging Academics, Team Chemistry & Bonding...Jaia Alexander
My sophomore year has been nothing short of challenging academically. My classes are very difficult this year as I am beginning my business curriculum. I am taking management, marketing, biology lab, Western World music and business statistics. The hardest class I have is business statistics, and my favorite class is marketing. Between class and tutoring, my academic schedule is pretty busy.
Since the season has started, balancing basketball and school can be tough, but it is also very exciting. Practice has been going well so far and the team is working really hard. I have been out with an injury, so I was able to watch the first three weeks of practice closely. My teammates have been focusing on what the coaches are asking of us and taking information in every day. I am also really proud of our three freshmen. They are a talented group with a lot of potential to be a big help this season.
I have noticed a big difference in the team’s mentality this year. It is clear that everyone is more focused and determined after the season we had last year. We are all excited to get back on the floor together. I have enjoyed watching my teammates put in extra work over the summer to better their individual games, so that we can be better as a team.
Not only are we closer on the floor, but we are closer off the court as well. Recently, we were surprised with a team bonding activity. The staff and players took a trip to Breakout Games in Greenville. The Breakout Games are a series of different rooms that simulate high intensity situations. The situations require out-of-the-box thinking in order to reach the goal. In groups, we had to figure out how to break out of the room together in under an hour.
This activity was one of my favorite team bonding experiences, because no one knew what to expect. It challenged us to trust each other and use all of our strengths. My group included Kobi, Aliyah, Siana, Danielle, Chyna, Sirah and KP. I learned something new about every one of the people in my group. I learned that Kobi is good at putting in combinations and locking us out of safes. Aliyah is great at using clues to break out of kidnapping situations. Siana is good at encouraging the group, because she is not so good at finding codes. I learned that listening to Danielle is important, because she can find things that look like a clock. Chyna doesn’t like being trapped, and Sirah is good at doing math and calculating numbers to find codes. I also learned that KP resorts to being forceful with things when she is trapped.
I am really looking forward to this year and making more memories with my teammates that have now become my family.
10/11/17: A Valuable Summer in Clemson
Hi everybody, this is redshirt junior Francesca Tagliapietra.
We are less than three weeks away from our first scrimmage (on October 29th…be there…LOL!) and I couldn’t be more excited. I haven’t played for the last two years after my knee injury, so I really look forward to being back on the court with my teammates.
During the summer, the coaches have always allowed me to go home to Italy, but since I did not spend last year’s fall semester in Clemson, I decided to stay here for the entire summer. I could not have made a better decision, because it was a great opportunity to catch up with school and especially with basketball workouts. At first, I was worried that because I was not going to be as busy as we are during season, I was going to miss my family and friends a lot. Thanks to my teammates who also stayed here for the summer, I had a great time! As you already read from Ivy’s blog, our summer was full of adventures. Long story short, we went hiking, took trips to Atlanta and Greenville, and tried many different food places. (If anyone needs any recommendations on places to eat, you can ask me!) Besides the fun, I also had the chance to work out a lot; I gradually got back in shape and started to feel confident again. I want to thank Sthefany Thomas, a former Clemson basketball player that was also one of our GAs last year; she was always available for workouts and I had the chance to learn a lot from her.
Last but not least, as a senior in the classroom, I will earn my degree in psychology in May of 2018. I am very excited about it, because my whole family will be here from Italy for the graduation ceremony.
That’s all from me for now! Stay tuned for more blogs, and hope to see you at our home games! Our schedule is out, so make sure to go check it out!
Hi, my name is Aliyah Collier. I am from Augusta, Georgia, home of the Masters. I am currently a junior here at Clemson University.
Our first official practice for the upcoming season was on Monday, and it was great! I love being around my teammates (my family), and I enjoy being in practice with them. The atmosphere and energy in the room was really high for our first practice and I loved every bit of it. It just shows how ready my teammates and I are for the season.
I enjoyed my summer. While I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my family, I enjoyed every moment I had with them. I am a big family person; family means a lot to me.
I also had the opportunity to run into my old friend Destiny Thomas (we played AAU together). Destiny joined our team this summer as a freshman. I also met another new addition to the team, freshman Tylar Bennett. Since they’ve been on campus, my teammate and roommate Chyna Cotton and I have grown closer to them and learned things about them, on the court and off. It’s been great getting to know them better, and having them to push me and motivate me as the season approaches.
I have a lot to accomplish this year, and I feel that it is going to be a great and wonderful year for us, and that this team will go far. We are coming back stronger and better than ever
9/27/17: Family, Academics & a Special Upcoming Season…Danielle Edwards
This year is an exciting year for the Edwards family. I have a twin brother, Drew, who plays basketball for Providence College in Rhode Island, and this year is his comeback year. Drew was unable to play last year due to a knee injury, but he’s back now and better than ever. Drew and I have an older brother, Darryle, who just graduated from the University of Maryland, and now he’s a Graduate Assistant for the men’s team at Providence College! Although I don’t get to see my brothers often, I know that they are doing great things.
Academically, the beginning of the school year has been one that does not compare to any of the other years I’ve been at Clemson University. I am currently a junior academically, however, I am graduating a year early so that I can start my Master’s degree. Therefore, I have a lot to juggle on my plate. Currently, in addition to classes, I am an intern in our Athletic Communication department, and at the same time I am working hard on the court and in the weight room with a group of young women that are preparing to change the face of this basketball program. Every day I see my teammates putting in work and going the extra mile, which shows the dedication that this team has. This year is going to be a very special year for our team. November cannot come fast enough.
So far, we are improving our conditioning and working on getting stronger in the weight room. Every day is a challenge to make us better. Every rep is an obstacle that we work through together. Next week starts the beginning of official practices, which means we are that much closer to our season opener. I am excited to see what the season has in store for us.
9/20/17: A Summer to Remember Forever…Sirah Diarra
Hi, my name is Sirah Diarra. I am from Montreal, Canada and I am currently a junior at Clemson University. This summer, I had the opportunity to play with the Quebec-Canada basketball team, which represented Canada at the eighth edition of the Francophone Games. The games took place in Abidjan in Ivory Coast (Africa). 50+ countries were part of the event. Prior to the games, we played in a tournament back in Canada and we also went to Buenos Aires in Argentina for a week-and-a-half-long training camp (June 23-July 3). On our way to Abidjan we had the chance to make a stop in Morocco and see Casablanca for a day. We left for Africa on July 18 and returned to Canada on August 1.
I am so grateful for the experience that I had this summer. Not only for the fact that we won the silver medal, but also for the opportunity to see the world and meet different people from different places around the world. I had the chance to play with very talented players, and also to compete against good players from everywhere around the world. I think this really helped me to realize how there is so much talent out there, and that you have to work extremely hard to be at the top.
The competition was tough and it felt like I was in the middle of the college regular season, just because of the number of games we played in one summer. From a personal point of view, it helped me find myself again and find the player that I used to be when I first arrived in Clemson. I also think the experience helped me because I was definitely ready to come back to Clemson and get back to work for the upcoming season.
Outside of basketball, the summer was amazing because I had the chance to spend time with my family and friends, travel and discover new places and be a tourist in these foreign countries. Not only did I extend my knowledge on a basketball level but also on a cultural level by being around people with different cultures, values and lifestyle.
To me, this trip was about more than just basketball. It was very important because my parents are from Africa and I had the chance to go back there for the second time. I was also able to be with my godmother who lives in Ivory Coast and who spoiled me the whole time that I was there. If I had the chance to do it over again, I would do it in a heartbeat. This was one of the best experiences of my life and I will forever remember it.
9/13/17: A Family Summer & Fall Excitement on Campus...Keniece Purvis
This past summer was one to remember! Since I have been in college, I have not been able to go home for more than two weeks at a time, but this summer, I was able to go home for almost two months! I spent time with a lot of friends and family, which brought me great joy. I was also able to watch my younger brother cross the stage at his high school graduation. I was so very proud of him; most people think he’s my twin. I was also really glad I was able to spend a lot of time with him before our family sent him off to college. I spent time with some of my closest friends, who kept me busy doing things every week such as movie nights, a concert, bowling, swimming, etc.
After a good time visiting home, summer school and summer workouts began. Our team was fortunate enough to be able to work with The Program this summer. We learned a lot of team building skills which helped us trust one another and be closer as a unit. As the summer came to an end we had a two-week break before the regular school year began. During this time, I attended my family reunion and really enjoyed my time with my extended family.
Now, we are about three weeks in to the fall semester, and the environment on campus is great. All the students are back and the campus is full. Preseason workouts have continued and we are working a lot on strength and conditioning. This past weekend, my teammates and I had the opportunity to attend the Clemson versus Auburn football game. The game was very lively and exhilarating. So many people were on campus cheering our Tigers on; it was such an experience! Of course, Clemson beat Auburn 14-6, so it was a great night in Tiger Town! We have about a month left until our season is officially here. I am very excited, this year I will be a junior and I foresee a lot of good things to come on and off the court.
9/6/17: My Epic Summer Journey…Nelly Perry
If I had to choose a word to describe this summer I would say “blessed.” This summer, I traveled a great deal, and I was able to see my family more than I have in the past three summers at Clemson. To start the summer, I attended the Future concert, which was an amazing experience. I also spent some time with friends of a family member in North Carolina, where we attended a birthday celebration. It was cool because it was for an older person and everyone laughed together as they shared and relived old stories. After that, I went home to New Jersey. The feeling of going home is so sweet because of the love my family and friends show me; I can tell that I am genuinely missed. I was home for two weeks, during which time I continuously gave back to my community by attending various camps giving short motivational speeches, reading to children, playing one on one games and guiding them through basketball drills. The best experience of all was when I attended the Extended School Year Program (ESY at H.B Wilson) with the Special Seeds Program. The children were so excited for me to be there and it was a great time.
What I also found interesting this summer was working the Audra Smith House of Hoops Camp. It was an awesome experience for me. I was able to see young talent and give the players an understanding of what it is like to play at the collegiate level. A few days after camp ended, I went to see the Atlanta Dream play and I was able to take a picture with the WNBA president and a current player. Being in the presence of what my future goals are, I believe that was one of my favorite moments of my summer.
After that, we settled back in on campus and started our summer workouts. We did many team activities together off the court, but I think the most helpful part was being able to complete The Program. The Program was very intense, but a great learning experience. It helped me to see my teammates and myself from a different perspective. It also allowed me to define myself as a leader, for example, speaking up, being out of my comfort zone, motivating, encouraging and leading by example. Those skills will help me in everyday life, both on and off the court.
I must say that the end of the summer was the best of all (EPIC!). My siblings and I surprised my mother with a surprise birthday/appreciation party and I was definitely in attendance. On top of that, I started my senior year and preseason workouts. My major is Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management (PRTM) and the first few weeks of class have been pretty good. Overall, this summer I witnessed my teammates work very hard and do things out of their comfort zones, and because of that, I know this year is going to be nothing but astounding. I am anxiously anticipating earning my degree and having a great school year and athletic career.
8/30/17: Senior Year Excitment…Alexis Carter
This summer I went home to Portland, Oregon for a month! It was the longest I’ve been home since I left for college. During my time at home, I was able to witness my childhood best friend get married! It was a beautiful wedding and I was so happy to be a bridesmaid and take part in the union of two people I care so much about! While I was home I was also able to watch my brothers play for their summer sports programs. Although I was in Portland for most of the break, I also spent two weeks in New York, where I was able to tour the city and enjoy my summer vacation.
Classes started a week ago, and the first week of school has made me excited, as this is my last year before I will earn my degree! It is nice to have all the students back on campus because there is a buzz in the air everywhere you go! This year I will be finishing up my degree by taking all upper level management classes, and also completing my minor in athletic leadership. Another big aspect of my educational experience here at Clemson has been the tutoring and advising opportunities for the athletes. This year the Athletic Department has opened up a new academic facility (the Nieri Family Enrichment Center) that is beautiful! It is also in a great location that is only a three-minute walk from Littlejohn.
For my last year at Clemson, I am most excited about earning my degree and graduating from a top school. Being a student-athlete and earning a business degree is definitely a challenge, but I am blessed to have the opportunity to learn and compete in such a great environment. I've already had an amazing three years on and off the court.
8/23/17: An Adventurous Summer…Ivy Atkism
If I had to describe this summer in one word it would be "adventure".
I promised myself that this summer would be the best one of my college career, and it didn’t disappoint. It was full of adventures, good times, experiences, but most importantly, good people. I think the best way to explain my summer would be in phases.
Phase 1 was my time of adventures and exploring. Whether it was hiking Table Rock, trips to Greenville to explore, or trips to Atlanta to watch basketball and spend some time at Top Golf, it was all time well spent. Victoria (Cardaci), Franny (Francesca Tagliapietra) and I had a list of things we wanted to accomplish and we got most of it done.
Phase 2 was full of basketball. The whole team made their way back to campus for the second session of summer school and we started team workouts. One of my favorite parts of the summer was the togetherness that I experienced with our team after working together to make it through The Program. The Program is an experience that encourages leadership and togetherness. It was amazing to see different teammates lead and speak up when necessary, support each other when we got down, and come together through the tough times. We were given different obstacles and situations of adversity through sand bags, logs, the 10-foot end of the pool, and THE HEAT. We fought hard through everything that was thrown at us and finished every mission. After that I experience, I was sure that I had teammates who would fight with me through anything and everything.
Phase 3 was my summer job. This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to work as a full-time nanny and it was an experience I will never forget. While my weekdays were full of work, there was still time for a fun on the weekends with friends and family.
The most important thing that I will take away from this summer is the amount of personal growth I experienced. Struggling with anxiety always made it difficult to hang out with friends and teammates and get out of my comfort zone, but this summer was full of loving people and adventures I’ll never forget.