Los Angeles Lakers sophomore guard Jordan Clarkson will have to set his sights on training camp for the next step in his basketball career after he officially bowed out of playing for the Philippines during FIBA Asia. Jordan made large strides to connect with the country after previously never visiting the island nation, but couldn't seal his inclusion on the team. The young guard released a statement on his status going forward, writing that he's "disappointed" he couldn't join Gilas Pilipinas this summer, but that it wouldn't be fair to the 12-man roster to continue pressing.
Clarkson was cleared by the Lakers to play in the opening phase of FIBA Asia, but there were scheduling conflicts with the start of training camp. Jordan was required to return to Los Angeles by Sep. 28, while FIBA games continue into the first week of October.
Here's an excerpt from the statement Clarkson released on the official Philippine Basketball Association website, thanking fans for the support he's received through the summer:
Upon my return from supporting Gilas in The Jones Cup, I had a great talk with my dad. I told him of my experiences with the team and how passionate I was about representing an entire country. My Dad told me to follow my heart.
I spoke to Lakers General Manager, Mitch Kupchak, and he shared the same sentiments about representing an entire country and supported my decision either way.
The Filipino Fans are some of the most passionate in the world and many of them are Laker's supporters. I want to sincerely thank all of the fans who sent me letters of encouragement during these last three months about Gilas.
Jordan may not have made the leap to international play in one whirlwind summer -- he also played for the Lakers in Las Vegas through Summer League -- but he'll have opportunities in the future to represent the Philippines. The next time he'll suit up for competitive play will be on Oct. 4 when the Lakers open preseason against the Utah Jazz in Hawaii.