Mesa High’s Tough Man: Eddie McClendon
To win any state championship in high school sports you need players that know their role on their respective teams. At Mesa High School, the boy’s varsity basketball team has that in Eddie McClendon, junior swingman, for the Jackrabbits.
“He’s a competitor. He competes on every possession for us.” Coach Burcar recently told me.
That is certainly the case if you have every seen this young man play on the basketball court, the track, or football field. Yes, McClendon is a multisport athlete at Mesa High. He takes great pride in that and how he approaches each sport.
One of the things that multi-sport athletes talk about is that the focus that it gives them outside of the playing field.
“Playing more than one sport helps me keep my focus on school and keeping me out of trouble. It gives me the focus I need in the classroom because if I don’t pass my classes, I don’t play. That’s enough for me to keep my focus.” McClendon stated.
I asked him about what it means to be Jackrabbit basketball player. He smiled and his chest got a little big.
“It means tradition. When I started going to school here, I had heard about the tradition. However, until you get going to classes and games you don’t fully understand. The coaches talk about that tradition a lot. It’s a sense of pride with all of us on the basketball team.” McClendon said.
When Eddie McClendon gets in his basketball “game mode”, he focuses in on what his coaches what him to do.
What does he bring to the court?
” I try and bring physicality every time I step on the court. It’s all about preparation and desire. I also try and bring muscle to the court.” McClendon said.
Having watched McClendon up close for the last couple of weeks I can visually confirm he brings the toughness for Mesa High. He fights over screens, he is communicating on the court, he blocks out and gets the tough rebound for the Jackrabbits.
“When I do my job, I know that the team has a better chance at winning the game. It’s all about getting the win, that’s why I play sports.” McClendon said with a smile.
In Mesa’s 67-50 win over the Skyline Coyotes on Thursday night, McClendon was again getting the tough rebounds and contributing on the offensive end. Eddie was hustling back on defense trying to make plays, but McClendon was also checking in with Coach Burcar on what the offensive and defensive calls were.
Eddie McClendon is multi-sport athlete that just wants to win. He doesn’t care how it’s done, he wants the win for the team.
The maturity of McClendon over the last couple of years is something that his basketball coaches have noticed.
“Eddie is a kid that plays with an edge, a chip on his shoulder. He has learned, sometimes the hard way, that this chip he plays with needs to be controlled. Eddie has learned how to control it. It’s great to see a player mature and his play on the court benefits.” Coach Burcar stated.
In the end, Eddie McClendon is a kid who knows his role on the Mesa High basketball team and he is just fine with that role. All he wants is for his team to be successful.
Keep doing what you’re doing Eddie McClendon because good things will be coming your way.