This edition of Five Questions is with Claire Stern. The recent NDSU commit will be a Junior at Maple Grove High School (MN) and just completed the club season with Minnesota Suns 2024 Blue Star. Thanks for your time Claire!
1) You got a late start to the summer, but made the most of it when you got back on the court with Minnesota Suns 2024 Blue Star. What were some of your favorite moments from this past club season, either on the court or off of it with your teammates?
There we’re a ton of amazing moments on and off the court that happened during my AAU season. When I was in my brace, coaches Dre and Hannah kept me involved while I was healing. I learned so much about the game preparation during practice and game strategy when we were competing. My coaches also gave me the opportunity to be engaged by letting me share my thoughts on certain situations. After I was able to return to the play in July, one of my other favorite moments was during our tournament in Indianapolis. July was a very busy month for us because we had several back to back tournaments. In the middle of our Indianapolis tournament, we went out for dinner at a restaurant that had a bowling alley as well. It was so fun to be able to do that as a team and was a great stress reliever during the long week.
2) You just announced your commitment to North Dakota State. First of all, congratulations! What were some of the factors that went into your commitment to Head Coach Jory Collins and the Bison?
I was blessed to have had conversations with a number of great programs and coaches. What made NDSU stand out was the connection I formed with Coach Jory and his staff during our calls and my visits. They really helped me visualize playing in his system. Off the court factors played a role in me selecting NDSU as well, especially my family. I wanted to go to a place where I could feel like I went and left for college but was still in a close distance from my family. Several of my cousins have attended NDSU as well and loved the experience.
3) A lot of players are still in the middle or early stages of the recruiting process. Is there any advice to them when they are trying to narrow down the schools they are looking at?
When your looking at a school, I would say don’t only focus on the basketball part. Yes that is a huge and important part, but you want to go to a college that you not only like athletically, but also academically, and with a city around the school that feels like it could be your future home.
4) You are coming off a good season at Maple Grove where the Crimson fell just short to Roseville in the 5AAAA Championship Game. What are some of your personal goals and team goals for this season to try and get Maple Grove back to the State Tournament?
I definitely look forward to the chance this year to help my team get to State. It was difficult for me to watch from the bench when we were so close last year. My personal goal is to work on my aggressiveness on offense and defense, and improve on the little things, for example, assists, rebounds, and steals. My team goal is to continue to push the ball up the court and play together as a unified team because when we do these things we can compete with the best.
5) Maple Grove has a strong tradition in Girls Basketball. The young players are following the current players as role models. What tips or advice would you give to the younger Crimson players that will follow you in the years to come?
Control the things that are in your control, your attitude and work ethic. This is something that I have worked on and will continue to work on throughout my seasons. Being able to not focus on the past mistakes you made and working your hardest throughout the whole game will be a main component in making you into the best basketball player you could be. Accept that when you push yourself to make yourself a better player you will make mistakes. Don't punish yourself for the mistakes, instead learn from them.