NEW HAVEN, Conn. (BVM) — Every high school basketball team strives for the same goal: perfection.
Whether it is a single game or a single possession, it is important to set this standard in order to maximize the ceiling of a team. Putnam Science Academy took this to heart, finishing the season 38-0 and winning a national championship.
38-0‼️ Putman Science Academy are your National Prep Champions 🏆 pic.twitter.com/Nv4ypvVCHk
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) March 12, 2022
The glue that kept it all together was senior point guard Desmond Claude.
“It was really mind blowing,” Claude said. “Each game we were hungry. We really bought into the system.”
Claude spent his first three seasons of his high school career at St. Thomas More School, but he decided he was going to transfer in search of a better opportunity. He landed at Putnam Science Academy and made an immediate impact, both in terms of team and individual success.
As the Mustangs continued to win throughout the year, Claude shot up ranking boards, now coming in as No. 76 in the 2022 class according to 247Sports.
On Jan. 20, the four-star point guard committed to Xavier University while holding 23 collegiate offers.
Deciding on a college is always a tough, lengthy decision for high school athletes, but his parents were a big help in Claude making the right choice.
His mother played basketball at Syracuse and his father played at Fairfield, so the recruiting process was nothing abnormal for the Claude family.
“They’ve been there,” Claude said. “They knew what was gonna happen. They know the ups and downs and what can go sideways. They know what college coaches expect and what they look for. It was very helpful to have them. That’s my support system, too.”
At the end of the day, the Musketeer basketball program was deemed the best fit by Claude and his parents.
“When I went on a visit, it felt really good,” Claude said. “I enjoyed it a lot and the players were very welcoming.”
However, on March 16, head coach Travis Steele was fired and replaced by Sean Miller three days later. Despite this, Claude stuck with his commitment to Xavier.
— Xavier Basketball (@XavierMBB) April 14, 2022
“He had enough trust built up with me,” Claude said about his relationship with coach Miller. “He has a lot of proof that pretty much all of his guards that he coached went to the league.”
Even with all the twists and turns throughout his recruitment, the overall journey was a blessing for Claude.
“It shows that all of the patience, all of the hard work and all of the time that you put in when people weren’t looking all paid off,” he said. “To have coaches that I’ve been watching for years on TV call my phone or text me was an amazing experience.”
Now on the forefront of Claude’s mind is to arrive in Cincinnati and succeed. The blueprint to doing this is by just being himself.
“I just have to go and do what I do,” Claude said. “That is working hard and playing my style that made the coaches want me. Just got to do what I do and a little bit more.”
While Claude still has many goals he wants to achieve, it is okay for him to take a breath once in a while, look in the rearview mirror and see the long journey he has gone through that made him the player and young man he is today.
“I kept going and didn’t give up,” Claude said. “Everything ended up working really good in my favor. I’m doing what I wanted to do and doing what I love.”