Basketball binds mother, son

February 19, 1995|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Contributing Writer

Jared Clelan touched his first basketball while still in a crib. He made his first basket at 6 years old.

During the summer, Jared methodically worked on his jumper and pushed himself furiously at Johns Hopkins' gym. It's also not coincidental that he is known as one of the most fundamentally skilled players at Loyola High.

The typical coach's son -- with a twist.

When Jared tossed up 400 shots a day this summer, it wasn't his father running down the rebounds. In fact, Jared's father starts to dread basketball midway through the season.

Jared, a 6-foot senior guard, inherited his drive for the game from his mother, Nancy Blank, who is the women's coach at Hopkins.

"We have a unique relationship," said Blank, the winningest coach in Blue Jays history with 119 wins in nine years.

"When he was taking his 400 and some shots, I knew how hard he was working. Because I was there, passing him the ball every time."

Most of their time together centers on basketball. Talking, analyzing and playing basketball.

It's always on the television, especially when house favorite North Carolina plays. They even spend the off-season working at the same basketball camps.

They also attempt to attend each other's games. But Loyola High and Hopkins usually play games on Fridays with Hopkins ending just as Loyola is beginning.

"I am usually running off right when my games end," Blank said. "I won't get to see many more of his games because he goes to college next year.

"But I'm just like the other parents when I'm at his games. Except for when I'm yelling at the refs. I have knowledge, and that's dangerous."

And Blank translates that knowledge into success. She guided Hopkins to its first winning season in in 1988-89 and turned a 2-16 Blue Jays team into a playoff club in four seasons.

She also serves as an assistant athletic director and the senior women's administrator.

Blank passed down the product of her experience to Jared.

"We analyze the game all the time," said Jared, who averages 10 points and wants to continue his basketball career into Division III at either Roanoke, Rowan, Hampden-Sydney or Rochester Tech.

"We break down the teams when we watch TV together, talking about what they did or should've done."

Through this exchange, Jared picked up more than fundamentals. Jared absorbed his mother's desire for basketball.

"Jared is one of our most devoted players to the game of basketball," Loyola coach Jerry Savage said. "You can just tell he knew the fundamentals of the game when he came here. And I'm sure he got that from his mother."

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