Basketball. Gaetan Clerc: “We showed against Kane that we never gave up”

Gaëtan Clerc firmly believes in La Rochelle’s chances in the semi-finals of the National 1 qualifier against Caen. © Aline Shuttle

In the first leg, he rested only six seconds on the La Rochelle bench. That means whether Gaëtan Clerc has been a key component of his team. On Friday, May 27, 2022, the ex-Caen BC player (2018-2020) will try to bring his team into the third game. La Rochelle will host CBC in the semi-final rematch of the playoffs.

Gaëtan, we had a feeling you were really tight during the first leg in Caen!

I knew it was Bryson (Bob) who would stand up for me, but I didn’t feel any preferential treatment. There was special interest, but I didn’t get upset in my game, Kane defended really well, making choices with certain players, but I was able to play my game without getting too upset. Maybe it’s not so humble to say (smile). Suppose I was being watched without being shut down completely.

How has it been for you in La Rochelle since you left?

I’ve had it for two years. It’s not the same project as in Caen, even if there is a desire to go up to Pro B. Here, we’re at the idea of ​​building basketball history. In Caen, the goal is to reconnect with her. There is a huge project around the Stade La Rochelais, participation in which is very exciting. At the same time, the city is wonderful. I enjoy. This is why I signed a new two-year contract. Two years to try to move to Pro B, if possible this season…

“Mixing the world of rugby with basketball”

The peculiarity of the La Rochelle project is that it is fully supported by the Rugby Club… Can you tell us that?

The desire to have a sports club with many high-level sports. Obviously there is rugby in mind, and then basketball who wants to climb to the Pro B level. But there will be other ambitions as well. The women’s cycling team starts to dominate. The Stade Rochelais brand is very strong in this field. We take advantage of her appearance. With our season, the whole club and the whole city support Stade La Rochelle.

What are the links between basketball and rugby?

It’s the same club with two entities. There are many employees who move from one to the other at the managerial, medical or athletic level. We also have common infrastructure. In fact, we share just about everything. The values ​​between rugby and basketball are very similar. It’s great to take a little bit of the rugby world and mix it up with basketball.

In our last home game against Royle, there were twenty good rugby players who came to see us. We also try to go and watch the rugby matches as often as possible. We feel a real unity within the club. It’s super fun.

Gaetan Clerk smiling on the basketball court, a frequent photo with him.
Gaetan Clerk smiling on the basketball court, a frequent photo with him. © Aline Shuttle

“There is more talent in Caen.”

Going back to your season, we’ve seen a strong surge in strength in recent months.

The start of the season was very complicated, especially with internal problems. From the back, we had a lot of injuries. We struggled to find our tee. When we found stability, we had two more injuries, Desmond (Quincy Jones) and Norville Curry. Paradoxically, this did not pollute the dynamism, but on the contrary! We have a very unified group, and we never give up. It was watched against Kane, when we were playing around seven, and we’ve been enjoying a lot this season.

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Should we see a stylistic conflict between the Caen singles and the La Rochelle group?

Kane has always had nine or ten players, or even eleven this season, relatively surviving injuries, when we were often playing with seven or eight. There is more talent on the other side. Most of them have known Pro B, they are players involved in N1. We are younger. We have to rely on the team and our discipline. There is also a good team game in Caen, but we saw in the previous games that it was the players who managed to make the difference: Karl (Ona Embu), Jade (Noel) … We may need more to spin the ball, we have less space.

“There is also a cauldron in La Rochelle.”

What lessons did the defeat to Kane in the semi-finals teach you?

There is a bit of frustration because we are not far from this game. The main lesson I took from this is that you can win and end up in the final. We have the keys for that. We put in a mediocre performance in the Cayenne, however, and we failed a lot. We’ll correct a few things to get a third game on Sunday. If we could get it, it would do a lot in people’s heads. We are confident and we really want to play a third match. We know it’s possible, even if winning requires a very good match, because Kane will arrive with a lot of intentions.

Cain relied heavily on their home audience. What about La Rochelle?

It’s smaller but it’s also a real cauldron in the last games. He would leave 3,000 places without problems (the room could hold 2,000 people, editor’s note). Many requests were rejected. I loved playing in this atmosphere in Caen. We all loved him! That’s why we play basketball. We’re not jealous of the Caen fans because there’s a real basketball fan out there every weekend. We will support. That is why we are confident in ourselves and why we win our home matches.

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