TABLA, TABLA Junior Counselors

TABLA JC Senior Interview: Lindsey Cleary!


Lindsey Cleary is a senior at Claremont McKenna College (CMC) who joined us as a Team Awesome Basketball Leadership Academy (TABLA) Junior Counselor (JC) for the inaugural year in 2017. Lindsey graduated from Holy Names Academy and is now majoring in Computer Science at CMC. During her basketball career at CMC, Lindsey made SCIAC All-Academic Team two years in a row and First Team All-SCIAC as a junior and senior. She also helped lead CMC to the SCIAC Championship game against Redlands during her senior season. After graduation, she will be working as a program manager at Microsoft and hopes to continue playing basketball and coaching younger players to help develop their skills.

Did you always know that you wanted to play basketball in college? What was the recruiting process like for you and why did you choose Claremont McKenna?

I didn’t know that I wanted to play in college until after sophomore year of high school I think. My main goal after 8th grade was playing varsity, and then once I started playing club in the summer I realized how passionate I was about playing and wanted to continue in any capacity. I did not have a ton of experience with recruiting and neither did my parents. My Dad made me a highlight reel and put it on Hudl and I made an account on a couple recruiting sites to send emails to coaches. I don’t know how much that helped, but a friend of ours was a junior at Claremont McKenna my senior year of high school and she recommended that I come down for a visit. So I talked with the coach and she was interested in me and I was very interested in the school and the program so I applied. I chose CMC because I knew I would be able to play basketball, and at the same time get an education at an elite institution with incredible resources which was important to me. 

What kind of leader would you describe yourself as? 

I would describe myself as a leader that empowers others. I do not like to tell people what to do, but instead give them the support so that they will also become leaders and help others. This entails a lot of listening and honesty. I believe that in order to expect someone to do something, you have to be willing to do it yourself and so I try to work hard and lead by example. 

How has that changed throughout your basketball career?

Over the course of my basketball career I started realizing things such as how I need to advocate for myself, and that in order for me to achieve my goals I needed to be the one to push myself. This led to me creating workouts for myself, and later in college using them to workout with teammates. Also communicating with coaches has become less intimidating while in college and I’ve learned how great it is to have an open line of honest communication with your coaches. I am definitely still working on myself and learning how to better speak up about my opinions and needs. 

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What was your biggest adjustment, basketball or non-basketball related, from high school to college?

Between high school and college, a big adjustment for me was probably structure. At home there was a time for school, a time for friends, a time for sports. But once I got to college it was up to me to decide when I was going to write that essay or finish that problem set. When I was going to go to the gym and lift or work on basketball. And there were no rules on how many desserts you could eat in the dining hall either or what nights you could party with friends. I had to become more disciplined towards my goals and decide what was important to me. My grades, improving at basketball and staying healthy required some sacrifice but I also feel that this led to better balance in my life.

What are some ways that you have given back to your community?

I enjoy working with younger kids in sports; while at college my team has led a few PE classes for the local elementary school because they do not have the funding for a PE program. I also volunteered at a basketball clinic on the weekends for younger kids to learn some basketball fundamentals. Outside of sports, I taught computer science to high school girls for a summer through Girls Who Code. 

What is one of your favorite TABLA memories?

My favorite TABLA memory is what made it so much different from any regular basketball camp. We did bonding activities that were about working together and supporting one another which encouraged teamwork and this was shown by the selfless way everyone played basketball together. 

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What is something fun you’ve been doing in quarantine?

While in quarantine I had some trouble sitting around because I need to be active so I put my energy into remodeling the backyard of the house that I’m staying in! I weeded out all the plant life that had been growing throughout the school year, planted some flowers and put in some lights to turn it into a nice hangout spot to do work, eat, workout or hangout at. 

TABLA 2020 is set for July 14th-17th at Shoreline Community College! Sign up here to join our TABLA community!