HS Q&A: Brandeis’ Claire Hale
Brandeis senior guard Claire Hale considers herself a better basketball player than violinist.
For six years, she juggled both endeavors until she left orchestra this year to focus on academics and basketball. It wasn’t an easy decision, but Hale is ranked in the top 4 percent of her class, and she thought she needed to lighten her load at school.
Hale averages 13.8 points to lead the Broncos, who were 5-0 heading into Tuesday’s game against Reagan. Hale helped the Broncos win the Northside ISD tournament title last weekend by averaging 13.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in four games. The championship lifted the Broncos two spots to No. 3 in this week’s Express-News rankings.
Hale is also a former volleyball player. She left that behind when she got into high school.
E-N: What expectations do you have for the team this season?
“We have a very deep team. We have lots of people who can come off the bench and contribute so much. I feel like we have some great shooters, but we also have some really strong posts, which helps us a lot. It’s just the beginning of the season, but we’ve been moving the ball very well and everybody’s been getting looks and getting the best shots that we can.”
E-N: How would you describe the way you typically play?
“I’ll definitely shoot, and I’ll drive, too. Also, you have to pass and get the best shot. I like to block shots. That’s always fun, and I think help defense is important, too.”
E-N: What was it about basketball that intrigued you?
“It’s very competitive and back and forth. My dad loves basketball. We’ve always played together, and both my parents have always there to support me. My brothers love to watch it. My entire family likes it, so it makes it easier to play.”
E-N: Who is your favorite basketball player?
“Kawhi Leonard is a really good basketball player. I know there’s all that drama, but he’s a really good basketball player. I’m a Spurs fan. I think (the drama) could have been handled in a different way, but he’s still a good basketball player and it’s sad how it all ended up.”
E-N: You played middle school volleyball, but basketball was your thing. Why did you stop playing volleyball?
“Volleyball was fun, but it wasn’t as intense as basketball at the level I was playing at. High school volleyball now is very intense and it’s a lot of fun to watch. At that age, I was more drawn to basketball for sure.”
E-N: What did you like about being in orchestra?
“It was nice because it allowed me to have a different outlet. I definitely learned time management because of my schoolwork, orchestra and basketball.”
E-N: How would you rate yourself as a violinist?
“I wasn’t horrible, but I wasn’t the best violinist. It was fun to be in it. I loved the Christmas concerts. Those were always my favorite. I love Christmas, and it was fun to play songs that you’ve heard growing up. It was cool to know how to play them.”
E-N: You left orchestra to focus on academics and basketball, was it an easy decision to make?
“No, it was a really hard decision because I didn’t stop orchestra because I didn’t like it. I stopped because I knew I wanted to pursue basketball in college. I felt I wanted focus my senior year on applying to colleges and focusing on basketball and just enjoying it.”
E-N: You are ranked in the top four percent of your class, what challenges does that present to you with academics and athletics?
“It’s definitely challenging, but I like the challenge, and I know that I’m pushing myself and better preparing myself for college. Knowing that I have the right skills and tools is helpful.”
E-N: Since you are ranked high in your class, you are going to have some good college opportunities and you also want to play college basketball. How are you going to figure that out?
“The main reason I’m going to college is for academics. That’s the number one factor on my list. I enjoy math, so I’m looking into fields like that. I love basketball, and I think it would be really fun to take it to the next level and have that experience.”