Q&A: Punahou’s Duke Clemens on playing in Mexico

Punahou's Duke Clemens signed with UCLA earlier this month and then played in a high school all-star game in Mexico City. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Life has been a whirlwind over the past few months for Duke Clemens.

The Punahou senior was busy enough as his football team entered the OIA-ILH alliance’s revamped schedule, giving all ILH programs many more games. Then came official visits, including one to UCLA, which Clemens signed with earlier this month.

Basketball season means Clemens is a key low-post scorer for No. 1-ranked Punahou. At 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds, he is an All-State offensive lineman on the gridiron, but on the hardwood, he is a scoring machine on the block with finesse and power.

Over the weekend, Clemens and teammate Maninoa Tufono landed in Mexico City to play in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Clemens chatted with Hawaii Prep World on Thursday.

HPW: What was the weather like? Mexico City is famous for its smog.

DC: It was pretty cold during the mornings and night, but during the day when the sun came out it was pretty warm. Nothing I’m not used to. Yes, there was a lot of smog. When we were driving to the airport you could see how not clear the air was.

HPW: How was the game? Was it physical or more of a showcase with not much hitting?

DC: The game was pretty physical. Everyone was trying hard and hitting when it was offense against defense, but for special teams it was kind of laid back.

HPW: Who were the best 3 offensive players you saw?

DC: I don’t know their names. But the running back for the East team was good. We had a receiver Giles Jackson (Freedom H.S., Michigan commit) and Josh Delgado (IMG Academy, WR, Uncommitted).

HPW: What was the best experience about being with other players?

DC: Best experience was just talking about things that we can all relate to. We were all big-time players and it was good to connect with guys on that level.

HPW: What was your favorite off-field experience?

DC: Favorite of- field experience was walking around a Mexican mall and just seeing a different ethnic group and how they move and act. Just to get a different perspective on a different person.

HPW: What was your favorite food?

DC: Tacos.


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