Daniel Clemente '01
Basketball | Class of 2016
Harvard Athletic Achievements
All-District second team (2001)
All-Ivy League first team (2000, 2001)
Ivy League Rookie of the Year (1998)
Ranks second in career 3-pointers (220), fifth in career points (1,484), and seventh in career 3-point percentage (40.1)
2001 Raymond P. Lavietes ’36 Award winner as the team’s MVP
2001 John P. Fadden Award and William J. Bingham Award winner
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I am honored and very humbled to be recognized this evening and would like to thank the Harvard Varsity Club and the selection committee for this wonderful honor. For the greater part of my childhood and the entirety of my young adult life I was driven by a singular goal: to play basketball to the absolute best of my ability and to compete at the highest possible level. I literally spent day after day, hour after hour in my driveway or at any court I could find. I loved the game and every part of it. If my family found my obsession a bit monotonous they did not show it, unwavering in their support of me and my goals at every turn, in ways that I can only fully appreciate now as an adult with a family of my own.
Then there was a shift. It was a turning point that drastically altered the path of my life. It occurred one winter evening on a phone call with my father from a hallway payphone in the dorm of my Connecticut prep school. I was telling him about some interest I had been receiving from some "big basketball schools" and talking through my options when he interrupted and plainly said "Dan, you have the opportunity to go to Harvard. There is no choice to be made." His directness stirred in me a change in perspective, it was like opening a new window in my previously tunneled vision. And I knew that he was right: Harvard offered the opportunity to continue the pursuit of my athletic aspirations within a community that was striving for excellence on many diverse levels. Basketball had been the driving force behind every decision I made for so long, and now I was going to make one that was above and beyond the game itself.
It goes without saying that, other than the decision to marry my beautiful wife Jill, choosing Harvard was the best decision of my life. But the vast amount of growth I experienced during my time at Harvard did not come in the classroom or even on the basketball court. My relationships with teammates, roommates and fellow students in many ways became the measuring sticks, the standard for every relationship I would have from that point forward. The many qualities of the people I met in terms of character, determination, work ethic, loyalty, and humility inspired me to be better and to do better and have continued to shape me as a man and a father, long after the conclusion of my days as a college athlete.
I am honored and humbled by this award, which I accept on behalf of my family, teammates, friends and the community who supported me throughout my athletic career and who by example continue to remind me that what really matters can't be measured in points or wins and losses.