A.J. Clayton is one of two veteran underclassmen at Ohio. The sophomore played in 34 games last season and made a positive impact on the court.
The sophomore is now a starter for the Bobcats. He started in an exhibition against Capital and in both of Ohio’s games so far. His height is helpful to the Bobcats on defense, and he’s collected nine defensive rebounds at this point in the season.
The Post chatted with Clayton about his goal to be a collegiate or professional basketball coach, his love of peanut M&Ms and more.
The Post: What is your favorite place on campus?
Clayton: My favorite place is probably Hangover Easy. I really like to eat there.
TP: (laughs) That’s where I went this morning with my friends. What do you usually get when you go there?
Clayton: I really like the cinnamon bun french toast. I really like the sweets part of the menu.
TP: Are you more of a sweet or savory person?
Clayton: I like sweet food a lot.
TP: What is your favorite sweet food?
Clayton: I really like candy … I like candy a lot.
TP: Like sour candy or sweet like chocolate candy?
Clayton: It doesn’t matter. (laughs) I like it all.
TP: What’s your favorite?
Clayton: My favorite chocolate is peanut M&Ms. That’s my favorite candy. If I could have one candy the rest of my life, it’s that.
TP: Have you ever been to one of those stores where they have all the candies and you can put them in the big bags?
Clayton: Yeah, I don’t go to those ones often. I just get the bag of peanut M&Ms, or I get another candy I like.
TP: If you could create a candy, what would you create and what would you call it?
Clayton: I don’t even know because I think peanut M&Ms are the perfect candy. I don’t think I can go much better than that. I don’t think I can improve upon that at all, really.
TP: OK, so what is your major?
Clayton: I’m a physical activity and sport coaching major.
TP: I’m assuming you’d like to coach basketball. Do you have a dream place or level (to coach?)
Clayton: I want to either coach at the college level or at the professional level. That’s what I want to do.
TP: OK, cool. So would you ever coach kids?
Clayton: I have experience with the camps we do here and camps I’ve done on my own. It’s a lot more difficult, but I would for a little bit.
TP: Good. Bribe them with candy.
Clayton: Candy is always a good incentive.
TP: So (along the lines of coaching), what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Clayton: (pauses) I don’t even know. Probably (to be) adaptable to all the situations I’ve been put in. That’s probably the best advice, it's just being ready for anything and that’s just being able to be adaptable.
TP: Speaking of adaptability, there are three A.J.(ay)’s on the team now, you have an I.J. (Ezuma), you have an Elmore James who might go by E.J. and a D.J. (Dwight Wilson III). How have you adapted to that?
Clayton: So, we call Ajay Sheldon Shelly, or shell, that’s usually what most of us call him. A.J. Brown, most of us call him Anthony (or) a lot of people call him Jose. Then for me, it just depends. A lot of people just call me Clayton or Slash gets said a lot, but a lot of the time, if you say ‘A.J.(ay), all of us look… The coaches, usually it's the first and last name they’ll say.
TP: Slash? Like the guitarist?
Clayton: It was a nickname that coach (Jake) Ness came up with. Last year, just kind of out of the blue, he said ‘we’ve got three A.J.(ay)s next year’ and he said Slash. It just kind of stuck.