Courtesy of The Philadelphia InquirerMen's Basketball
Recruit Jordan to attend Orange Madness at Syracuse on Friday as part of official visit
Over the past five years, Syracuse has been a mecca for talented basketball players from Philadelphia.
Head coach Jim Boeheim and assistant coach Mike Hopkins have lured a star-studded group to come play for the Orange, including Dion Waiters, Scoop Jardine and Rick Jackson.
Philadelphia native Rysheed Jordan may be the next player to join that list. Jordan, a senior guard at Vaux Roberts High School, will attend Orange Madness at Syracuse on Friday night as part of his official visit to campus. Syracuse is one of seven schools on Jordan’s radar. He said Friday’s visit will help determine whether SU is the right school for him.
Jordan’s list was originally at 11 schools, but he recently cut it down to seven: Alabama, Rutgers, St. Johns, Syracuse, Temple, UCLA and Xavier. He said attending Syracuse is definitely a possibility, largely because of the players from Philadelphia who have come before him.
“Out of all the Philly players that went to Syracuse, a lot have gone on to play at the next level,” Jordan said. “I think Syracuse is like Philly. When I’ve talked to Philly players they’ve told me how great it is.”
Watching Dion Waiters make the jump from a dependable role player to one of the most electrifying players in college basketball and the eventual No. 4 pick in the NBA draft was particularly appealing for Jordan.
Syracuse’s style of play and the way the Orange gets up and down the floor are also selling points for Jordan. Playing in a 2-3 zone is not an issue for Jordan, who said he has great respect for Boeheim’s and Hopkins’ methods.
Jordan, now the No. 16 point guard and No. 64 overall recruit in the country, according to ESPN, wasn’t always a star. He didn’t play AAU basketball until the ninth grade, which is much later than most players of his caliber.
That’s when Philly Pride director Kamal Yard finally brought him aboard. Yard had watched Jordan play for more than four years on the playground and in recreational leagues, but couldn’t get him to join the Pride.
In the ninth grade, that all changed.
“He’s the classic late bloomer at AAU. He’s relatively new to the whole AAU thing, which actually is really good, because he’s not spoiled by the process.”
Kamal Yard, Philly Pride director
Yard made his case for why Jordan should play for the Pride yet again. This time, the message clicked with Jordan. Now that he was in high school and getting serious about basketball, he knew playing for the Pride would help take his game to the next level.
“He’s the classic late bloomer at AAU,” Yard said. “He’s relatively new to the whole AAU thing, which actually is really good, because he’s not spoiled by the process.”
Jordan’s first dominant game as a member of the Pride came during his sophomore season. The Pride traveled to Pittsburgh to play in a tournament. Yard wanted his team to get as much out of the experience as it possibly could, so he asked the tournament director to play Team Takeover, the No. 1 AAU team in the entire country.
Yard pushed his team to “shoot for the big fish,” and he knew Jordan would do everything in his power to help his team win the game.
Jordan was up for the challenge, dropping 30 points and keeping his outmatched team within striking distance for the majority of the game before Team Takeover pulled away.
“Rysheed was unbelievable,” Yard said. “He was slashing and finishing over the top of those guys and making his teammates better. He was highly spirited and highly competitive. Defensively he was a thorn in the a**.”
Yard said the game against Team Takeover helped elevate Jordan’s game immensely and put him in the national spotlight.
“It was really like his coming-out party,” he said. “Everything mushroomed from there.”
Two years later, Jordan’s game has continued to develop. FOXSportNext.com recruiting analyst Evan Daniels said Jordan excels at getting into the paint and finishing around the rim. He uses his size and strength to maneuver around defenders and convert at the basket.
Both Daniels and ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep believe Jordan will be used as a combo guard in college and can help a team right away.
Telep said Jordan has a lot of potential, but still has to improve certain elements of his game, such as his jump shot and passing ability.
“He has innate physical ability to get into the paint,” Telep said. “I think the next step is adding some pace into his game, slowing down and being a game manager.”
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