Being a top college recruit usually means being the best player on your high school team. The majority of college starters were at one point or another, dominating their respective high school leagues and that is also true of most bench players. The NCAA is a tough league and you need the attitude that you are one of the best to go along with the skill if you are to become one of division one’s top guys.
In the case of Rysheed Jordan who will be attending St. John’s next year, having the confidence to be a number one player will not be an issue. In his senior season, Jordan led his team to the Pennsylvania Class A state championship averaging 24.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.3 steals per game. In the state championship, Jordan raised his game to another level and led his team to the win by scoring 45 points.
When it came to his college recruiting, he eventually settled on the St. John’s Red Storm over UCLA and Temple. He strongly considered UCLA but the coaching change and uncertainty at the school probably had a hand in eliminating the school from contention. As for Temple, a school Jordan basically grew up in, it was simply a decision from Jordan to go away from home for school.
Combined with last year’s Big East rookie of the year, JaKarr Sampson, Chris Obekpa and possibly, D’Angelo Harrison, who was suspended by the team last year, Jordan would form a potent core that could do some very good things in the Big East.
Here are some highlights of Jordan.
In the NBA currently, the league is littered with athletic point guards who love to play above the rim. Rysheed Jordan is exactly that type of player. He is extremely athletic and quick, easily one of the better leapers in his recruiting class and a player who has a flair for the dramatic. Jordan knows how to entertain crowds with his acrobatics and enjoys it too.
That doesn’t mean that there is no substance to Jordan’s flair. His dribbling abilities are top notch and he can go anywhere he wants on the court with them. Jordan should be one of the best players in one on one situations from the moment he starts his NCAA career. The fact that he can use both of his hands almost equally makes him dangerous to go both right and left on his defender which makes him all that much harder to stay in front of.
At the rim, Jordan finishes with excellent ability. He can use either hand comfortably, knows how to use angles and gets great elevation to finish through contract. Jordan is also quick and smart enough to know how to avoid taking unnecessary charges while driving at the rim. His athleticism also allows him to avoid a lot of blocks from big men trying to defend the paint as Jordan is able to contort his body in the air to alter his lay up if he notices there is a chance he might get stopped at the rim. Jordan is always looking to attack the defense and never lets his opponents the chance to rest.
As a point guard, it is also important that Jordan be able to see the floor and make the easy passes. He has the skill to do that and he is not a selfish player. In transition, he is dangerous just as much for his passing as for his scoring. In the half court, while Jordan will need a little work, he promises to become a great drive and kick guy because defenders are going to start collapsing on his drives at the rim, leaving three point shooters open. When that starts happening, Jordan will have the ability to pass out of the paint and find his teammates for his easy three point opportunities.
On the physical side of things, Jordan looks the part. He is long and lean and has great footwork which will help mold him into a great defensive player provided he puts in the time. Jordan is already great at going for steals and gambling in the passing lanes but he will also need to work on his on ball defense, an area where he could easily become elite in a few years time.
Though he is an excellent driver, Jordan will need to work on his shooting from outside the paint. While he can hit shots as far back as the three point line he is not consistent with his jump shot. Defenders are aware and will often play of him and dare Jordan to shoot. When that happens in the NCAA, Jordan will have to be able to make his opponents pay by nailing shot after shot until the other team decides to defend you again. Being able to make his jump shots will also open up lanes for Jordan to drive in much more easily.
In the half court, it would be good for Jordan to really study the Red Storm’s playbook and really show that he is comfortable in leading a team and controlling its offense. There will be questions from people wondering if he is better suited as a shooting guard and Jordan will need to prove that he is able to run a half court offense to make those questions go away. All that is needed for that is practice and coaching, two things that Jordan will not lack at St. John’s.
From a defensive stand point, Jordan will need to learn not to gamble as much as he does. While getting steals are a good thing, often a steal attempt is missed and leaves the defender out of position and vulnerable for attack from the opposition. Against the better teams in the country, those opportunities will be taken advantage of and lead to easy points.
Physically, Jordan could stand to gain a little bit of bulk. At 175 pounds he is a little bit skinny which could lead to him getting pushed around by bigger guards. The weight gain idea is one that should be monitored closely though as Jordan does not want to lose any of his foot speed which is his best attribute as a basketball player.
What to expect at St. John’s:
Jordan will be an important piece for the St. John’s Red Storm from the second he arrives with the team. As an exciting and high flying guard, he will fill seats with his ability to entertain with a dunk or a flashy pass. He will also fill seats by helping his team win.
Though he will have some growing pains as he works to add a consistent jump shot, Jordan will undoubtedly have a lot of high scoring nights where it seems like he might be the best scorer in the NCAA. The more he develops, the easier scoring will come to him and the easier he will make it look.
Assuming he sticks around for a few years, Jordan could become one of the top players in the NCAA and one of its scoring leaders. He will definitely get a lot of attention from the NBA and will probably end up there at some point but in his time at St. John’s, he should do some pretty special things.