One of the more unique prospects in this years draft in terms of sheer physical tools and upside, Jerome Jordan
only started playing high level basketball about five years ago as a high school junior after he moved to the United States from his home country of Jamaica. Incredibly raw when he first stepped on campus at Tulsa, Jordan has consistently improved his skill level each year in school, with his offensive production along with it.
Here at Impact, Jordan is working on improving some of the weaker parts of his game, while also diversifying his skill set to make an easier transition to the NBA. The pick-and-roll game is obviously a major emphasis for him in his training, especially on the defensive end, where he showed a high level of awareness and attentiveness in the scrimmage portion of the workout, actively hedging and recovering every play, keeping his eye on his man and the ball, and doing a great job of staying between the ball and his man on rolls, picking off a few over-the-top passes with his excellent length. His lateral quickness will likely never be a major strength, but he looks far more comfortable here than he did in college on the perimeter, and if he plays with this level of attentiveness, he should have the physical tools to be a solid pick-and-roll defender in the NBA.
Offensively, Jordan looked good hitting jumpers out to 18-20 feet, mostly spotting up out of pick-and-pop situations, though he also spent a good deal of time using his length and athleticism on rolls to the basket. We saw small flashes of this mid-range jumper this season at Tulsa, so its good to see him continuing to display this part of his game, as it could be quite an asset moving forward. He showed an aggressive tendency to dunk everything on pick-and-rolls, emphatically on most possessions, though the killer instinct didnt show up the same way in post-up situations, where he seemed content to rely on his finesse game, which wasnt hitting consistently in the competitive portion of the workout.
Jordan looked to be in very good shape overall, while hes said to be emphasizing lower body and core strength in his strength training, something that will be very important for him at the next level, where his high center of gravity combined with still developing body could make things tough for him defending the post initially. Some have questioned his defensive effort and focus at times this season at Tulsa, as his blocked shots per 40 minutes pace adjusted have been on the decline for the past three seasons, something you dont want to see from a player with his length and athleticism. This could also very well be due to the adjustments opposing teams have made to playing against him, though.
While some have criticized Jordan for his laid back demeanor during certain games this season, its hard to question his off the court work ethic, given the leaps and bounds hes improved skill-wise over the past four years. The work hes doing here should help him projecting to the NBA, as getting better acclimated to pick-and-roll defense is something that needs to be high on his priority list, given how rarely he was put in that situation at Tulsa. Likewise, continuing to work on his mid-range jumper will only ease his transition, but further developing his body, which looks like it can still add quite a bit more strength, will probably be as important to his success as anything else.
Jordan is part of a large group of prospects fighting for a spot in the late first round, but should be able to help himself in workouts, where he will likely be matched up frequently with players like Daniel Orton
, Solomon Alabi
, Artsiom Parakhouski
, and Hassan Whiteside
. Also, a player with his unique background and physical tools will likely draw largely varying opinions from NBA teams, especially in a draft this deep, so there certainly could be a team picking earlier that falls in love with his long term potentiallike Charlotte did with Alexis Ajinca
a few years back. Going to a team with strong coaching and an emphasis on player development such as San Antonio, Houston, or Oklahoma City would be ideal for him, and would certainly go a long way towards maximizing his potential.Interview with Jerome JordanJim Hlavac:
How are your workouts going so far?Jerome Jordan:
Its been pretty good man. Weve been out here just trying to get better and just get bigger and stronger.JH:
How have these workouts been different than what you did in college?JJ:
Its more focused on the individual. Its more personalized. In college, its more generalized for the whole team.JH:
What specifically are you working on in your game to get ready for the NBA?JJ:
Just getting stronger and stuff and refining my post moves. And working on stepping away from the basket and making a few moves there.JH:
Are there any NBA guys you pattern your game after or you watch to learn from them?JJ:
Two guys I try to watch the most are Kevin Garnet and Tim Duncan
You started playing basketball late in life, tell us about that and your first couple of years in basketball.JJ:
Yeah, I started playing late; probably around age seventeen. I just shot up and kept growing. I always watched basketball, but never played. Once I took it up, I really liked it and everyone encouraged me to keep playing.JH:
You made huge strides every year at Tulsa. How much more room do you have to grow?JJ:
Everybody has different aspirations for themselves. I just see myself as young in the game and coming out here trying to get better. I think the skys the limit, I just have to keep working on it everyday.JH:
Thank you for your time, and good luck.