By Roy & Harv Schmidt
No high school basketball player in Illinois has been under more constant scrutiny than Whitney Young's Marcus Jordan. Such is the case when you are the son of the greatest basketball player who has ever lived. Expectations become too high and often end up being unrealistic. After watching Jordan at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, our message to the critics is quite simple--it is time to silence yourselves!
The bottom line is that Jordan can play. He has proven that to us whenever he has been on the court. We will offer more specific evidence along those lines as we go along. However, before we go any further, let us analyze why Jordan seems to be the subject of much debate when it comes to where he ranks among the top prospects in Illinois from the class of 2009 and why some have even suggested that he may be overrated.
In our opinion the biggest reason why Jordan has attracted some naysayers is because during the first month of this season, no other player on the Whitney Young team has been more affected by the 11 man rotation that head coach Tyrone Slaughter has consistently employed. As a result, Jordan's playing time has been limited and his numbers have not been as productive as some might expect. But when you play on a team that sports more overall talent and depth than any other team in the state, this comes with the territory.
All of this started to change at the recently concluded Proviso West tournament. Not only did Jordan get significant playing time, he made every minute that he was on the floor count. There is no doubt in our minds that Jordan was clearly the difference in Whitney Young's 59-45 semifinal win over New Trier. In that contest, Jordan turned in his best performance of the season thus far, as he wound up with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan was named to the Proviso West all-tournament team as a result of his efforts.
What also made Jordan's outing at Proviso West most significant was that it marked the first time this season that he, 6'2 junior Chris Colvin and 5'9 point guard A.J. Rompza were all on the court together for a substantial amount of time. We believe this is something that Whitney Young needs to stick with in its quest to win the class 4A state championship. Jordan finally appears to be getting more comfortable with Whitney Young's system after transferring from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL this past summer and when all three of the aforementioned players were on the floor, one could see the difference with respect to the team's overall chemistry.
From a recruiting standpoint, we are absolutely amazed that at the present time Jordan has received no scholarship offers from high major D1 programs, at least none that we are aware of. Once again, keep in mind that Marcus Jordan is the son of the greatest basketball player who has ever lived. With that being said and knowing that they are constantly in the spotlight, it would come as no surprise to find out that the Jordan family is keeping Marcus' recruitment extremely close to the vest.
So where does Marcus Jordan rank amongst the top 2009 prospects in Illinois? In our minds, he should be a part of any discussion that deals with the top five or six juniors in the state. He has all of the physical tools--he is strong and athletic. As a result, he consistently gets to the basket and is tough on the glass. While he is a bit streaky when it comes to shooting, he has shown that he has 3-point range. And last but certainly not least he plays hard and is unselfish.
Furthermore, when one considers the fact that all of the players who we would rank among the top five in Illinois from the 2009 class are up and down and tend to be inconsistent, it simply enhances our belief that Jordan deserves to be included in the team photo. On that note, here are our current rankings of the top five prospects in Illinois from the class of 2009 based upon the conclusion of holiday tournament action:
1) Brandon Paul 6'3 2G Gurnee (Warren)
2) Joe Bertrand 6'4 2G Sterling (H.S.)
3) Chris Colvin 6'2 PG Chicago (Whitney Young)
4) D.J. Richardson 6'3 2G Peoria (Central)
5) Marcus Jordan 6'2 2G Chicago (Whitney Young)