Will MJ be a future NBA Prospect?
Jordan heir Marcus stars at Central Florida
By Jason King, Yahoo! Sports Dec 23, 8:55 am EST
ORLANDO, Fla. – He sits in a suite high above the basketball court, protected from potential autograph-seekers and media members and college students with cell-phone cameras.
Just in case any of them were to, you know, show interest.
For the most part, though, NBA legend Michael Jordan can slip in to watch a basketball game at the University of Central Florida these days without much fanfare. A few folks may gawk and point prior to tipoff, but usually they’re fixated on the same player His Airness is there to watch.
Marcus Jordan has bolstered his scoring as a sophomore at Central Florida.
Jordan’s son Marcus.
“I’m sure a lot of people think this opportunity was just handed to me because I’m related to Michael Jordan,” Marcus Jordan told Yahoo! Sports after a game earlier this month. “The truth is that it wasn’t easy. I worked hard to get here, just like everyone else.”
It’s paying off.
Not just for Marcus Jordan, but for Central Florida as well.
More than a month into the 2010-11 season, the 11-0 Knights are one of seven remaining undefeated teams in college basketball and tout victories over major conference schools such as Florida, Miami and South Florida.
Marcus Jordan is one of the main reasons.
A 6-foot-3, 200-pound guard, he ranks second on the team in scoring with 15.2 points per game and is also averaging three assists. Earlier this season he paid homage to dear ol’ dad when he soared for a tomahawk slam over a Stetson player.
The dunk – the first of Jordan’s career – was featured as one of the Top 10 plays on “SportsCenter” and came moments after Stetson fans had chanted “You’re not Michael” while Jordan was at the free-throw line.
In elementary school, friends used to pester Marcus and Jeffrey for free pairs of sneakers or ask them if they starred with their father in the movie “Space Jam.” During middle school and AAU basketball games, parents sometimes complained to referees that the Jordan boys received favorable calls because of their last name.
By the time they reached high school, every opposing player wanted to be the guy that held Marcus Jordan to single digits or the one who dunked in his face. For Marcus, getting a shot blocked was no big deal. But the kid who swatted it would have a story to tell – and probably embellish – for years.
It didn’t take long for Marcus to become numb to it all. While everyone else was busy making comparisons, he said there came a time when he realized he’d never be able to emulate arguably the best player in NBA history.
And no one else would, either.
“No matter who you are, you always want to be like your dad when you’re growing up,” said Marcus, who turns 20 on Christmas Eve. “I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t want to be like my dad. I definitely did.
“But once I got to high school I stopped growing. He’s got five inches on me. There are only a certain amount of things he could do that I’m able to do. I realized that.”
Marcus, left, and dad, Michael Jordan, take in an Orlando Magic game.
Jordan paused and leaned back in the bleachers in an empty UCF Arena.
“Eventually,” he said, “my goal became for people watch me play for the first time and think ‘Marcus Jordan … wow. That kid is a player.’ If I accomplish that, it’s enough for me.”
Jordan is at that level now, but there were times early on when those close to him wondered if he’d make it this far.
Because Michael was on the road so much, the family enlisted the help of Carl Vanoy and John Hicks – who are nephews of Michael’s former wife, Juanita – to assist with the day-to-day activities that were a part of Marcus and Jeffrey’s childhood.
Whether they were taking them to school or picking them up, dropping them off at basketball practice or shopping with them on a weekend, Vanoy and Hicks’’ main responsibility for years were Marcus and Jeffrey Jordan.
“One of us was there every day of their lives,” Vanoy said.
As big of a role as they played in all aspects of their upbringing, Vanoy and Hicks’ biggest influence on the Jordan boys involved basketball. Michael was always there to offer advice over the phone, and he shot jumpers and taught moves to his sons on the family’s indoor court whenever he was home.
But the best way to learn how to play basketball is through pickup games. One-on-one, two-on-two … it doesn’t matter. The competition is what’s important. Because they were from the south side of Chicago – “a lot rougher than Highland Park,” Hicks chuckled – Marcus and Jeffrey’s cousins were just the right guys to bring out their competitive fire when they were in elementary school.
“We beat them up,” said Hicks, who turns 33 next week. “We didn’t take it easy on them. We’d knock them down and never help them back up. And we never let them win a game – ever. I think it made both of them tougher people.”
Especially Marcus, who often cried when he didn’t get his way. That didn’t sit well with his cousins, who pushed Marcus even harder when he got upset.
“We wouldn’t let him quit,” Hicks said. “There are no quitters in our family. We weren’t raised like that. We just had to toughen him up. We had to let him know that people aren’t always going to let you have your way. You’ve got to make your own way.”
That’s why it’s so satisfying for Vanoy and Hicks to watch Marcus now.
After averaging eight points as a freshman, Marcus has taken his game to a new level under first-year Central Florida coach Donnie Jones. The process began over the summer, when daily 9 a.m. workouts helped Marcus drop 20 pounds, down to 200. His body fat decreased from 12 percent to 6 percent.
Under Jones’ up-tempo style, Marcus has nearly doubled his eight-point scoring average from his freshman year. With Keith Clanton pouring in points and grabbing rebounds down low and Marcus and guard Isaac Sosa providing a threat on the perimeter, Central Florida looks more than capable of challenging Memphis for the Conference USA title.
“Marcus has been huge for us because of his ability to score,” said Jones, the former Marshall coach who was a longtime assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida.
“I told him the biggest thing for him was to establish his own identity. I said, ‘Everybody knows who your father is, and that’s a great thing. But your identity is going to be based on what you do on the court and how you handle success and the people around you. That’s what’s going to go on your individual resume.’
“He’s taken great [pride] in becoming his own man. Now he’s getting attention for his basketball accomplishments instead of his father’s.”
Honored as he is to have his sons playing for his program, Jones said the “buzz” surrounding Michael Jordan’s connection to the Knights has simmered a bit on Central Florida’s campus. Michael Jordan has been to two games this season as well as a few practices. Jones said he’s been more than accommodating when he’s been asked to speak to the team.
“Michael is very proud of Marcus and Jeffrey,” Vanoy said. “He may let them know that a little bit, but he doesn’t want to give them so much credit that they quit working on their games. But I know for a fact that he is very proud of them.”
Marcus said his father either calls or texts after every game to offer opinions and pointers. Michael Jordan watches any game that isn’t televised on the Internet.
“He’s like any other dad,” Jones said. “He wants his sons to be treated normal, to be pushed and for their coaches to demand their best and not treat them any differently. He wants us to treat them the same as we do every other player.”
That’s exactly what’s happening with Marcus Jordan – not just on the court, but off of it, too.
Instead of asking about his father, students occasionally stop him to congratulate him on a win or ask about an upcoming opponent. Even though the attention never bothered him in the past, Marcus said it’s refreshing to “fly under the radar” a bit on Central Florida’s campus.
“A lot of people don’t really say anything to me,” he said. “I don’t really get bugged.”
“But hey,” he said, “if people want to come up and talk to me about our team or how I played in a game, I’m all for it. That’ll be great.”
I said that WEEEEKS ago. I think he could be a potential 1st rounder (LATE) by the end of his senior season.
Should be since he's only a soph prob wont be a lotto or talked about as a high first round be will get invites and might get drafted
Do you think from the exposure he his getting this year, that he will become a transfer to another power house program maybe UNC?
i doubt if he would be willing to sit out a year....
i think he's the 5 most improved players in the country...nobody was mentioning as a possible nba player this time last season...
I can definately see him as a future nba player especially considering how he's played against good competition this year all he needs is a big tournament run and then he will be considered a legitimate prospect by his senior year he at least gets second round but with a tournament run he gets a first round look.
Something i found out last year. Its a myth that a big tournament gets guys drafted. When GM's were asked about that they said that guys are already on there draft board and they already know what skills they have. Its the fans that are surprised by someone having a big tournament run and thinking a kid will be drafted higher because of that but in actuality the kid was already high on peoples draft board and they move up when they have good workouts.
in some cases haveing a good tournament helps...beasley was mentioned as the top pick in 2008.but derrick rose's outstanding play in the tournament moved him up to number 1....
I thought so too but Teams already were considering Rose as the top pick. I can understand how i didn't know that because teams don't tell you who they are looking at and all the hype comes from Basketball sites and fans but not From the GM's. I remember when McDyess has a great tournament and i thought he went high because of that then some Teams said he was already that high and higher on there draft board, Players very rarely show anything new in the tournament that teams haven't seen them do at some point during the regular season.after thinking about it i understood how true that is. when a player does well in the tournament he doesn't all of a sudden become a good slasher,shooter,rebounder, if you watch them during the season you could see that they could already do those things and have had big games where they have shoot,rebounded blocked shots at a very high rate. The rare ones that do move up because of the tournament do things that teams didn't know they could do because they didn't show it during the season. Like a guy who has played center and showed no jumper or handles then someone gets hurt and they move to small forward and shows a jumper and handles. Then they still don't move up in the draft until they come to workout and show that they can do that consistently and that it wasn't just a fluke. I found all this stuff out about a year ago and made a post about it but got to ask some NBA scouts ( friends of my brother) questions while at my nephews tournament out in cali last month and found out alot more things that i assumed were right.
Marcus Jordan's improvement and style of play are very reminiscent to that of Jordan Crawford, the 24th pick in the 2010 draft. I'd say his play, improvement and him being the son of Michael Jordan will get him looks in the 1st round of the draft sooner or later.
He kinda reminds me of the taylor kid. I think he also went to that college. Taylor looked more explosive though
Yeah Jermaine Taylor is more of a slasher and a better athlete.
Do you think he will transfer to a power house Jorrye?
No I don't I think he'll stay put.
Is Courtney Lee a good comparison for Jordan? Even though Lee is 6-5 while Jordan is 6-3, I think Jordan could be a really good defender and Jordan is more a shooter.
Don't be surprised if Roy Williams offers him a transfer/scholarship to an already backcourt heavy Tarheel team.
It's only right if another Jordan fulfills his father's legacy at his alma mater.
Don't be surprised if Roy Williams offers him a transfer/scholarship to an already backcourt heavy Tarheel team.
Why? That backcourt doesn't need Jordan at all. It would be cool to see a Jordan play for Carolina but they don't need him at all. I have hopes for Strickland, Marshall and future recruits
Coach K missed out on Steph Curry so he offered his brother IMO.
Roy will offer Marcus just watch after the season.
Nah, Coach K offered Seth Curry because he lost Cyzk and Williams left. He needed another combo guard back there. PLUS, Irving wasn't a lock for Duke until Coach Cal decided on Knight over Irving.
Do you think if Seth's last name was not Curry he would still have gotten an offer from Coach K?
Probably. You forget...Duke wanted another wing and even recruited Carrick Felix from JUCO. Coach K wanted a wing and once Curry was open and Duke grabbed him up.
I don't think Curry got an offer from Krzyzewski at all. He was transferring and was interested in Duke, and Obviously Coach K was interested in having him. But I'm pretty sure you don't just offer players on other teams scholarships.
still both good at shooting!