By Eric Yearian
Jerome Jordan, a native of Jamaica, picked up the game of basketball at a late age. Attending Tulsa, where he has played for four years, he has grown by leaps and bounds. Known primarily as a defensive player capable of blocking or altering virtually any shot, the “Jamaican Sensation” has focused on preparing himself for the NBA game the past few years.
Jordan has flown somewhat under the radar due to playing in a mid-major conference. At Tulsa, he set conference records for most blocks in a game, most blocks in a Conference USA Tournament, and has more blocks in his career than any other Conference USA player. Jordan led his team to a CBI Championship (where he was named MVP). He stayed at Tulsa for his senior year in order to prepare himself for a pro career. The time has come for him to enter the draft and begin that career. Jordan was gracious enough to talk to Eric Yearian about his draft preparation and what he expects from the NBA.
NBADraft.net: Playing at Tulsa, you didn’t get a lot of chances to play in front of a national audience. How would you describe your game to somebody that hasn’t seen you play?
Jerome Jordan: I think I can get a lot of stuff done on the court. At the defensive end: block shots, rebound, able to move pretty well, able to, you know, I can guard a couple positions, I’m more mobile, [I can guard] fours, and fives, even probably some threes. On the offensive end, you know, I can mix it up, go down low, score with my back to the basket, step away from the basket shoot from 15-17 feet.
NBADraft.net: Are there any NBA players that you would compare yourself to?
Jerome Jordan: I try to watch Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, I try to pick up little things from them. They have different styles, Kevin Garnett plays with a lot of power, he can definitely shoot it, has a lot of skills. Tim Duncan is more finesse, but he gets the job done as well. So I watch both of them guys.
NBADraft.net: One of the things that a lot of NBA general managers are reluctant to do is draft someone who stayed for their senior year in college. But with you, it’s kind of different because you’ve only been playing basketball for a handful of years, so how do you think having that mix of experience and potential works to your benefit?
Jerome Jordan: I think it helps a lot. I started [playing basketball] later, so I think my ceiling is still very high. I try to learn new stuff everyday, watching the playoffs right now, picking different people’s brains that I come across everyday, I think my ceiling is still high. I think I’ve learned a lot the last 4 years and I just keep getting better.
NBADraft.net: You mentioned getting better, what are some of the things that you are really working on, as far as your game, in getting ready for this draft and starting your career?
Jerome Jordan: Offensively, just being more consistent when moving away from the basket. I pretty much played with my back to the basket my whole four years and now showing teams that I can step away from the basket and make some moves, and then just continuing to develop my body more and add some more muscle, muscle mass, that’s pretty much it.
NBADraft.net: How would you compare yourself to some of the other big men in this particular draft class?
Jerome Jordan: I think everybody has different styles, and different stuff they do. I think I have a good, unique blend of everything. On the defensive end, blocking shots and offensively being able to score down low and step away from the basket.
NBADraft.net: Talking about the other players in the draft, because you went to Tulsa, you got to play Hassan Whiteside of Marshall three times last season and you outplayed him each time. How do you think that affected your draft stock, or how people viewed you?
Jerome Jordan: To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if that helped or not. We had a great matchup and it’s always good to go up against someone of similar size and talent. So, it was a good matchup for us. As far as that, I just have to keep learning out there and working on me and see what I can get done.
NBADraft.net: Leading up to this draft, what teams have you worked out for and do you have any visits scheduled for this week leading up to the draft?
Jerome Jordan: I did Sacramento, the Lakers, Minnesota, New Jersey, Detroit, and I’m currently in Phoenix, and I’ve got Denver left next week.
NBADraft.net: What kind of feedback are you getting from the NBA teams?
Jerome Jordan: I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. The say I’m showing them a lot of stuff on offense that I didn’t show during my time in college. I look bigger and longer in person to some of the different personnel that haven’t gotten a chance to see me in person, so when I show up I look like I’m bigger in person. It’s been all good feedback for the most part.
NBADraft.net: What are your plans for draft night, are you going to watch the draft, or are you one of those people who doesn’t want to sit there and deal with the suspense?
Jerome Jordan: Nah, I’ll watch it. I’ve watched it all my life and I’ll definitely watch it. I’ll be somewhere with my family not sure where I’ll be yet, but I’ll probably sit down and watch it with my family. I’ll just be happy to be in the draft, I’m just glad to be in this position right now.
NBADraft.net: What do you think your biggest adjustment is going to be once you get in the NBA?
Jerome Jordan: Probably the 82 games. That’s probably what it is. Everything else is just playing against different players. After being in college for four years, I think I’ve pretty much seen everything , even if just a little bit, so yeah, the 82 games will probably be my biggest adjustment.
NBADraft.net: What do you think you can contribute to your team your rookie season over those first 82 games?
Jerome Jordan: Whatever the team needs. I’ll come in, be a defensive player inside, just block shots, I can do that. If they need me to be more of an offensive presence, then I’m going to give them the option of low post scoring then I can step in and do that as well. It all depends on whatever the team needs me to be.
NBADraft.net: A lot of mock drafts have you going late first round, early to mid- second round. Say a team were to select you in the 2nd round and wanted you to play overseas or maybe in the D-League for a year or two, how would you feel about something like that?
Jerome Jordan: It’s my dream to play in the NBA, I’ll do whatever the team that takes me thinks would be beneficial to my growth and help me eventually play in the NBA. I’ll definitely continue to talk to my agent and discuss all my options, but my dream is to play in the NBA, so that’s my focus right now. I’m working right now to make that happen.
NBADraft.net: How do you plan on countering the size, strength, and physicality of NBA post player that you may not have had to deal with as much in the college game?
Jerome Jordan: Just keep getting stronger, I think if I keep getting stronger it will help everything and help me play more physical. I played a lot against bigger guys, and more physical guys. I’m definitely not worried about shying away from contact or anything. Just getting stronger, that will help you play against the big guys and play without fouling more.
NBADraft.net: Jerome, I want to thank you for letting us get this interview, I really appreciate it, and good luck this Thursday and I can’t wait to see what you do this season and the rest of your career.