Rick O'Brien: Vaux star Rysheed Jordan still mulling college choice

Rysheed Jordan drives the baseline against Haverford School on Saturday. Temple, UCLA, and St. John's are on the 6-foot-3 senior's short list.
Rysheed Jordan drives the baseline against Haverford School on Saturday. Temple, UCLA, and St. John's are on the 6-foot-3 senior's short list. (LOU RABITO / Staff)
Posted: January 20, 2013

Rysheed Jordan provides nary a hint of where he will play his college basketball. And he's a tough one to read. It's as if he has been working on his poker face.

The star point guard from Roberts Vaux says he will eventually choose from three finalists: Temple, St. John's, and UCLA.

Until then, don't hold your breath waiting for an announcement.

"He's like the wind," Cougars coach Jamie Ross said. "He blows in one direction one day, a different the next."

The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder, one of the country's top uncommitted seniors, is averaging 25 points for Vaux, which is around the corner from Jordan's home and less than two miles from Temple.

"He's long, he's lengthy, he's athletic, and he can get to the basket any time he wants," Ross said.

Jordan showed his playmaking and scoring skills in Thursday's Public League Division A contest vs. Del-Val Charter. He sparked a 76-68 victory with a game-high 29 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals, and one block.

In the fourth quarter, his silky-smooth dish to Amir Butler resulted in a layup that put the hosts in front, 63-55. Soon after, he zipped past his defender and into the lane, and finished with his left hand to make it 69-58.

Saturday at Archbishop Carroll, Jordan contributed 27 points in an 83-65 nonleague triumph over Haverford School.

"He's got natural-born athleticism, he sees the floor well, and he plays with the ease and confidence that good players have," said Norm Eavenson, a recruiting analyst for the Bob Gibbons All Star Report.

Over the summer, while playing for Philly Pride on the AAU circuit, Jordan raised his recruiting stock with solid efforts against top competition. "I think I stepped up pretty good, but I could have played better," he said.

Some have questioned Jordan's ability to knock down shots consistently from the perimeter.

"I think it's improved a lot," he said. "On some days, to get better, I'll put up 500 or so jumpers. I am working on it."

Temple coach Fran Dunphy has been a regular at Vaux's second-floor gym, watching Jordan dash up and down the blue-colored court. "I don't think he has a key to the place, but our security people certainly know him," Ross joked.

When Jordan attended a game at the Liacouras Center this season, fans in the Owls' student section raised a sign that said, "We want Rysheed Jordan."

The 18-year-old, who has seven brothers and sisters, said Temple "is like home to me. The campus is nice, and their guards get out and go. That's something I like."

Before the season, Jordan spent a weekend at UCLA. He said he enjoyed Tinseltown, where he ran into ex-Sixer Andre Iguodala.

"It was a beautiful campus," he said. "We drove by Beverly Hills, which was really something. I think I would like it there."

And how about St. John's, located in Queens and not too far from the bright lights of Manhattan?

"Playing at Madison Square Garden for home games would be pretty special," he said.

In addition to his mother and Ross, Jordan's advisers include his AAU coaches, Kamal Yard and Matthew "Moo" Johnson.

"He does listen to us," Ross said. "But none of us have told him to do one thing or another. The choice has to be his. He has to go where he's going to be the most comfortable."

Ross said Jordan reminds him of some of the city's top guards from the 1980s. Jerome "Pooh" Richardson (Ben Franklin, UCLA, NBA) and Ivan "Pick" Brown (Monsignor Bonner, St. Joseph's) were two who came to mind.

"He's got that same kind of toughness," the coach said. "I haven't seen anybody as explosive and tough as 'Sheed. He's a real Philly kid. He'll fight you tooth and nail for a loose ball."

Is 'Sheed ready to end all the suspense?

"Not yet," he said. "I'll probably wake up one day, and it'll just come to me."


Contact Rick O'Brien at robrien@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @ozoneinq. Read his blog, "The O'Zone,"

at www.philly.com/ozone

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