Rysheed Jordan draws crowd to summer league

ASSOCIATED PRESS Rysheed Jordan played in one summer league game before heading to his new team, St. John's, for preseason work.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Rysheed Jordan played in one summer league game before heading to his new team, St. John's, for preseason work.
Posted: July 10, 2013

WHEN THE LIGHTS went on at the playground at 10th and Olney for another round of games in the Chosen League last Wednesday night, an unexpected visitor drew a crowd upon news of his participation. His flow and charisma with the ball, and without, wowed fans, and opposing players alike.

Rysheed Jordan scored 26 points in his return to the Chosen League, the only time he will play in the league this summer. The star guard is headed off to spend the summer practicing with his new team, the St. John's Red Storm. He was slated to leave last week, but his departure from Philadelphia was pushed back because of the Fourth of July holiday.

That gave Jordan one last opportunity to play in the Chosen League, as he did last summer, and it also served as somewhat of a reunion for him. Out of the five players on his team, three were his teammates at Robert Vaux High School. Jordan was happy to play with those old teammates one last time.

"It felt good," Jordan said."I wasn't playing for real. I just had to break a sweat, that's all."

Jordan showed why he was ranked 17th on the ESPN100 recruiting list, including being the best player in the state of Pennsylvania. He averaged 26 points per game in his senior season at Vaux, possessing a seemingly effortless game, even when he is blowing by would-be defenders and finishing in traffic.

Jordan was heavily recruited by St. John's, Temple and UCLA. While many around the city believed he would stay local and go to Temple - after all, his nickname is "The Prince of North Philly" - Jordan said he wanted the chance to leave Philadelphia, where he has lived all his life. He said UCLA was too far, making St. John's a perfect fit.

The 6-4, 185-pound guard believes his game is in a good spot right now, but there is always room for improvement.

"I'm working on everything," he said simply.

"I think I can play good defense, and I can finish," Jordan added. "I can also pass the ball. I'm working on shooting a lot more."

Jordan will have every chance to work on his skills this summer in Queens, N.Y., with St. John's head coach Steve Lavin and his staff. Jordan is the only recruit for the class of 2013, and Lavin has taken the time to motivate his incoming freshman.

"We talk everyday," Jordan said about his new coach. "He sends me little quotes and videos. He sends videos of Steph Curry shooting and his ballhandling, stuff like that. He sends me a lot of guys' tapes. [Rajon] Rondo, Chris Paul, all the best point guards in the [NBA]."

Jordan is poised to make an immediate impact for the Red Storm when the season kicks off in November. With the inspiration of Lavin, and a chance to see playing time as a freshman, Jordan, a man of few words, can't wait to get to St. John's.

"I'm very excited," he said.

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