Rysheed Jordan's AAU director talks guard's decision, game, and personality

Cameron Spencer

Jordan provided a verbal commitment to the Johnnies on Thursday morning.

When Rysheed Jordan announced his commitment to St. John's on Thursday morning, it ended a long and strenuous process.

The Rumble spoke with Jordan's Philly Pride AAU director, Kamal Yard, who provided insight into the guard's decision process, overall game, and personality. In short, St. John's fans are not the only people excited about the commitment.

Jordan was relieved to make the decision after two years of heavy consideration, which recently narrowed his possible destinations down to St. John's, Temple, and UCLA. Ultimately, it was Steve Lavin and Tony Chiles' persistence and hard recruiting tactics, along with Jordan's relationships with the current Red Storm players, that differentiated the Johnnies from the competitors.

Yard explained how Temple was likely Jordan's top choice in the beginning of the process, with its campus located just miles from where the guard grew up in Philadelphia. He liked Owls head coach Fran Dunphy and knew the program wanted him, but decided he needed to move away from home to "grow up."

UCLA always seemed like Jordan's third choice, only having a chance to land the talented scorer based on program tradition and recognition. The Bruins' chances, according to Yard, dwindled drastically when the team fired Ben Howland and hired former New Mexico head coach Steve Alford. Jordan would have had to develop a whole new relationship with Alford, which was not feasible this late in the process.

"I want to thank Temple and UCLA for showing interest in me," Jordan said. "I am a Philly native and love my city, and can't wait to represent in the Big Apple."

As Jordan's AAU director, Yard knows Rysheed's game more than most. He immediately compared Jordan to Oklahoma City Thunder superstar (and former UCLA stand-out) Russell Westbrook. Yard believes Jordan could be an even better play-maker than Westbrook and could easily be the best guard St. John's has ever had.

When Jordan's commitment became a reality on Thursday, the Twitter questioning among St. John's fans on Twitter was if he is a premier shooter. Lavin's Johnnies shot a woeful 27.1 from three-point range in 2012-13, and ranked 258th in the nation in overall field goal percentage. To put it bluntly, the Red Storm desperately needs a shooter.

According to Yard, Jordan will contribute to the Storm's shooting improvement as a freshman in 2013-14. Though Jordan is not a natural shooter, he has improved immensely over the past few years. He shot 40% from long range this past season, which included a game in which he converted from deep eight times.

On top of being a potent scorer, Jordan remains diligent in his duties as a distributor. Yard expressed how Jordan will undoubtedly make an impact with the offensively challenged Johnnies, with his presence providing D`Angelo Harrison, Phil Greene IV, JaKarr Sampson, and his other new teammates with cleaner looks.

That is just the type of kid Rysheed Jordan is. "Rysheed's weaknesses today can be his strength in three months," Yard explained. "That's just who he is."

In Jordan, St. John's is receiving a "phenomenal" young man who brings an old school feel in morals, is a "stickler" for family values, and provides an "edgy" inner-city mentality. The pieces are in place for Jordan to succeed with the Red Storm.

"I am looking forward to taking the next steps as a basketball player and in continuing my education at St. John's University," Jordan added. "New York City has great energy and the Garden is a place everyone dreams of playing."

Sure, Rysheed may be a Philly kid. But he now wants to be a New Yorker.

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