Reid Forgave, who used to cover St. John's for Fox Sports, delivers an account of Rysheed Jordan's life and past, and how it all went wrong. It's a very good read, from Bleacher Report.
"The basketball court was Sheed's sanctuary. He was most at peace on the floor," former St. John's head coach Steve Lavin says. "With the ball in his hands, he had command of the game and control of his life. It was between the practices and games when Sheed struggled. He'd get anxious and clearly was torn emotionally when separated from his family and Philly."
The challenge at St. John's was this: Focusing solely on basketball could turn that raw talent into the refined skills of an NBA millionaire. Could the coaching staff make Jordan realize that staying away from his family and his neighborhood now—staying away from the drama of North Philly and the family that looked to him as its rock—would be best for his family later?
"If this kid could just have had a six-month run where nothing would go wrong in his life, he could be rich beyond his wildest imagination," Chiles says. "He would have been a borderline lottery pick."
In all of this, it's clear why so many schools shied away from Rysheed Jordan despite his talent - he clearly had a lot of family responsibility going on along with the kind of entourage that can get in the way of the listening, learning and hard practice that it takes to start reaching full potential.
But the end speaks to the important point about not writing off a fellow person as an irredeemable criminal, a convict that will never amount to nothing. The kid still has potential, a chance to improve his life and his family's life.