|The Jordan kids:|
Jordans reign on cloud nice
December 14, 2006
BY MICHAEL O'BRIEN Staff Reporter
They may be the sons of Michael Jordan, but don't expect to see Jeff or Marcus Jordan flying through the air, tongue extended, ready to posterize an opponent.
Not that the Loyola Academy teammates couldn't. It's just that the tongue thing would be out of character.
Somehow, despite their name and game, the Jordans have managed to retain a disarming amount of humility.
Jeff's demeanor is well-chronicled at this point. One of the national high school basketball preview magazines even named him the most polite player in the country.
It's a hard-earned title. For the last three years, Jeff has handled a wide range of bizarre and often intrusive questions with poise, kindness and good humor.
The 6-2 senior has been asked everything imaginable about his dad, his house, if he was in ''Space Jam,'' etc.
Marcus, a 6-3 sophomore, seems to be following in his brother's footsteps. This is the first season he has been talking with the media, but he already carries himself with the same calm confidence.
The Jordans also display a trait rather rare among high school players: They like to talk basketball -- specifically, X's and O's and game plans.
After Loyola beat Hales Franciscan on Friday, Marcus was asked why he was so successful in the second half. His answer wasn't typical.
''They were playing a triangle-and-two defense covering Rob [Belcore] and Jeff, and I had to show them they had to respect me, as well,'' Marcus said.
He did just that, scoring eight points in the second half to spark Loyola to the victory.
Marcus is reaping a lot of the benefits of being the younger brother. Jeff had to deal with the initial surge of public curiosity and media frenzy that accompanied Michael Jordan's son playing high school basketball. By the time Marcus came around last year, that was old news.
''My brother paved the way for me,'' Marcus said. ''I was watching and learning while he went through everything. I love him for that.''
It's also clear that Marcus has benefitted from all those years of playing against Jeff. Marcus had the built-in advantage of a regular playmate who was wiser and stronger.
''It's nice to think that I may have had something to do with that,'' Jeff said. ''We've spent our whole lives playing with and against each other.''
Most scouts think Marcus has more potential as a college player than Jeff.
''Marcus has the bigger upside,'' said Roy Schmidt of Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye Report. ''I see him being a higher-level college prospect. He's stronger and more athletic than Jeff.''
Jeff has been hearing that for quite a while. He doesn't seem to mind.
''There's no jealousy or anything,'' Jeff said. ''That's my little brother. I knew he would be successful. I'm proud of the player he is.''
Up until this point, Jeff has had a solid if unspectacular career. The unspectacular part could change this season. The Ramblers are one of the top teams in the state, and Jeff is their point guard.
''The way they are playing right now, they are clearly an elite-level team in the state,'' Schmidt said. ''They are capable of reaching Peoria and of surprising some people and winning it all.''
Jeff has four schools on his list: Loyola, Davidson, Illinois State and UIC. He isn't saying, but Loyola is considered the leader. A Loyola assistant was chatting with Jeff's mom, Juanita, after Friday's game.
''He's an ideal mid-major-level player,'' Schmidt said. ''He'd be perfect for the Missouri Valley or the Horizon League. Any mid-major, high-academic-caliber school.''
There were rumors this month that Miami had offered Jeff a scholarship.
''I've talked with Miami,'' Jeff said. ''They haven't offered, but it's something I'd be interested in.''
Jeff hasn't received an offer from a high-major school yet. That's likely to change. The Ramblers will be playing many high-profile games this season. If Jeff plays well, or maybe if a school feels Marcus is likely to follow Jeff to college, an offer could come quickly.
It certainly wouldn't be a bad idea for a college to snag both Jordans because they play well together. Marcus found Jeff for an alley-oop layup in the Hales game.
''That's something we mess around with a lot,'' Marcus said. ''[Loyola coach Bryan Tucker] just tells me to throw it up and let him go get it.''
The brothers also receive plenty of advice from dad. Michael Jordan doesn't exactly blend in at a high school game. He's a vocal presence, offering encouragement to the players and an occasional stern word for the referees. It doesn't bother his sons.
''Not really,'' Marcus said. ''Sometimes I can see him shouting at me, and I know what he's trying to say.''
Marcus already projects as a high-major prospect.
''He will probably be good enough to play in the Big Ten and maybe the ACC,'' Schmidt said.
Most of the top-ranked sophomores in the state played varsity their freshman year, so it may take Marcus a month or two to establish himself. But he already ranked among the top five sophomores in the state and the top 100 in the country.
''You can tell he's going to be a great player,'' Hales coach Gary London said. ''They are both real special kids, regardless of the name.''
FATHER KNOWS (HOW TO SCORE) BEST
Michael Jordan averaged a triple-double (29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists) as a senior at Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C. Here's how his sons Jeff, a senior, and Marcus, a sophomore, have fared in the scoring column for Loyola Academy this season:
Date Opponent Jeff Marcus
11/20 Prairie Ridge 11 5
11/21 Round Lake 8 4
11/24 Barrington 15 13
11/25 Mundelein 7 12
11/27 Carmel 11 5
12/5 St. Laurence 15 7
12/8 Hales Franciscan 13 11
12/11 St. Francis de Sales 11 7
Totals 91 64
(11.4 ppg) (8 ppg)
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