Jan. 9, 2012
By Jon Cooper
Pierre Jordan is big into building.
The blueprint of his life goals is a multi-tiered one.
“I have a lot of things in mind I want to accomplish,” Jordan said. “Of course I want to go into the field of construction because I know there’s a lot of money in that. Also, later on, whenever my basketball career is over I want to go into coaching.”
That desire to build — whether its structures or future basketball players — is what made Georgia Tech a perfect fit for him.
He’s a graduate student pursuing a Master’s in building construction and facility management, while on the court he’s leading by example, helping fellow guards master head coach Brian Gregory’s system and rebuild the Yellow Jackets program.
“Pierre is a hard worker,” said point guard Mfon Udofia. “He’s just like another coach. Sometimes, when I do stuff wrong he talks to me throughout the game, throughout practices. He helps me out a lot.”
Jordan has plenty of knowledge to share. The Dunwoody, Ga., native and former star at Dunwoody High School attended Florida State for three years — playing two years and redshirting one — and got to the NCAA Tournament three times with the Seminoles, playing in one game. He knows what to do and how to get the message across.
“It’s just talking and staying positive with the guys, communicating at all times, letting them know when they make a mistake, just don’t get down,” he said. “Say they turn the ball over or didn’t make a shot, just focus on the next play because that play is over with. It’s time to move on. Don’t let that play pull you down because that’s going to affect the team. So basically just communicating, staying positive and getting people ready for the next play.”
Jordan has had to practice what he’s preached about staying positive in simply getting on the court.
He provided valuable minutes spelling Udofia, over the season’s first seven games, including recording a season best four assists with no turnovers against Siena on Nov. 23. But less than a week after the Siena game he was diagnosed with a urinary tract blockage that forced him to undergo two surgeries and kept him out of action for nearly three weeks.
“It was just an obstacle that I had to go through,” he said. “I went through it, I kept my head up and just stayed focused and stayed positive through the whole thing.”
Gregory is optimistic about what Jordan can offer as he gets back into playing shape.
“I still don’t think that we’ve seen all the contributions that Pierre can make,” he said. “Such a unique illness, that really affected his play and because of that with the lack of practice time that he’s had, it’s put him in a position where maybe he hasn’t been as consistent. But he’s done a good job in terms of really understanding what we’re trying to get done at that position. I’m hoping with the practice time last week and heading into the month of January and the new year that you’re going to see him continue play better for us.”
Jordan had what may be his best game since coming back on Saturday afternoon at Philips Arena against Duke. In 14 minutes he had two points, but more important, was big on the boards, pulling down three rebounds — matching his season high, which he got in each of Tech’s first two games of the season — handed out three assists (one off his season high) against just one turnover and brought his usual energy.
“I think Pierre helped us out quite a bit,” Gregory said. “He was a guy that gave us 14 really good minutes, three assists and one turnover. I still say he’s probably two weeks away from being completely healthy.”
Jordan’s mental health is certainly rising.
“It feels good getting over my surgery and everything,” he said. “Getting back in the groove can be tough, playing in rhythm. When I first got here, going through what I’ve been going through has been kind of hard because I haven’t been out there able to give 100 percent. So now I’m able to play hard and go hard and communicate. It feels great to be back.”
Gregory, obviously, is glad to have Jordan back healthy and back on the court and he commended Jordan’s attitude while working his way back.
“He’s done a good job of [mentoring],” he said. “One thing we talk about is you’re either bringing energy or taking energy. He is a guy that brings energy every day for us. So, at this stage of our development as a program that’s very, very important.”
Jordan expects to be back close to 100 percent in around two weeks and should be ready to go full-tilt when Tech visits Tallahassee to play Florida State.
“It’s going to mean a lot.” he said. “I still stay in contact with a lot of the guys down there. We’re still like brothers. On the court it’s all about business. We have to win and do our best to make our team win. Off the court, we’re brothers, we’re friends.”
His current team, while showing promise, is an unfinished work, much like the new McCamish Pavilion, which is in the shadows of Zelnak Center, where Tech practices.
With his interest in construction, Jordan admits that he can’t help but occasionally take notes on the progress of what will be Tech’s home next season.
“I’m just picking up things because it’s my first year in building construction,” he said. “So I’m learning a lot. It’s brand new to me. So basically I’m here being a sponge, soaking in all the information that I can so I can be successful in the field also.”
With Jordan’s help, the Yellow Jackets will start to see some success when they begin play at McCamish, his last year of college eligibility. It’s all part of his master plan.
“It’s a process. I take it a day at a time,” he said. “I’m just getting better and progressing and trying to make the team better.”