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#STINGDAILY: Degrees Of Separation

April 29, 2013

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

It is too early to know what Pierre Jordan’s schedule will be like in the real world because he doesn’t yet have a job out there, but it’s a good bet that he’ll have more time than he did in his first year and a half at Georgia Tech.

When Jordan picks up his Master’s degree in Building Construction and Facilities Management on Friday, he’ll close a dear chapter for a second time. He’s graduated from college before, taking a bachelor’s degree in social science from Florida State before playing the last two seasons with the Yellow Jackets.

Both times, he loved it . . . mostly. The Atlanta-area native said he will miss certain aspects of the college life, especially those related to basketball.

The former point guard will never ache for the almost absurd schedule he kept for the bulk of his graduate studies. In Jordan’s story, one sees the respect student-athletes earn, especially at Tech.

“I definitely won’t miss school work because . . . it wasn’t easy,” he said. “It’s not easy in general, but accomplishing both [degrees] as a student-athlete . . . a lot of people don’t realize how much time you put in – waking up at 5 a.m. some days to work out. You might have an 8 o’clock class and a class after that.

“You have to squeeze your lunch schedule, and then have a full-blown practice. At Georgia Tech I had to leave practice early sometimes because in grad school most of my classes were at night. Some of those classes I’d get out at 9 or 10, get something to eat, and knock out homework and go to sleep at 4. You’d have to get a nap in somewhere.”

Jordan, who will turn 24 next week, chuckled just a bit in talking about this somewhat painful truth. There were others. He learned through modest playing time at FSU and Tech that his initial dream won’t come true. For some student-athletes, that’s a not-so-warm-and-fuzzy part of the college experience.

“If my first plan worked out the way I wanted when I first stepped into college, I wouldn’t even be getting Masters,” he said. “I’d be in the NBA.”

Don’t feel sorry for Jordan. He’s not feeling sorry for himself. His degrees put him way ahead of just about all curves, and one way or another he’ll soon embark upon a career either in coaching or facilities management.

After his last college work – he has a project due today [Tuesday] in his lone class this semester – he will resume conversation about professional opportunities.

“I kind of knocked down [almost] everything [academically] last year and the first semester this year,” he said. “It’s a independent study class, learning about technology applications and uses in residential property management.

“I’m working on [job possibilities] now . . . it could be college coaching, or facilities management.”

This much is certain, Jordan will miss playing basketball, and the work that went into it.

“The camaraderie,” he started. “In high school and AAU ball you spend a lot of time with teammates, but in college it’s another level. You spend time working out with the guys, preseason conditioning at 5 a.m., having classes with teammates your first couple years, working out living arrangements. You’re day in, day out with those guys.

“I’m in between. I’m both. I can’t wait for it to end, but then again I’m going to miss the college atmosphere of basketball. It’s kind of bittersweet.”

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