May 9, 2017
By Jon Cooper | The Good Word
– There’s no place like the big city for people that dream big.
Jodan Price is one of those people. It’s part of what made Atlanta and Georgia Tech just the place for him as he sought to pursue his Master’s degree and play his one final season of basketball eligibility.
“I have a lot of goals,” said the 6-6, 182-pound Indianapolis, Ind., native, who is pursuing his Master’s in building construction and facility management (he has two summer classes and two fall classes remaining). “I’ve been into technology a lot, and I’ve learned a lot with that, because I was trying to start a start-up my freshman year of college.
“I’m working on getting my real estate license right now, and I want to eventually build a big team with that then go from there,” he continued. “Eventually, I want to get back into technology as well with the real estate. If that goes well, I can get into investing and technology, because I love technology. I love being around that, and I love media, graphic design, and video design. It’s going to be a journey. I’m excited about the future.”
Considering how 2016-17 went, who can blame him for being excited about diving headlong in to the unknown?
After two years at Eastern Michigan, where he earned his degree in computer information systems, Price came to Atlanta, where, seemingly, he found one amazing surprise after another.
“You just never know,” he said, with a laugh. “I have some cousins from Indiana here, cousins on my mom’s side, cousins on my dad’s side. I hadn’t really been able to meet these cousins because I’ve been traveling so long for basketball. The last time I had been in Atlanta was probably when I was like five or six for a family reunion. The only thing I remembered about Atlanta was the Tech Tower that lights up.
“I love meeting new people, great networking, many opportunities,” he added. “So that’s why I felt like Atlanta would be a good fit.”
Among the new people he’d meet was actually an old acquaintance, longtime rival and fellow grad. student Kellen McCormick.
“We had been playing each other since high school,” Price recalled. “We played each other in high school (Price at Detroit Country Day, McCormick at Notre Dame Prep), we always had to play each other to get to the state championship. Then in college our teams always split (Eastern and Western Michigan split the six meetings between 2013-16, when they sat on opposite benches, with each holding serve on its home court). So we had been playing each other for like the last five years. It’s not like we didn’t know each other. We knew of each other, but I never really met him until he came to Atlanta. It was just so random that we ended up at the same school.”
At Georgia Tech this past season, Price came off the bench, playing in 15 games and setting season-highs with 12 minutes and five points in the 96-58 win over Tusculum on Feb. 7 at McCamish Pavilion. More important, he was part of the experienced group of upperclassmen that led by example and helped create a winning culture in the first year of the Josh Pastner Era.
“It was quite a ride,” he said. “We came from a team that was really inexperienced, and we came together. Our team grew a lot throughout the season. It was a good experience, because when we started the season, we barely had any fans and then at the end of the season, ‘Thriller Dome’ was back. So it was amazing to see that and how loud that crowd could get. We have amazing fans. I had a blast.”
Price had seen seasons like the Yellow Jackets had in 2016-17 — he was part of a pair of EMU teams that won more than 20 games — and seasons like they were predicted to have — as a freshman in 2012-13 at DePaul, the Blue Demons won only two Big East games, two more than some predicted Tech would win in ACC play. Having that range of perspective allowed him to help the young Jackets laugh off the preseason prognosticators.
“I never put it in my mind that we would lose that many games,” he said. “When we beat North Carolina, that was the turning point in our season. From there we built a lot of confidence, and that’s what helped us be the team we were. We had a lot of games, like the VCU game was big for us. Then we just carried that momentum and tried to continue to get better.
“We won 21 games. In college basketball, you win 20 games, that really says something,” he added. “I’ve been a part of that before, but coming to a team that had no expectations, you don’t really know what to expect at first. I’m just glad we overcame that and we won. Doing it at the ACC level is way sweeter. It was big time.”
Coincidentally, Price’s final collegiate season ended exactly where his freshman season did, on the floor of Madison Square Garden. While falling in the NIT Championship Game was not how he wanted to go out, it made for a much better ending than falling in the first round of the Big East Tournament as the 2012-13 Blue Demons did.
“It was nice to finish my senior season at The Garden,” he said. “(My career) came full-circle, so it was a cool experience.”
“A cool experience” perfectly describes his entire year in Atlanta — in the classroom and away from it.
“Academics was a big part. I wanted to go to a big-time academic school when I graduated from Eastern Michigan, and Georgia Tech’s a good school,” he said.
“I never really was at a good football school that had a crowd like they did, so I went to the football games and experienced that,” he added. “I got to experience the college life a little bit more. DePaul’s in the city, so you’ll never have a football team to really watch. I got to see the Miami-Notre Dame game when they played, but that’s about it.”
It all seems to add up to Atlanta being a place where Jodan will take root after he finishes academically.
“I think I’ll stay here for a while,” he said. “There are other places I’m thinking about going, like Miami, New York. I also love Chicago. But right now Atlanta seems like the place to be.”