Sept. 26, 2011
By Matt Winkeljohn
There may be no data on the topic, but it probably cannot often be said that a young man goes away to college and graduates early only to decide that his plan went awry. Actually, awry is probably not the right word.
Pierre Jordan’s not into parsing words, though. He’s into basketball, and seeking a second degree – this time near home, and at Georgia Tech – to keep two dreams alive. New men’s coach Brian Gregory’s roster is short on bodies. Jordan arrived soon after he graduated from Florida State in early August to make it less so.
While growing up in DeKalb County, playing for the nationally-regarded Atlanta Celtics AAU program and then Dunwoody High, Jordan always envisioned basketball in his future: He’d play in college, perhaps professionally, and then coach. The map was always right there, in his head. The thing got crumpled in Tallahassee, where his freshman season was scuttled by a knee injury that ended in a medical redshirt, and he played sparingly in 2009-’10 and less last season.
Still, Jordan’s not interested in a new plan.
“Basically . . . not playing as much at Florida State, I haven’t reached my goals,” said the 6-footer. “This is a second chance. Every basketball player dreams of playing at the next level, in the NBA or overseas. My backup plan is becoming a college coach or a professional coach, and I have to have a master’s degree.” The backup backup plan would be to use the Building Construction and Facility Management degree he is studying for at Tech.
Mom always liked to point out how adept her younger son was at making things. He was good, too, at taking things apart and putting them back together again. That’s sort of what Jordan is doing now.
First, though, he had to facilitate the process of moving on from FSU, a potentially touchy deal.
“I talked to coach [Leonard] Hamilton about it, and . . . I was interested in moving on,” the two-time Georgia state champion explained. “He said he’d make a few calls, get word out. It took word of mouth.”
Asked what getting the word out entails, Jordan explained that coaches start talking to each other.
One of the coaches on the receiving end of the word once it was out was new Tech assistant Chad Dollar, an Atlanta native whose knowledge of the Celtics program is vast.
“Chad Dollar recruited me back when he was at LSU,” Jordan said. “After he heard that I was transferring, he got right back on recruiting me again.” Dollar had recruited Jordan for years, knowing him from summer ball, and as a member of state championship teams in his freshman and sophomore seasons at Dunwoody. The Wildcats went to the state quarterfinals when Jordan was a junior, and back to the Final Four when he was a senior.
Jordan was quite a scorer, a lean, quick perimeter player with excellent court sense and a habit for being in the middle of the action.
He committed originally to play at Clemson, but that didn’t hold up. A very talented player named Chris Singleton transferred to Dunwoody for his senior year, and he committed to Florida State. Jordan did, too. Singleton has moved onto the NBA, a first-round draft choice of the Washington Wizards in June.
It will be easier for Jordan’s family to see him play live, and he’s pleased by that. He’s happier that he’s on track to continue pursuing his plans of playing basketball as long as possible, and, whenever that ends, coaching the game the game that he has loved for as long as he can remember. Jordan has two years of eligibility to play for the Yellow Jackets.
“I want to stay around basketball as long as I can,” he said. “My basketball IQ is, I believe, above average. I always want to be a part of basketball in some way.”
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