Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Rysheed Jordan Scores Career-High 25 in St. John’s Victory, School Doesn’t Make Him Available to Media (Again)
NEW YORK — Rysheed Jordan went off for a career-high 25 points in St. John’s 84-66 blowout of Creighton on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, draining 6-of-8 from beyond the arc in a game the Johnnies simply had to win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
But once again, the school did not make the 6-foot-4 sophomore guard available to the media.
During his two-year tenure at the Queens school, Jordan has yet to address the media, as per school policy.
Again, Jordan is a sophomore considered a potential pro prospect and he has never spoken to the media.
“It’s less about his numbers,” St. John’s coach Steve Lavin said. “If he had a triple-double I wouldn’t be more inclined to make him available to the media. It’s more a judgment on my part that it’s important he focuses all of his energies on basketball and his academics.”
Asked if Jordan would ever address the media while at St. John’s, Lavin said, “Yeah, there may be a point but it would be too premature and I wouldn’t want to guarantee something, then if it doesn’t happen then I’m going back on my word. It’s conceivable at some point that he’s made available to the media.”
Fans and reporters can’t know how Jordan felt about his career-high performance or his mindset during a tough season in which his grandmother passed away. So others were left to speak for him.
“Rysheed Jordan was the best player on the court today without question,” said Creighton coach Greg McDermott. “We didn’t have an answer for him today.”
“He was on today and it’s hard to guard him when he’s hitting shots,” St. John’s senior guard D’Angelo Harrison said. “We fed off his energy.”
Harrison added 21 points, Phil Greene IV had 13 and Sir’Dominic Pointer 10. Junior big man Chris Obekpa, who was suspended from starting after committing a flagrant 2 foul last week at Butler, played just 6 seconds and sprained his right ankle. He’s listed as probable for Wednesday’s DePaul game.
“As of now for an indefinite period of time he won’t be starting for our team,” Lavin said of Obekpa.
St. John’s, which began the day among the “First Four Out,” according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, improved to 15-8 overall, 4-6 in the Big East. They likely need to go 5-3 or 6-2 the rest of the way to guarantee an at-large bid.
That, or they would have to win the Big East Tournament next month at the Garden for an automatic bid.
“With Greene, Harrison and Jordan you have three high-level guards,” McDermott said. “And you have two rim-protectors in Pointer and Obekpa. It’s an extremely talented team. I’m sure Coach Lavin is looking for consistency just like we are.
“Without a question, they’re a team that can get on a run and a team that nobody would want to see in the NCAA Tournament.”
As for Jordan, we don’t know if he would like to speak to the media because Lavin and the program continue to protect him. It’s possible he may never address the media during his time at St. John’s, which would be virtually unprecedented for a high-level college player considered a potential future pro.
Last week, Jordan stirred controversy by issuing a homophobic Tweet, which he later deleted and then apologized for in a written statement.
On the court, he has played well of late.
“Last year in late January and early February is when he went on his tear and our team went along with him,” Lavin said of Jordan. “We were 7-2 in the second half of the Big East last year and he won four out of five Big East rookie awards. He’s returning to the form of where he was last year but even better because he’s got more experience than he had a year ago.
“He’s navigating the emotional minefield as best he can with the challenges on the homefront that he’s faced. He’s not a finished product and has a long way to go in his growth and maturity as a young man.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.