Marcus Jordan is entering the 2011-12 campaign with a sense of comfort and ease that has been missing in each his previous two preseasons at UCF. As a result, the junior guard can hardly wait for the campaign to begin.
Jordan is experiencing a stress-free preseason for the first time. As a freshman, he battled an injury that kept him out of preseason conditioning and set him well behind on his effort to transition from high school to the college game. At this time year ago, Jordan and the rest of his teammates struggled to get accustomed to playing in new head coach Donnie Jones’ up-tempo system.
Jordan eventually learned the new style of play, and shined as a sophomore. He was a big reason that the Knights started the campaign with 14-straight wins. An All-Conference USA Second Team selection, the Chicago native averaged a team-high 15.2 points per game, good for ninth in the league. Jordan also led the Knights in assists (3.3) and minutes (31.5) per game. He spent time at both point and shooting guard and excelled at getting to the basket as he connected on a school single-season record 165 free throws.
Now Jordan enters this season healthy, and like the rest of his returning teammates, aware of what is expected from the coaching staff. And as an upperclassmen, Jordan knows that leadership is a role that he must take on along with other veterans like A.J. Rompza, Dwight McCombs and Keith Clanton.
“Everybody is really comfortable with the system that coach Jones has in place,” Jordan said. “A lot of the incoming freshmen are looking to find out how to do things right. Keith, myself and A.J. are trying to be a lot more vocal, and also lead by example.”
Jordan had a chance to display some leadership in August when the Knights traveled to Canada for three exhibition games. He averaged 13.0 points in Canada and proved that even when he is not putting the ball in the basket, he can still contribute to his team’s success.
In UCF’s tour-opening win over a team of professionals outside of Montreal, Jordan shot 9-of-13 overall and 5-of-8 from deep as he poured in 24 points. The following day against Carleton, Canada’s top collegiate program, in Ottawa, he shot just 2-of-7 from the floor, but did not force things offensively and helped others get involved. The Knights won all three of their games during the trip.
Now Jordan and the rest of the Knights must be patient as they continue to prepare for the season, which will start on Nov. 12.
“Waiting is real tough,” he said. “The summer was a bit of a tease being able to play those three games. Now we have to wait so long to play another. I think that everybody is taking it one day at a time. We are just trying to get better and come into the start of the season ready to go.”