Unique recruiting journey for Bachynski

Many basketball recruiting stories have their extraordinary twists and turns, but few can rival that of 7-2 245 Canadian center Jordan Bachynski. The Alberta native stated at age 12 that he wanted to play at Arizona State and sure enough, while on his LDS mission, he pledged to the Sun Devils becoming the latest member of their 2010 class. We talked to Yolanda Bachynski about her son's decision.

Jordan Bachynski, who attended high school in Calgary, is now serving on his mission in Miami, Fla. He entertained Connecticut, Oregon State, BYU and San Diego along with Arizona State last Wednesday, and after that meeting he had a good idea where he was likely to play college basketball.

"When we talked to Jordan last Wednesday night, he said that he was going to take the weekend to think about everything," Yolanda Bachynski said. "He told us he's leaning towards Arizona State, but he said he would tell us for sure when he talks to us today (Tuesday).

"He verbally committed to Coach Sendek via email this morning."

California and UNLV also showed interest, but ultimately were not on the center's short list of favorites.

Bachynski was set to play his junior season at the one of the most prestigious high schools in the nation, Findlay Prep in Las Vegas, before being sidelined by an ankle injury. "He tore his ligaments all around his ankle," Bachynski recalled, "and still tried to play on that ankle. That summer he played for Nike Canada in the Nike World Games in Oregon, and wasn't able to play in all the games. He had a fracture and he had to have surgery.

"The surgery repaired his ankle and five months later he was able to play in our Canada Classic, which is equal to the McDonald's All-Star game and that when he started catching everyone's eye."

UNLV, Utah, Utah State were some of the schools pursuing the center at the time, who finished up his high school studies back in Calgary.

True to his personal conviction, and despite the heavy recruiting interest he was getting, Bachynski decided to go ahead with his plans to serve on an LDS mission. "It was interesting," Bachynski noted, "because some of those teams told him that if he goes on his mission his basketball career is done. But he said that he needed this time because he always wanted to go on a mission.

"He said that if he still is supposed to play basketball, he will have that desire when he is done (with his mission). He said it won't hurt to be a 20-year old freshman."

While on his mission, Bachynski told his mother that he would wake up at 3 am thinking about basketball. "Sometimes kids go on a mission and their sport doesn't become important," Bachynski remarked. "We were worried that would happen with Jordan, but it never did. He can hardly wait to play again."

The center does come from an athletic background. His father Jonathan stands 6-5 and received football scholarship offers before going on his own mission. Yolanda stands 6-2 and had basketball scholarship offers from American universities. Jordan's little brother Dallin is 6-11 and will start his freshman year playing at Southern Utah.

When schools starting recruiting Jordan Bachynski, the Sun Devil commit asked his parents to see if ASU would be interested in pursuing him. A family friend helped make contact with the Bachynskis and ASU. Naturally, his parents were Jordan's ‘eyes and ears' so to speak during the recruiting process with the maroon and gold, as well as with other schools.

The impression left on Jordan's parents following their visit to Tempe was a profound one.

"Before his mission, Jordan and I went on some unofficials," Bachynski stated. "It was all the same. You go there for three hours, you see the facilities, you meet the head coach and he tells you what kind of vision they have for your son and their program.

"But I'll tell you, we went to Arizona State and it was unlike anything that we have seen before. I have never met anyone more prepared than Coach Sendek. We knew that we were going to be in Tempe for the day, and we were scheduled to be at Arizona State from 8:30 till Noon. "After we were done he asked if we had more time to visit, and since we were there for the day we said that we would be there as long as they wanted us. We were concerned that Jordan wouldn't have time to get back in shape after his mission and before the season started. Coach Sendek showed us the plan to get him in shape. He showed us the nutrition plan, the conditioning. He was just the most prepared showing us how he will get Jordan to play again."

Bachynski added that Sendek showed him and her husband a highlight DVD of how her son would fit in the offense, and overall he was much more involved in the process compared to other head basketball coaches that were recruiting the center.

The Bachynskis were also impressed following their meeting with Arizona State's Vice President of Athletics Lisa Love.

"She shared with us that she wanted the basketball players coming to ASU to be men of character and men who wanted to win. Talking to her made us even more comfortable with the school."

The University of San Diego was the only other school the Bachynskis visited without Jordan. Prior to his mission Jordan and his parents visited BYU and UNLV.

Arizona State was given two hours when they visited the center last week, compared to the hour and fifteen minutes the other schools were allotted. "When Coach Sendek visited Jordan," Bachynski said, "He came there with his laptop and showed Jordan the campus, the facilities, everything. And with their new facility (Weatherup Center) how can you not go there? It's unreal.

"We believe that Arizona State has the tools necessary to get Jordan where he wants to go. His dream is to go to the NBA. Coach Sendek can help him get there. Look what happened this year with two of his players (James Harden and Jeff Pendergraph)."

When Bachynski arrives in Tempe in May of 2010, it will be the first time he would have set foot on ASU's campus or the Phoenix Metropolitan for that matter. That in itself is just another unique anecdote of his improbable recruiting journey. Yet, all the details of this story probably pale in comparison to the fact that while on a mission the center was allowed to be recruited as much as possible without leaving the confines of his church.

"I've never heard of this before," Bachynski said. "I've never heard of a Mission President who has allowed someone like Jordan to get recruited. Because of Jordan's injury, he didn't want to sign with someone out of high school. He knew he could play better than that. He purposely waited.

"He thought he would have to wait until after his mission (to get recruited). He talked to his Mission President who was willing to give him one day for schools to visit. So he asked us to coordinate which schools would go up there to visit him and the Mission President would sit there beside him and help him out throughout the day.

"This is a very unique situation and we will always count Jordan's Mission President as one of our closest friends because he has a vision for Jordan. Maybe now Jordan can focus on his mission more than where he is going to play ball next year."

Tonight, Jordan Bachynski may still lay awake thinking of basketball, but to his relief and to the delight of the Sun Devil nation, he will now be able to picture himself in an Arizona State jersey.


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