HOOPS RECRUITING: Six Remain For Jordan

If there is one lesson that DeAndre Jordan has learned in this endless summer of AAU Tournaments and basketball camps, it is do your best to fill up the entire stat sheet and don't worry so much about how many points you score or how many rebounds you grab. He has discovered that a good all-around game is a far better indicator of progress than simply racking up a big scoring night.

(See DeAndre Jordan profile)

The NBA Players Association Development Camp in Richmond this past weekend was the perfect example of why it's important to focus in on the all-around game.

"Sometimes you just don't get the ball," said Jordan, who has grown to a legitimate 7-feet tall and now tops the scales somewhere in the 235-pound neighborhood. "This weekend I was there with a lot of guys who are trying to make a name for themselves so you don't always get a lot of touches. You can't be worrying that you're not getting the ball because you can always play defense and rebound. I just tried to make sure that I stayed focused, played hard and did my best. I had a couple of tip dunks, some alley oops, got some rebounds and some blocked shots. I thought I did pretty well."

On the AAU circuit this summer he's been a real dominator, making up perhaps for missing half the high school season. He fractured his foot in the preseason last fall but when he came back, he averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocked shots per game for Houston Episcopal. He's put up similar numbers on the AAU circuit where he plays for Houston Swoosh but again, numbers aren't what it's all about for him.

"You just have to let the game come to you," he said. "There might be a night that I have to score 50 for us to win but there might be a night when I just need to rebound and block shots. What's important is that you play hard all the time and you do what your team needs the most. If that's scoring, fine. If it's rebounding, fine. Just do your best."

It's that whatever's best for the team attitude that separates Jordan from most of the high school centers in the recruiting class of 2007. Rated five stars by Scout.com and the number 21 player overall, he has size, athleticism, good grades, a qualifying SAT score and a team-first attitude.

Name the school and they've written. Most have offered a scholarship, however, there are only six that have survived his latest cut: Texas A&M, Texas, Indiana, LSU, Florida and Florida State.

He spoke briefly about each of his six favorites:

TEXAS A&M: "I look at how far they've come since Coach (Billy Gillespie) has been there and how they've developed as players. They weren't very effective two years ago but this year they went to the NCAA and they won a game and came close to making the Sweet 16. Some of my former teammates go there and they tell me that they really like it."

TEXAS: "I really like Coach (Rick) Barnes and I like the way they developed Lamarcus Aldridge. You could tell he was really well coached. They are in a good situation now. They used to be a football school only but now basketball has become just about as important. I think Austin is a great place and it's just two hours from Houston."

INDIANA: "Coach (Kelvin) Sampson was recruiting me when he was at Oklahoma. He's a lot like my AAU coach. He's always on you about something and I like that. I like it when a coach wants you to strive for your best on every single play."

LSU: "I look at what they did with Tyrus Thomas (likely the number one draft pick in the NBA draft). He wasn't a very highly recruited guy so for him to be going where he's going means they did a very nice job of developing him. I like the way the coaches get along with their players there. Coach (John) Brady is a coach you can talk to and get along with. They have a very close team, too, and I like that."

FLORIDA: "Look at Joakim Noah. He averaged something like three points a game and he only played five minutes a game two years ago and now he could have gone lottery this year. That means he's getting good coaching. I like the way their team plays together. They're very unselfish. I like Coach (Billy) Donovan and the way he coaches and relates to players. Gainesville is far away from home but that won't matter. If it's the right place, I'll go there."

FLORIDA STATE: "Coach (Leonard) Hamilton coached in the NBA so he knows what it takes to develop players and bring out the best in their game. He's easy to talk to and that's a plus. They've got a really good style of play and they are in a tough conference so you get a lot of competition."

He's nowhere near ready to make a commitment and says that nothing is going to happen this summer.

"Once school starts, I'll plan to take my five visits and then I'll decide," he said. "I'm going to sign early but I'm not going to think about a commitment until I've been on the campuses and have a better feel for everything. This is the most important decision of my life. I want to be sure I make the right decision."

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