2013 Jordan Swopshire Exploding On Scene

When talking about the University of Illinois 2013 recruiting class, the first names that jump to fans' minds are the phenoms from Chicago in the state's loaded class. The Illini coaching staff is looking out of state for talent as well. Among the prospects is St. Louis area swing man Jordan Swopshire.

Jordan Swopshire is the younger brother of current Louisville small forward Jared Swopshire, but he is putting quite a resume together in his own right. The small forward from Fort Zumwalt South High School is getting ready to begin his sophomore campaign and is garnering interest from high major teams including Illinois.

Swopshire says Illinois is right in the mix for his services.

"It feels like home kind of. You know, it's just three hours away. The fans are good. Coach (Jay) Price and Coach (Bruce) Weber treated me well when I was down there. I like their style of play."

Weber identified Swopshire's talent early, visiting a practice during his freshman year. Swopshire has shown a mutual interest in Illinois by recently visiting for the teams' Orange and Blue scrimmage. Fort Zumwalt South Head Coach Bill Friedel said his star sophomore was impressed.

"He really liked it. He said Coach Weber was a really cool guy. He liked the campus. It was all positive."

Swopshire says he went on the trip with his dad and had a good time.

"It went well. We were there about two hours prior to the game. You know, just looking at the campus. I liked the fans, they all came out. I liked the fast break style of play."

Assistant coach Price has maintained a presence with Illini targets in the St. Louis area over the years, and it seems that will continue with Swopshire according to Friedel.

"I've talked to Coach Price several times on the phone. He calls for updates on Jordan. Coach Price set up the visit for the Orange and Blue game."

Illinois has not offered a scholarship as of yet. Currently Swopshire has a lot of interest but does not hold any offers.

"There are a lot of rumors saying that I have some, but I don't have any offers yet."

Schools that have shown interest in Swopshire include Illinois, Marquette, Purdue, Missouri State, Arizona, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville. He has visited Marquette and Louisville as well as his recent trip to Illinois.

When it comes to what will be a major deciding factor in where he eventually chooses to attend college, Swopshire says the coach will play a major role.

"Seeing how he develops his players on and off the court."

The 6'-5" athlete says he does not have a specific timetable for when he would like to commit, but Coach Friedel did say that an early offer could be a key factor.

"If someone would offer early, I think they would have a chance at getting him as long as they were a major Division One school, which Illinois is."

Fort Zumwalt South will be returning four starters from their young team last season. Friedel is entering his 10th season as head coach of the program and looks forward to continuing the great success he has had at the school. His team retains three players who averaged in double figures in 2009-2010.

Friedel describes his starting small forward as a well-rounded player.

"Overall really good player. Very, very active on the boards. He can handle the ball well for a bigger guy. He drives well to the basket. Real good free throw shooter, about 75% as a freshman. So he kind of does everything well."

It is rare for a young player to play such a big role in their freshman season for Coach Friedel, but that speaks to what a special talent Swopshire is. He is the first freshman in Friedel's tenure at South to start every game as a 9th grader.

"He was our second leading rebounder last year as a freshman and our third leading scorer. Starting as a freshman in our program doesn't happen," Friedel said.

Swopshire competed in one of the most prestigious events in the nation for a player in his age group when he traveled to Colorado Springs to play in the USA Basketball Developmental Camp where he competed against fellow Illini prospects Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, and Larry Austin. His high school coach noticed when Jordan returned he had gained more confidence in his game.

"It gave him a lot of confidence. When you get down to the final 18 in the nation for your age group, it is a pretty impressive thing. He knows he's got the talent."

Swopshire plays for the prominent St. Louis Eagles AAU basketball program which has produced major prospects in Bradley Beal, Ben McLemore, Roosevelt Jones, and Shaquille Boga in the class of 2011 alone. He could be the next star for the Eagles and a high major recruit from the St. Louis area.

"He plans on playing Division One basketball. That is his goal, and I think he will," Friedel says.

With the bloodlines, talent, work ethic, quality coaching, and early high major interest it seems this is well within his reach.

Swopshire and his teammates will open their season with a game against rival Fort Zumwalt East on November23 at South High School.

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