Nineteen months passed since Jordan’s hire, and the foundation is now in place, as is his system. That is how Jordan sees it. After a year of miscommunication, everyone is on the same page.
“We were just disjointed, only because we were new,” Jordan said. “And we don’t have that so much now. Even with the young guys, that’s what having a program, building a program means. The guys from last year help the new guys. That makes your development faster. Going into this year, I just feel good about where we are heading as a team.”
Having a system, and an assistant that knows it well in long-time Jordan partner Mike O’Koren, made a difference in preseason practices, the players said.
“The offensive flow, now it’s easier,” said senior wing Malick Kone. “We actually have an offense. Last year we struggled with it, and know we know the offense. As soon as you get the ball, you see the flow. You don’t have to wait and be told to do something. I feel like that’s going to help us a lot this year too.”
Rutgers averaged just 71.1 points per game last season.
“Yes, It will [improve] – definitely,” Kone said. “We’ve got the team chemistry. When you don’t understand the offense, it’s hard to build a chemistry. When everyone knows their role in the offense, the chemistry is going to be there. It’s like second nature now.”
Part of a successful system is getting new players to buy in. Jordan now has two years of his own recruits in the locker room, and they feel ready to follow.
Jordan’s NBA offenses became known for up-tempo transitions and free reign for guards to be playmakers – see Gilbert Arenas.
“One of the reasons I came here was to be coached under him, and let him help me develop my game,” said guard Bishop Daniels, who comes via ASA College and Miami. “Him being ‘Fast Eddie,’ it’s a great thing. You don’t get a lot of coaches that actually played the game and know what we’re going through.”
Daniels followed Rutgers closely while at nearby ASA, and visited as often as he could. The projected starting guard enrolled in the summer, and said he sees clear changes behind the scenes with Jordan’s system more solidly built.
“We’re more focused,” Daniels said. “There’s no more distractions. There’s nothing that has us blindfolded. We’ve got a good team. We have great seniors. Our freshmen that came in are ready to make an impact. We’re going to put in the work to do better and that is different.”