Healthy, playful Coleman returns to VU action

Seven games into the 2009 season, starting forward Jordan Coleman shot 51.5% from the field and averaged nearly 7 rebounds a game. The sophomore from Orlando, Fla., was a driving force in the lane, pushing the ball with energy and parting defenders at will. On December 3, a familiar foe in the game put the brakes on, and Jordan's season came to an untimely end.

In Fairborn, Ohio, the 16th-ranked Commodores were well on their way to their seventh win of the season with no losses against Wright State. Jordan was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field and had pulled down 7 rebounds. Two minutes from the final buzzer, Jordan sprinted for the basket and changed directions. Her left leg hyper-extended, and the ligament tear stopped momentum in her tracks.

It wasn't until an 84-47 trouncing of Tennessee State and near miss at No. 3 Notre Dame (69-74) three weeks later that the Commodores seemed back in stride. A trio of close games immediately following the injury spoke of the team's uneasy adjustment: a 66-60 home loss to Bowling Green, a 79-73 overtime win with Western Kentucky, and a stunning 75-74 escape from unheralded Quinnipiac.

Jordan said she felt bad her teammates were stressed. At the same time she was struggling with the physical and mental aspects of the injury, but tried not to show it.

"I tried to make it a positive experience as much as I could. I didn't want my teammates to see I was struggling," she admitted. "I wanted them to know I was there for them. I didn't want them to dwell on me not playing or other injuries. I wanted them to focus on the game and us being successful and doing what we needed to do."

For the seven games Jordan played in the fall of 2009, she did all she needed to do. Against Austin Peay in particular, the sophomore hit a career high 17 points and was a perfect 7 of 7 from the charity stripe.

After months of spinning on an exercise bike and enduring intense therapeutic exercises, Jordan has been cleared to play. Early in the season the 'Dores take on Florida State, a school that heavily recruited Jordan. Last season, the Seminoles advanced to the Sweet Sixteen, knocking of a talented Mississippi State squad before losing to national champion UConn 90-50 in the Final Eight.

Jordan still has an AAU pal on the team. Guard Alexia Delucio is a good friend, and Jordan expects "a ton" of people from her high school that attend FSU to support her. "They have a great coaching staff, and they joke a lot. They're just as fun as our staff."

Humor is essential to Jordan, and helped the prankster remain on solid emotional footing. "I try to laugh off a lot even when I don't feel great. I try to make other people happy. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable," she says, adding she's been told her emotions affect other people because they're used to her being cheerful.

"I try not to impose my bad vibes, so that's why I try to stay positive and joking and being a lively person on the team."

One example of her tendency to ham it up was a locker room interview during the 2010 SEC Tournament. ESPN's Carolyn Peck handed over the mic, and away Jordan went, getting teammates' reactions to her comments. The communications major hopes to use a mic for real as a sports broadcaster.

"I want to be that outspoken voice that asks the politically incorrect questions. Maybe people wouldn't enjoy the questions, but I want to be that person asking them."

The 5-11 junior is setting her eyes on what's ahead, and not behind. Asked about the taller presence Vandy will bring, she speaks of the team in a way that mirrors her own game.

"We work hard but we're going to muscle our way in and compete. We're a mentally tough team. If we can get the height on our team on the same bus, I think it will help us."



Jordan Coleman enjoys a humorous moment.



Jordan lays in two against Austin Peay during the 2009 Thanksgiving Tournament.

VandyMania.com Top Stories