Jordan's Fall From Grace was Predictable and Tragic

by Josh Adams

On June 23rd, instead of sitting in the NBA draft green room at the Barclays Center waiting for Adam Silver to call his name, Rysheed Jordan will be sitting in a jail cell in a Philadelphia prison waiting for his trial for attempted murder to begin.

Where did it go wrong for Jordan? He was a top 30 high school recruit out of Philadelphia who looked so promising in his short career with St. John's and then even shorter time with the D-League Delaware 87ers. His game and speed had NBA written all-over it. What happened that cumulated with today's events was a series of bad decisions by him, the pull of his peers in Philadelphia and being singled-out by the teams he played for that lead to today's arrest.

Sticking together looked like Jordan's philosophy on social media. His tweets and instagrams showed a dedication to his friends and family in North Philly. His frequent instagram posts contained pictures of himself with his friends, the occasional plea to release someone from prison and pictures of him in a St. John's uniform with the hashtag #WHYNOT? or #Bloodline. He was close to living the dream, an NBA contract with tons of cash and the ability to lead a lifestyle that he desired so badly. Modest he was not but he also seemed real vulnerable. He would let loose an occasional cryptic tweet of loneliness You could tell he wanted to go back to St. John's. But it was too late, the wheels were already coming off.

This is it, right here. The apex of Rysheed Jordan's St. John's career. Playing on the 76ers home floor at the Wells Fargo Center, Jordan's dunk over Villanova was the stuff of Sportscenter legend. Jordan was coming into his own and was a borderline NBA prospect after his sophomore year. While playing for the Red Storm, Jordan was kept away from the media by then St. John's Coach Steve Lavin. It was odd for the star player to not address the media after the game, a regular thing in college basketball. It made Jordan mysterious, his teammates having to vouch for his character while answering questions about him to the media. There seemed to be a different set of rules in place for Jordan. He would tweet when Lavin imposed a twitter ban for his players. He would disappear from the bench either by being suspended or leave of absence to return to Philadelphia. The only time he ever addressed the media is when the NCAA rules demanded it after a tournament game.  He complied and answered the questions thoughtfully. On a team dominated by seniors, Jordan would be the star next year for the Johnnies if he chose to stay. Ultimately, he never played another game for St. John's after their first round tournament loss. Lavin was fired and the school brought in Chris Mullin to replace him. To say the new Mullin regime welcomed Jordan back would be a bit of a stretch. Eligibility issues were forefront on Jordan's return. His grades were not good. Faced with the prospect of being suspended and then playing for a new coach, Jordan elected to leave St. John's and make himself eligible for the NBA draft. He was essentially on his own in a pursuit of a career in pro basketball. A wheel comes off.

This point is where guidance fails Rysheed Jordan miserably. Someone should've stepped in and helped this young 19 year old get his feet underneath him. Instead, he went back to Philly, back to the neighborhood where he practiced, partied and anticipated a pro career that would let him take care of his family and friends. He did get drafted but it was possibly to worst place he could've ended up in. Home. The 76ers D-League team. Just close enough that he could get a taste of being a pro but playing in a low major gym in Newark, Delaware. His career in the D-League lasted all of 11 games. He was released without fanfare. Another wheel comes off.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report  82% of homicides in the city of Philadelphia were of African-American males. 50% of those homicides were of males 18-24 years old. Jordan's instagram page became full of tributes to dead friends, posting memorial pictures.

(SheedJordan IG)

With very few words, you could see Jordan's dream dissipating in front of his eyes . A player that from middle school  was told by everyone around him that he would make it in the NBA suddenly had no place to show his skills. He went from being on campus at St. John's to now watching his peers get murdered or sent away to prison. I think he felt responsible when bad things happened. That NBA check was going to free everybody from that lifestyle. No murder, no prison. But like a horror movie where the audience knows when someone is a goner, it was becoming clear on social media that Jordan was going nowhere.  In a big, big world he was stuck in North Philadelphia and made a very bad decision. Yesterday, he allegedly fired a gun during a robbery attempt and hit the victim in the arm with a bullet. The final wheel fell off. 

I don't condone Jordan's actions and if he is convicted of the crime, he should do some serious time for it. Someone could've been killed because of his negligence. According to the police report, when he was approached by the cops he ran, only to be captured quickly. I would hope that if he is found innocent or when he is released from prison, he runs again. Run out of North Philly Rysheed, don't look back, keep running until you're far away. Don't be a hashtag or a RIP message on Instagram. You owe no one. Your dream was yours and yours alone. It didn't work out as planned.  You can live with that and move on. Youth is fleeting, dreams have to be adjusted. 

This is Rysheed Jordan's last Instagram picture before he was arrested.  

No more hashtags Rysheed, act on those thoughts. 


2015-16 Epilogue: New Perspectives

The 2015-16 season -- for me, anyway -- ended at Furman's Timmons Arena.  (Brian Wilmer/CHD)
Brian Wilmer

98 miles.

That's the distance between the sites of the first game I covered this year (Winthrop Coliseum) and the last (Furman University's Timmons Arena).  It took just over four months -- and a ton of detours along the way -- to make that trek.  I saw a lot of the things I expected along the way, but I also saw a number of things I could never have anticipated.  


Arcidiacono and Wright onto the Sweet 16 as Villanova Tops Iowa

Ryan Arcidiacono Has Played the Most Games in Nova History/usatoday.com 
by Josh Adams

Jay Wright has 350 victories in his tenure as the Villanova WIldcats head coach. Today's victory over Iowa that sent his Wildcats to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009 might have been one of the sweetest. 

Coming off a mild upset loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Championship, Vilanova has laid waste to their first two NCAA Tournament opponents (UNC-Ashville and Iowa) by a combined score of 173-124. This may be Wright's most talented team he's ever had at Villanova and they succeeded today in getting the program back in upper echelon of college basketball. 

Watching the Wildcats this season was at their best, poetry in motion. There are no stars on this team and on any given game, 8 different players could lead the team in scoring. The straw that stirs the drink is senior point guard Ryan Arcidiacono. Arch has played in more games than any other player in Villanova history but before today's win his name would've had an asterik next to it. He would of been the Don Mattingly of the Wildcats, a great player in an era where a historically successful postseason team went through a dry spell. Throughout his career the trust between Wright and Arch never wavered.  

On his relationship with Coach Wright, Arch commented after the win, "It's a great relationship. Ever since day one, I think we've had trust in each other, and he trusted me as a freshman and throughout my years. But I think it's just, I try to think of myself as him on the floor because he tells me, if he was to play and when he played, that's how he wanted a player to play." That quote should be on the recruiting packet Villanova sends out for the next fifty years. 

While fans might look at the NCAA futility of Jay Wright in the past 7 years, so much of what makes or breaks a team's tournament chances are the matchups they get from the selection committee. While the Wildcats can beat anyone this year, they matched up well with Iowa and the Hawkeyes never had a prayer once the Villanova offense started humming.  They lead by as many as 30 points in the second half. 

What's great about covering college sports is from time to time you see the relationship that a player and a coach come full circle and today the praise was flowing from both ends of the Wright and Arch dynamic.   Wright answered what kind of player he has in Arch with, "We know exactly how we think. His parents grew up where my parents grew up in northeast Philly. It's just we're the same person. It has just been a thrill to have him. I really do want to cherish every second we have him."

Thanks to today, he'll have at least 2,400 more seconds to cherish as the Wildcats face Miami in the Sweet 16 in Louisville.