IT'S fair to say Cork man Jordan Blount’s basketball career in the States has been a mixed one with plenty of highs and lows.
His achievements thus far have been amazing when you consider he was plying his trade in the top league of collegiate basketball in the States, Division 1 where the majority of the NBA come through.
Very few Irish players make it that far.
However, he was dealt with a career-threatening injury last summer as he tore his cruciate ligament.
But Jordan, who has always faced adversity full-on, came back stronger and a better player from the injury, and has just signed for the Spanish-based sports agency Dynamics Global Management.
They will now look after his future on and off the court and wherever that may take him, probably Europe, as he is one of the brightest talents that ever left our shores, they will be looking after the business side of his basketball dealings and earnings.
Jordan came home recently, and he spoke to the Echo to tell his incredible story.
”College was some journey!
"There were a lot of ups and downs but overall it was the period of my life that shaped me as the person I am today," Blount said.
"I learned a lot from learning how to balance real work and sport at the same time, and just exactly what I needed to do to bring my game to the next level of being a professional.
"College gave me the opportunity of a lifetime by earning a degree also. I didn’t play my freshman year for a number of different reasons.
"This meant that I have one more year of college basketball eligibility should I choose to use it, but since I just finished at UIC I will probably go professional.
“Adjusting to life and College in the States was seamless for me.
"I have a huge personality so I fitted right into a city like Chicago! The school took me in with open arms and fully embraced me as I did them.
"Playing over there was also a good, smooth transition. I like to think that no matter where I am in the world (I have played all over) that no matter the level, I will always be the hardest working playing player on the court.
"That’s been my identity everywhere I have been. That’s the Irish in me.
“Unfortunately, I tore my ACL and both meniscus this summer just past. It was devastating as I always felt immune to those kinds of injuries.
"It was a very normal move, nothing untoward and it just went on me as I went to the basket. It felt like my knee was a slinky, being moved side to side.
“The recovery process was strenuous and extremely challenging but just like every challenge I faced in my life I tried to do so with as much optimism as possible.
"I tore in on June 9 and it was confirmed the next day. I met with our team doctor on the 12th and my first question was 'how long until I can play?'
"He told me that the minimum was six months, but they expected nine to 12 months due to the mental aspect of it and having some hiccups along the way.
"As soon as I was told six months until I could be physically ready there was nothing that was going to stop me from making that happen.
"I tore both meniscus so that meant I was non-weight bearing for six weeks which immediately meant that my six-month goal was unreachable to certain critics or doubters."
He was operated on June 25 which meant his full return, at best, was pencilled in for Christmas Day.
"I made my return on December 18. Less than six months and fully fit.
"I was just as shocked by many people who doubted me, but I had full faith in the college staff that did everything they could to help me achieve my goals and we did.
"On December 20, I made the TV Sports Center Top 10 Plays of the Day for a play I made and it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life to date.
"Coming off such an injury and only missing 10 of 34 games was huge for me. It was my senior year so I wanted to be a part of it with the guys I came in with and I did everything in my power to help my team.
“We had a very up and down season. I wasn’t the only one who suffered an injury.
"Two more of our seniors were injured with one missing the first nine games, myself the first 10 and our starting center missing the whole season.
"We reached the final of our conference tournament and ended up losing by nine points to a good side in Northern Kentucky (NKU).
"I averaged nine points per game and six rebounds in our conference play."
“My future plans are right now is to get my body the adequate amount of rest and recovery while still working out as much as I need to, to keep progressing and stay fit.
"I have many options in different European countries to play professionally.
"Some of these options are at some of the top levels and divisions in places like Spain, where I previously played two years in as a juvenile and as a result of that, I became fluent in the language.
"A lot of agents have been reaching out to me every day since I came home, but I chose Dynamics Global Management as I had a good relationship from my time in Spain."
Blount, no matter where he ends up playing still has a desire to wear the green jersey of Ireland.
“I would love to play for Irish teams in the future. I've had the distinct pleasure of representing Ireland at every level possible.
"I played at U16, U18, U20, 3x3 and the senior men's team.
“My plans for the foreseeable future is to set up as many workouts and training sessions as soon as it is possible.
"I cannot train with anybody else at the moment due to the recent changes to our whole world due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus.
"I want to keep myself fit and ready to begin playing as soon as we are allowed to play again."