STARTING for Division 1 college basketball side UIC.
Eleven wins on the spin. Averaging 10 points and nine rebounds per game.
It’s safe to say Jordan Blount is settling in to life at the University of Illinois-Chicago pretty well.
But this should come as no surprise to anyone; he’s been adapting to unfamiliar surroundings since he was 15-years-old.
The northside native has long been proclaimed one of the most promising basketball players the country has produced in the last number of years, if not of all time.
Now standing at 6 foot 9 and weighing in at a lean 220lbs, it was a regular occurrence to see Blount dropping in excess of 40 points for Neptune and Glanmire, his two boyhood clubs.
Fresh off his final U15 John Coughlan tournament, Jordan jetted off to join Plymouth Raiders where he got his first exposure to professional basketball.
His drive and passion for the game, coupled with some stellar performances in the south of England garnered attention for the lanky player, and at sixteen he was on the move yet again to sign with CBA, Canarias Basketball Academy, an institute based in Las Palmas.
An intensive combination of two-a-day training sessions and weight training resulted in what people expected to happen from an early age: the development of a superstar.
Two years of successful basketball later, Cleveland, Ohio was calling. SPIRE Institute, just a few miles outside the home basketball’s self-proclaimed king, LeBron James, saw a now physically developed Blount spend a year becoming accustomed to the American game before receiving a number of offers from top universities.
Following an eligibility issue which sidelined the forward last season, this year has seen the number 13 become a regular feature in the UIC Flames starting line-up.
It hasn’t been a conventional, nor easy route, but Jordan has taken every challenge along the way in his stride. When asked what it was like to move away from home in his third year of secondary school, he gave me an interesting answer.
“Because I was so young when I moved, I didn’t even realise what a big deal it was,” he explains. “I love to play basketball, so the emotion of leaving didn’t even occur to me because I was chasing what I love. It’s only looking back now I realise what a big deal it was to leave everything behind like I did.”
It was a risk that certainly paid off for the young star. However, things have been different since his most recent move to Chicago.
Anyone who has seen Jordan play knows he is capable of scoring in bunches, a trend that continued throughout his global travels. From England to Ohio, twenty-something a night for number thirteen was a regular occurrence.
Demands in UIC however require him to play a different role for his side, a role he relishes to the full.
“I do what I have to do over here to help the team win,” Blount continues. “I mightn’t score a whole lot, but the team needs me to get rebounds, dive on the floor, just bring energy to the court, and I’m more than happy to do that.”
It certainly speaks to the maturity of a player to not only adapt but to thrive in this environment, whereby a trait for which he is predominantly known, scoring the basketball, is now somewhat of an afterthought.
Irish basketball fans were filled with pride when this hustling, relentless play was broadcasted for all to see when UIC defeated fierce rivals Oakland live on ESPN last Saturday.
On the back of that contest, the former Neptune star says the support he received from home is unfathomable.
“People have been so supportive on social media,” a proud Blount says. “It means a lot to know people are following what I’m doing, and it really is a privilege to be in the position I’m in right now.”
From Cork City to the Windy City, it’s clear the Blount name is only going to gain more attention in the world of basketball.