Friday, January 23, 2009

Jeff Jordan put on Scholarship by Illinois

Illinois coach Bruce Weber said Thursday that Jeff Jordan was on scholarship for the second semester. This is great news and a testament to the work Jordan has put in for the Illini.

I'm sure being the son of Michael Jordan isn't an easy task to begin with, and turning down scholarship offers from various mid-majors to walk on at Illinois to earn a scholarship there is remarkable.

Jeff said that he wasn't expecting the scholarship to come so soon, but he has been part of the Illini rotation playing about nine minutes per game as a sophomore. Weber said that the staff is getting more confidence in Jordan every day.

Aside from the story of "hey look what's happening with Michael's kid!" I think that earning a scholarship says a lot about Jeff and about the Illini this year. For Jordan, to turn down the mid-majors and prove himself at Illinois shows he didn't want anything handed to him for being Jordan's son. Not only that, it shows that he is a legit D-1 basketball player and found his role as a defensive stopper that can knock down a mid-range jumper.

In terms of the Illini, I think any time you honor a role player with a scholarship it's good for the team. Not that Pruitt and Randle were bad guys, but without the two "stars" from the past few years, the Illini have becomed more of a balanced, team oriented club and it has led to a lot of success.

Saturday, Illinois will put their 8-game home winning streak on the line against a Wisconsin team coming off an OT loss to Iowa. The Badgers have won five straight against the Illini, including knocking them out of the last two Big Ten Tournaments.

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