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Smooth-shooting British forward Louie Jordan commits to Weber State men’s basketball

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | May 4, 2022
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In this undated photo, Louie Jordan, right, fires a 3-pointer in a British NBL game for Charnwood College in Leicester, England.
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In this undated photo, Louie Jordan shoots in a British BBL professional game for the Leiceister Riders in Leicester, England.
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In this undated photo, Louie Jordan, right, dribbles in the paint during a British NBL game for Charnwood College in Leicester, England.

Between his style of play and his vociferous father, now-Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball was somewhat of a polarizing basketball player when he was a teenager.

But highlights of Ball’s controversial 92-point game did at least one thing: inspire a soccer-playing teenager 5,000 miles away to pick up a basketball.

Five years later, that teenager is headed to the United States to play college hoops.

Louie Jordan, a 6-foot-9 wing/forward from Worthington, England, committed to Weber State men’s basketball on Wednesday morning over offers from Robert Morris, Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Stonehill College.

Jordan’s highlights — a quick, pure release from 3, an ability to handle the ball and enough bounce to throw it down in traffic — belie his youth in the game of basketball. But that wasn’t a predetermined outcome.

“I really put the work and the reps in, and it shows 100%,” Jordan told the Standard-Examiner.

Ball’s outburst, and the veritable track meet of that game, drew criticism on this side of the ocean but made basketball look incredibly fun to the 14-year-old Jordan. Soccer and cricket dominate in England, so he and a friend would play on an undersized basketball hoop, about 8 1/2- to 9-feet tall, learning how to shoot and hammering home some dunks.

“I just found such enjoyment from that,” he said.

That pure shooting stroke? Jordan laughs when he recounts how his shot started with the basketball and both hands behind his head. Lonzo Ball — Lamelo’s older brother and the Chicago Bulls player with a famously broken shooting form that he’s since corrected — had highlights Jordan liked to watch as well. So he tried to shoot like that from the side.

“But that was like rubbish, I was like ‘what am I doing?’ My coach was like ‘no,'” Jordan said.

He moved his shot to the front of his chest before latching on to Boston Celtics All-Star player Jayson Tatum as his muse. He raised his shot origin, moved in his elbow after a small tip from a coach, and that was that. Jordan became someone well-regarded as one of the best shooters in the country.

For three seasons, Jordan played at Charnwood College in Leicester, which competes in the Elite Academy Basketball League. That’s a 16-team league for high schoolers who are serious about basketball. That team is sponsored by the Leicester Riders, a professional team in the British Basketball League, the top division in the country.

Charnwood won the EABL championship behind Jordan and North Dakota commit Victor Ndoukou. Jordan averaged 19 points per game and was named to first-team honors.

The same Charnwood team also competed in NBL 2, the third division of pro basketball and equivalent to a semi-pro league, which saw a boost in talent when a few handfuls of pro-type players returned to the country because of COVID-19. There, Jordan averaged 19.7 points per game and was often the focal point of opposing defenses. The team finished in fifth place.

“I got double-teamed a lot or had their best defender on me, usually. They tried to shut me down, so that really helped me progress and be a leader on the team,” he said.

Jordan has also spent time with the top-division Riders as, he thinks, the youngest player in the BBL. Most of the top-level pros are between 21 and 30 years old. (Leicester’s MVP for the BBL Cup title was Geno Crandall, the former North Dakota and Gonzaga guard who finished his college career in 2019).

Jordan has played 36 minutes over 13 games of the BBL Championship portion of the season.

“I’d get on the floor when I could, and I feel like that gave me a good platform as well to get myself out there,” Jordan said.

That exposure led a few Division II colleges to contact Jordan.

“I was set on staying in this country and trying to progress because I didn’t think I was good enough at the start of this (school) year,” Jordan said. “The States became an ideal thing for me around Christmastime, I started getting more exposure. I was getting a few minutes in the pro games, started to play well and show I was worthy of playing at that level.”

Discussions with Robert Morris and UAPB were intriguing and he didn’t dislike either, but, knowing about Damian Lillard made it exciting when Weber State first messaged him. Jordan liked how all of WSU’s coaching staff was involved in his recruitment and felt the program’s commitment to individual development was what he needed the most.

“From the first talk with Randy (Rahe), I knew he was serious about what to do and had a good vision for me in the program and for my future,” Jordan said. “I know I’m a very coachable player so I feel like if I’m coached well, I’m going to reap the benefits of that massively.”

While the Leicester Riders won the BBL Cup — the British Basketball League’s in-season tournament portion of the season — Jordan’s squad is still playing the Championship season playoffs, with a semifinal series against the Glasgow Rocks beginning May 7. So possibly until May 15, Jordan will be with the pro team. After that, he’ll head to Utah.

Jordan’s commitment is the team’s second recent pledge, as WSU also added 6-foot-5 point guard JJ Louden to the class earlier this week. Those two, and 6-foot-6 freshman wing Chris Dockery, comprise Weber State’s current commitments ahead of the 2022-23 season. Weber State officially announced Louden and Jordan as having signed their letters of intent Wednesday night, and Dockery signed in the early period last November.

Double-double machine and sophomore forward Dillon Jones leads WSU’s returners and, with the news of Seikou Sisoho Jawara’s departure Wednesday, the Wildcats still have five scholarships remaining. WSU is likely to continue its pursuit of several Division I transfer guards.

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