First, there’s Staley. The three-time Olympic gold medalist’s on-court career was successful, highlighted by two USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year awards (in 1994 and 2004), three All-American honors at the University of Virginia and all-star-caliber stints in both the ABL and WNBA.
Before this season, there was no question who was going to man the point for the former players and current coaching staff roster.
But now the coaches acquired another former point guard: 2005 Temple graduate , a graduate assistant for the team, is back in school for a degree in sports administration and recreation.
“It’s not really that much different [being on the sideline than it was playing],” Jordan, who received Atlantic Ten Conference first-team honors as a senior, said on Selection Monday after the Owls received an at-large bid for this year’s NCAA Tournament.
“I think I play a big role in that I break down the films. I’m going to work all night tonight and get all the preparation work for the coaches [ready], and the materials that they need, so that they can put the players in the best situation to win.”
From the outside, it’s a completely different role then what the 5-foot-7 guard faced while playing on the team.
Jordan’s playing career didn’t extend as long as Staley’s, but she collected a few of her own awards, while leaving her name in Temple’s history books and memories in the minds of Temple fans.
In 106 games as an Owl, the Florida native knocked down 119 threes, the fifth most of any Temple player. She also finished her career in the top 10 in total assists, as well as assists per game, and as No. 19 on the all-time scoring list.
Jordan is also tied for the team record with Mimi Carroll for most free throws made in a single game after she converted 14 of 17 on December 13, 2004. The 17 attempts are second most behind Carroll’s 20 when she made those 14 in the 1985-1986 season.
When Jordan graduated, she held the record for most assists in a game for a Temple player at the Liacouras Center with nine, but the record was upped by senior Ashley Morris, who dished out 11 against Massachusetts on March 1.
Though she stood in the shadow of now-WNBA star Candice Dupree in her senior year, Jordan played an essential role in leading Temple to its first-ever Top 25 national ranking, ending the season ranked No. 16 in the country.
A highlight of the Owls’ 25-game winning streak came at the hands of Jordan while playing at Massachusetts’ Mullins Center. She nailed a step-back 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Owls their 20th victory in a row.
That year, after the Owls were defeated in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, it may have been the last time Jordan hung up her Temple uniform, but it was not the last time she’d be on the court.
Last year, she played in Switzerland.
“It was a pretty good experience. It gave me the opportunity to live out my dreams and see what it is to be a professional basketball player,” Jordan said. “I had a good time, [but now] I think I have another venture, and I think I’m probably about done playing.”
And that new venture has her back at Temple.
“Once you come into this program, you’re always going to feel a part of it,” Jordan said. “Alumni – we like to come back and help out the team anyway we can.”
Jordan mentioned how she’s felt more than a graduate assistant this year after former assistant Darius Taylor left Temple to work in the National Basketball Association’s Developmental League.
“We have a coaching position that’s vacant, so I picked up some extra roles and duties,” Jordan said before leaving for College Park, Md., where the team lost to No. 6 ASU on Sunday. “I do some on-the-court stuff.”
Whether the “on-the-court stuff” will ever equal she and Staley teaming up to challenge the players at any point is unknown, but Jordan could have found a long-term spot on the bench.
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at email@example.com.