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St. Clair Shores
South Lake sophomore hoops standout carving a nice niche
April 1, 2013
ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake sophomore forward NaKyra Jordan has racked up a lot of accolades in just two years as a varsity basketball player.
She was named team MVP as a freshman after putting up 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, two assists and two steals per game in a season that saw the Cavaliers place second in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division.
Jordan upped her effort this past season, claiming MAC Silver MVP honors after averaging 13.6 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists per game.
“It makes me feel great (to win these awards),” Jordan said. “I’ve been working hard, and it feels good knowing that someone has noticed my hard work and decided to award me for it.”
Jordan understands she might not have had the success she’s had without a strong supporting cast.
She said her teammates getting her the ball in the right spot helps her do more on offense, adding that great passing from guards — such as seniors Taylor Pitts and Nyshah Brown — helps her make more aggressive moves toward the basket.
“When they get me the ball in the right spot, I feel unstoppable,” said Jordan, who was a part of a South Lake squad that went 13-1 in winning the MAC Silver. “I feel like (my teammates) trust me to take care of (the ball) and score, so it helps my confidence on the court, too.”
“(Jordan) plays with a lot of swagger. She’s a competitor who is learning what it takes to be a standout player and what kind of hard work she has to put in to continue to get better,” said Cavs coach Shay Lewis, who came into the program the same time as Jordan.
“By the second day of tryouts (during Jordan’s freshman year), her skills were starting to stand out.”
Jordan said Lewis has played a major role in her development as a player. The South Lake sophomore said Lewis constantly pushes her to work on her game.
“You can’t lead unless someone is willing to follow,” Lewis said. “(Jordan) listens to me and respects me, and I respect her back. … A coach’s job is always easier when they have good talent, but it’s still my job to help her develop into the best NaKyra she can be. That includes being a good teammate, staying humble and becoming a leader.”
Lewis said Jordan’s talents shone immediately, but the South Lake coach needed to see if she possessed a good attitude and work ethic.
And it didn’t take long for Lewis to notice those traits.
Jordan said she’s always ready and focused when she steps onto the court. She said she’s able to block everything else out of her mind when the ball is tipped so nothing else matters but the game.
“Fortunately, NaKyra does something that not a lot of girls who play basketball actually do — watch basketball,” Lewis said. “She loves to play and loves to watch the game, which helps her understand the game better.”
Jordan said she patterns her game after NBA star Kobe Bryant. Aside from his physical gifts, Jordan said, she pays attention to Bryant’s work ethic.
“His passion and love for the game inspires me to do my best and work harder,” Jordan said.
Even with all the accolades, Jordan knows her game can still evolve. She said she hopes to improve her ball handling, on top of other things. She said it’s important to always strive for more, if you want to achieve greatness.
“There’s no ceiling for NaKyra,” Lewis said. “She’s smart and talented with a good personality and a strong support system. That’s a pretty good combination.
“If NaKyra is passionate about something, works really hard and stays dedicated to it, she will be successful at it.”
Jordan still has two years left at South Lake, and she plans on leaving a strong legacy at the school.
“I want people to remember my passion and love for the game,” Jordan said. “I want people to remember my skills and how I dominated on the court, but I want them to remember my work ethic even more.
“I want people to still talk about what I did in games even after I graduate.”