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October 11, 2006

Jordan improved greatly over summer

7-0, 240, Houston Christian Life Center

Rivals.com Rankings
Rivals150 for 2007: No. 8 overall
2007 centers: No. 2

Career Stats
2005-06 (Jr.) 16.5 14.0 7.0
2004-05 (Soph.) 15.0 12.0 4.0

Watch the latest highlights of DeAndre Jordan in action
1. What NBA player do you pattern your game after?
I try and model my game after a couple of players in the NBA - Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudemire. Just taking different things from their games and adding it to mine.

2. What's the best part of your game?
Just the advantage I can have when I run the floor. I'm real athletic for a big man. I can be flexible, long and quick.

3. What do you still need to work on?
I feel I still need to work on my perimeter defense. If the opposing team is full of guards, then I have to defend one of them.

4. Who is the best player you have ever played against?
Kevin Love

5. What is your greatest sports moment?
Games when I play hard and just dominate all competition.

6. What is your favorite way to get ready for a game?
Get focused so I know what I am out there to do. I try to strategize for each opponent.

7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My goal in 10 years is to be an NBA All-Star, headed to go down as one of the best big men.

Growth is the word for DeAndre Jordan. As a 6-foot-9 sophomore, Jordan broke onto the national scene with a nasty spin move and thunderous dunk in front of a gym full of coaches and scouts at the 2005 Kingwood Classic.

Later that summer, he played in the prestigious Nike Hoop Jamboree a showcase for the top underclassmen in the country. Again, it was evident that the rangy lefty had the potential to be a dominant player, but the results were not there. Jordan struggled with his confidence and struggled to give a consistent effort.

Prior to the 2006 Kingwood Classic, coaches and scouts were wondering out loud whether Jordan would make the transition from a talented but immature project to a talented and mature prospect. During the event something clicked inside Jordan, and he took off as a legitimate elite prospect during the 2006 summer travel circuit.

"Last year I struggled mentally on the court and with my maturity," said Jordan. "I would get frustrated. Even though I knew I needed to play hard and have fun, it was difficult.

"Then at the Kingwood Classic this spring we had a lot of injuries. The team was getting frustrated. The guards were struggling getting the ball inside, and I realized that I had to be bigger than the situation. Something clicked, and I knew I couldn't get frustrated."

In June at the NBA Players Camp, it was clear that Jordan had indeed turned the corner and was transforming as a player. His body language was better. He was consistently running the court and keeping up with the play. He was playing through mistakes. And he was attacking the basket with passion.

Then at the prestigious Reebok ABCD Camp in July, Jordan squared off against Kevin Love - the best center in the country. As expected, Love outplayed Jordan - but not by much. Love went for 25 points while Jordan hit for 18. More importantly for Jordan, he never backed down against the physically intimidating Love, and Jordan intensely competed for the duration of the game.

"I played well against Kevin because I had the right mind-set," Jordan commented. "I showed I can play hard and make my team better and that I can go at anybody. I knew it would be tough going against Kevin, but I had fun. I used the qualities that I have and he doesn't. I used my length and quickness.

"After that game, I realized that if I can do this against Kevin, I can do it against anybody."

Now standing 7-feet tall and committed to Texas A&M, Jordan has grown from a project to an elite prospect.

Rivals.com is unveiling its preseason Elite Team for the Class of 2007. Comprised of the nation's top high school basketball stars, the Elite Team is broken down into position-specific first, second and third teams. These stars will soon be signing with the top college basketball programs en route to the NBA. We will announce one player each weekday from Oct. 2-20.

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