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Newly-crowned Miss Basketball owes success to athletic bloodline

Megan Swanker, Sport's Editor

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Basketball is a family affair in senior Jordan Walker’s household.

Both mom (Danielle) and dad (Jarvis) played at Ferris State University. Older sister Jasmyn played two years at Valparaiso before sitting out this year after transferring to Western Michigan University, and younger brother Jarvis (Jay) was a freshman on the Shores varsity this past winter.

But it is Jordan who is now the queen of the court, both in her household and in the state, as she was selected Miss Basketball on March 13.

“When I found out that I was Miss Basketball, I was so unbelievably happy,” said Jordan, who will be joining her sister at Western Michigan University. “I had dreamed of the day for so long and pictured myself being a Miss Basketball, but to actually be one was mind blowing. I can’t even put my feelings into words.”

Jordan, who was named the 36th Miss Basketball, given annually to the state’s top senior by the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM), in conjunction with the Detroit Free Press, received 375 first-place votes and totaled 2,482 points. Warren Cousino’s Kierra Fletcher finished second with 291 first-place votes and 2,382 points.

This past year, Jordan led the Sailors to their third straight conference and district titles. During her senior year, Jordan, a 5-foot-7 guard, averaged 22.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game. As a junior, she averaged 20.7 points per game.

Jordan also broke Shores’ all-time scoring record, surpassing former Miss Basketball finalist Jamie Ahlgren. Jordan finished with 1,648 points; additionally, she holds the school record with 351 assists.
But through it all, it always comes back to family, and even those outside of her immediate family have noticed this connection.

“First thing, she had parents who raised her right with a good work ethic, with a lot of faith, and with a love for basketball,” coach Brad Kurth said. “She was raised in a family that loved the game, and ever since I’ve known Jordan, I’ve always seen her around the game. She had a love for the game from a very young age.”

Jordan said her parents have had a major impact on her success as a basketball player.

“My mom and dad have contributed so much to my career, (and) they have made many sacrifices to allow me to be the best player I could be,” Jordan said. “They have taken me across the state and country to allow me to see the different competition and be coached by others so that I could become the best player that I can be.”

Jordan’s older sister Jasmyn has also had an impact on her sister’s basketball career. Jordan said she sees her sister as a role model who is always pushing her to be her best.

“My sister has sacrificed as well,” Jordan said. “She has sat through my AAU tournaments and practices, taken me to practices, games, tournaments, when my parents couldn’t. She has always pushed me to be the best I could, and she has set a great example of a role model for me. She encourages me day in and day out. Going against her everyday in practice (my freshman year) really helped me get better and grow. I also watched how she led our team, and (I) took notes from her because I wanted to be like her.”

Even Kurth knows how much her older sister means to her.

“There is no doubt in my mind that one of the reasons she won Miss Basketball is because of the great career her sister had,” Kurth said. “Her sister set the table for her and gave us a framework of how to give a kid opportunities that we have never done before. Jordan got opportunities that Jas didn’t get and so we made sure that all of those opportunities were out there.”

Just like her sister Jasmyn, Jordan’s younger brother Jay also has made sacrifices regarding his sister’s and his own basketball career.

“My brother, Jay, has sacrificed as well,” Jordan said. “He wasn’t able to play a ton of AAU these past summers because I was playing, and he has watched so many tournaments and games. He also pushes me when we go to the gym. He creates workouts for me to do and I feel myself getting better. I want to set a good example for him like Jasmyn has for me.”

The Miss Basketball title left Jordan elated yet speechless. The award has been a long-time dream for Jordan, and it has motivated her to continue to work hard.

“The title has really humbled me,” she said. “God has blessed me once again. My faith has been strengthened even more. Seeing that so many coaches and people from BCAM voted for me and credit my game has motivated me even more because I know that they will be watching at the next level.”

Watching her, just like her family will be because, well, basketball is a family affair in the Walker household.

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