MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (WTVO/WQRF) — The roaring crowds follow former Hononegah basketball star Jordan King everywhere she goes. These days, you can hear them when she’s on the court for the Marquette women’s basketball team.
“I spent a little bit of time with her earlier in the week about… let’s not wait ’til next year to talk about little things she has to improve on and growing as a freshman,” Marquette Head Coach Megan Duffy said. “Let’s think you’re a sophomore now and let’s spend that extra time in the gym or the film session and eliminate any distractions around you.”
King finished with 16 points in Marquette’s last regular season game when they beat DePaul.
“I thought she was great handling the pressure,” Duffy said. “She’s been steady for us all year and you saw a little bit [against DePaul], the way her offense could eventually be for us. She was such a big time scorer that everybody talks about. I tasked her with having to run our team, which is not easy, so. To see that ball go the basket and make the end of the quarter shot and to have her teammates rally around her is really cool for a freshman to be able to handle what she did.”
King gets playing time most freshmen at other schools would kill to have, averaging 31 minutes per game. She wasn’t necessarily expecting to have as much playing time as she’s had this season, but she was ready for whatever would come her way.
“I think I just came in ready to work and everybody had to work for their position because of new roles and new coaching staff,” King explained. “So I think just all of us coming in with an open minded mindset and just working day in and day out and that’s where it’s gotten us today.”
It’s easy to see how happy King is as a Golden Eagle; she celebrates big plays with a loud yell as she embraces her teammates. Although just a freshman, the team knows King is just as valuable as any other player on the team.
“Jordan has been phenomenal for us,” Marquette junior Lauren Van Kleunen said. “I think as a freshman, it’s tough to be asked to handle the ball and run offense and do all that. I think she’s done it with absolute grace. … I think she can impact the game so many different ways; not just handling the ball. She can get tip deflections on the defensive end, so it’s huge for us and it’s been awesome playing with her.”
Of course, King’s season hasn’t always been perfect. For the times she’s fallen down, her team’s been right there to pick her back up.
“Sometimes she gets down on herself, but she [understands] that as a team player, that she’ll do anything for this team and it’s been huge,” Van Kleunen explained. “Just keeping that confidence as a freshman… there’s a lot of ups and downs… there’s so many possessions in a game, that you get down one or two, that’s fine. You just keep on moving. I think she, it’s good that she has a short memory with that. Tip a ball over here, left or right, it’s alright.”
As much as King’s enjoyed her time with her Marquette family, the OG’s support continues to mean the world to her. Her parents and sister travel to every single home game, and then some.
“The hometown support has been great,” King admitted. “Especially to see my family at so many Big East games; not only the home games, but away games too. It’s been really great. Especially a freshman year. It’s not easy going away from home, so being able to see them so often has been great and I couldn’t thank them anymore for the support they show.”
That support is going to mean that much more when Marquette plays at Wintrust Arena for the Big East Tournament in Chicago. The Golden Eagles enter as the number two seed in the tournament after beating DePaul in their last regular season game and a Butler loss to Seton Hall. Number two isn’t so bad either when you think about how Marquette was originally picked to finish in ninth place.
“At the beginning, when that poll came out, it went up in our locker that day,” King said. “We wrote that they picked us ninth. So I think every practice, every game, we go in with a chip on our shoulder, showing them that we’re not ninth and just the work ethic and the determination by our team has been great this whole season and I’m just so proud of our team and where we’re at.”