Vaux star Jordan leads White past Blue in Ellington Classic

EVEN WITH no one in front of him, on a fastbreak, Rysheed Jordan says he has no problem giving up the basketball.

Admirable trait. Now, just don't expect that kind of generosity when it comes time to discuss the recruiting process.

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Blue team's Britton Lee (right) goes to the basket against White's Dominique Reid during all-star game.

"I'm going to narrow down my list to a top five, probably in July," said the 6-4, 180-pound Jordan, a junior point guard at Roberts Vaux High with an ever-mushrooming national profile. "Hints? Nah, I can't do that. All the schools I've been thinking of are still alive.

"This makes for a lot of pressure. It's hard to think you're going to have tell coaches that really want you that you don't want to go to their school. Especially some that you like a lot."

Jordan was talking Wednesday night at Community College of Philadelphia after White beat Blue, 110-98, in the main attraction, featuring juniors, of the Wayne Ellington All-City Basketball Classic. His contributions included 14 points, four assists and, finally, a sliver of inside info.

"OK, I will say this much," he offered with a smile. "There will be a local school or two in my top five."

Right after the game for sophomores ended, a dunk contest was held at the east end of the gym. Originally, Jordan intended to be only a prop.

"I was trying to throw the ball high off the wall behind the basket so [Chester's] Rondae Jefferson could have some great dunks," Jordan said. "But the wall was too far back. The ball wasn't bouncing the right way. We had to forget it."

Everyone then stood around, not sure what would happen.

"I offered to step up and do some dunks. Miles did, too," he said, referring to wing guard Miles Overton, of St. Joseph's Prep.

Other contestants got involved, and the spectators, many taking video and photos with cellphones, crowded against the baseline and the near wings.

After jumping over a pair of kids who appeared to be young teenagers, Jordan looked to be in the lead. Uh, oh. Soph Tony Toplyn, of Ss. Neumann-Goretti, lined up four schoolmates and, after not succeeding twice, soared above the group to wolf down an all-timer.

"Ah, it was just for fun," Jordan said. "I wasn't mad about it. I had a couple good ones in the game."

So did everybody, almost. There were so many flushes, thanks to nonexistent defense, you would have thought the basket had been lowered to 9 feet.

"People come out here and they want to see that stuff," Jordan said. "You still want to play smart, though, and not do anything to get your teammates mad."

Thanks to a strong junior season, which he followed with some off-the-charts moments in the Donofrio Classic in Conshohocken, Jordan is being mentioned as someone who could earn a spot in next year's McDonald's All-American Game.

Meanwhile, here's what he expects from the college program he'll eventually pick:

"I like teams that run pick-and-rolls and run a couple sets," he said. "And where you can shoot a couple pops [jumpers]. Of course, I'd fly up and down if they wanted me to. Whatever the coach wants. But my preference is a team with [some discipline]."

Of all the players in Wednesday night's event (a game for freshmen went first), Jordan likely had the largest rooting section. Most members wore T-shirts with a large question mark and the words "Why Not" on the front.

"That's a little thing in my neighborhood," he said. "It's for all positive things. Like, tonight the theme was,'Why not go to the All-City Classic?' There are lots of good things for kids to get involved in. We should do them. Why not?

"An older friend in the neighborhood gets the shirts printed up and he gives them out to everybody. They have all kinds of color schemes."

Imhotep guard Brandon Austin, a Penn State commit, earned MVP honors for White, with 23 points and six rebounds. Boys' Latin Charter's Yahmir Greenlee added 11 points and six assists. For White, MVP John Davis (N-G) had 24 points, five boards, three assists and two steals.

Former Germantown Academy star Matt Walsh ('02), who advanced to the NBA, was inducted into the event's Hall of Fame, as was sports writer Donald Hunt, of the Philadelphia Tribune.

 


Contact Ted Silary at silaryt@phillynews.com. Online high school coverage at philly.com/rally.