New kid on the block: Anthony Jordan is fitting at West Forsyth despite transferring from Reynolds to play basketball before his senior year
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 4, 2024
By Jay Spivey
For the Clemmons Courier
Senior Anthony Jordan III is in just his first basketball season at West Forsyth, and with that comes all the unknowns about him.
Jordan, who grew up playing baseball most of his life, is a point guard and shooting guard on the basketball team. Although listed at 6-foot-1, Jordan said he’s only 5-11 and weighs 170 pounds. He transferred to West Forsyth from Reynolds before school started last August.
“I would say West Forsyth and Reynolds have two different play styles,” Jordan said of the two Central Piedmont 4-A teams. “So, when I first came over here, I had to get adjusted to the different play styles. And being the new guy, where they didn’t have really a lot of seniors last year. They pretty much had their same team from last year.”
He was already comfortable with the style Coach Billy Martin of Reynolds had. And even though he and his family – father, Anthony Jr., and mother, Christina — made the decision to transfer to West Forsyth, Jordan didn’t know much about Coach Marlon Brim.
Jordan’s brother, Cameron, had also already decided to attend West Forsyth this school year as a freshman. Cameron is playing on the JV basketball team and plans on playing baseball.
“You have to kind of find a way to fit in, so that was a challenge at first – just getting adjusted to how they played and how they do things over,” Jordan said. “I’m good now.”
Even though he’s switched from the black and gold at Reynolds to the green and gold at West Forsyth, Jordan has proved to be a valuable piece for West Forsyth as it has an overall record of 8-2 and 1-0 in the Central Piedmont 4-A with games this scheduled at home against Glenn on Wednesday and on Friday against Reagan.
“I knew of him at Reynolds. I didn’t know him that well,” Brim said.
As it became official that Jordan would go from the Demons to the Titans, Brim knew the fit could be a good one.
“I thought he would add depth to our guard position,” Brim said. “I thought he was a tough kid, and I liked the way he played at Reynolds, So, getting him was a surprise. I think for us, you know, adding a good guard piece to the program is something that can help your program.”
While Jordan was playing for Reynolds last season, West Forsyth, then coached by Brim in his first season, swept Reynolds in the three games, including a 67-64 win in the Central Piedmont 4-A tournament.
“I feel we have a really good team this year, and I feel everybody brings something different to the team in a great way,” Jordan said. “It helps our play style and Coach Brim has done a great job of molding us to fit the play style that he wants to play that’s been helping us to win games so far.”
Right now, Jordan is playing both guard positions for the Titans. And that’s perfectly fine with him.
“It really doesn’t matter,” he said. “If I need to bring the ball and play point guard, I will. If I need to play on the wings, I will because our offense has looked really interchangeable at the guard spot. Because we have a lot of guards, so we’re really interchangeable.”
His thinking as a guard has evolved since he transferred.
“When I played at Reynolds, I was more of a true pass-first point guard because that was like their system,” Jordan said. “So, Coach Brim, me coming over here, Coach Brim has just let me play more freely, and it’s just more playing about basketball, setting other guys up. I feel it’s helped my game.”
Being able to play both guard spots, in addition to having the mindset for both, is invaluable.
“He’s a mix of a point guard and a two-guard,” Brim said of Jordan. “He can guard a one and a two for us. He can play off the ball and can make plays. He can play as a point guard and can make plays for others as well.
“So, his versatility for us, which is good.”
It’s still a challenge.
“I think our style of play is different,” Brim said. “Coach Martin does some running and likes to play fast, but we like to play fast a lot. So, for us, that transition for him is the thing he’s trying to still get a hold on, is playing faster, playing full-court man, pressing, stuff like that on a consistent basis. He’s getting to that point where he’s getting better at it.”
A variable that is sometimes missed when a player transfers to a different school or team is how that player will mesh with the players who were already there. That includes playing alongside Brim’s son, Jacari, who is the team’s leading scorer.
“There’s not really favoritism towards Jacari because Jacari gets it more tougher than all of us, really, or just the same,” Jordan said. “So, it’s no favoritism.”
Jordan, as the added extra piece, could help the Titans to what they hope is a drive toward a Central Piedmont 4-A title in February.
“I think he can give us, like I said, depth. I think he can defend. You know, he can make plays for us, too,” Marlon Brim said. “So, it’s just going to be more than one guard to focus on. Yeah, the ultimate focus may be on Jacari, but he’s going to have some guys who can also make plays.
“And that’s the difference in adding Anthony is that he can defend, he can score, and he can create for others so that opens the floor for others, as well.”
Who knew that a kid who grew up with a love for another sport could fall in love with another?
“I got really good at basketball in eighth grade (at Flat Rock Middle School), and started getting recognition and stuff, so that’s when I transitioned to wanting to be mostly basketball,” Jordan said. “I wouldn’t say I fell out of love because I still love to watch baseball. My brother still plays baseball, so I’m still around baseball. But I just like basketball more, and I was feeling I was becoming better at basketball.”
One oddity with Jordan might be, that although he no longer plays baseball, he feels like it’s helped him play basketball.
“I think baseball has helped me with basketball in ways like my mental because in baseball, you fail more than you succeed,” Jordan said. “So, I feel it’s helped me mentally fail in basketball and be able to bounce back. And the way I pass the ball, it’s helped me because it’s similar to throwing a baseball with like the accuracy of throwing the ball. It’s helped me get some passes off on the court. And you’re able to see the floor.
Jordan grew up playing baseball, mainly as a middle infielder, as a child at South Little League in Winston-Salem. He played baseball until his sophomore year at Reynolds.
“I think sometimes kids like to play multiple sports and some kids don’t, and kids that play and can play well, multiple sports, they do well in both sports,” Brim said. “So, I think it gives him a competitive advantage sometimes.”
With less than two months left in the regular season of his senior year, it’s hard to believe, but Jordan’s short career at West Forsyth will be coming to a close soon.
“It’s crazy to think about. I think about it sometimes, but at the same time, you don’t really have time to think about it because you think about just trying to get better and make it through this tough stretch of conference and make it worth it.”
It’s still early, but Jordan would like to play basketball in college.
“I don’t know what he’s looking for, but I think he could be a good Division II or Division III kid,” Brim said. “So, a lot of it is going to depend on how he finishes the season and how he continues to play because when you call college coaches to come watch, they want to make sure what they’re getting is what they want. And he has to be better and show that he can play on that level.”
He does want to play basketball in college.
“Not really offers,” Jordan said of his chances of playing past high school. “I have some interests but not offers. I wouldn’t want to say I’d want to go anywhere specific. Just anywhere that would be a good fit for me with my play style.”
Jordan is so honed into basketball that he decided not to play baseball at West Forsyth with a chance to play alongside his brother.
“My brother will be playing at West Forsyth, so I’ll be at some of the games,” Jordan said.