During Thursday’s practice at Austin High, Takisha Jordan didn’t stand out above anyone else.
The 5-foot-6 senior waited in line as the team ran the last handful of drills, studying the patterns on the court while the group finished practice.
When the team dismissed, she cracked a smile.
“I’ll hear them laughing from time to time, and she’s always in the center of it,” Austin coach Bruce Hamilton said.
All signs point to Jordan as Austin’s complete player. For the three-year starting point guard, everything clicks. She’s become a complete player who knows when to laugh and when to work, and has created a positive environment for the Black Bears.
There’s a good feeling in Austin’s locker room, and Jordan has something to do with it.
She’s the one behind “team night,” a casual get-together that happens the night before every game. The team meets for dinner, or maybe a movie.
“Kiki’s at every team night,” said freshman Katie Speegle of Jordan. “She’s always getting up and dancing with the team. She’s always bringing life to us.”
Right now, Jordan’s favorite song is “The Boys” by Nicki Minaj. She plays it on repeat.
“Me and Aaliyah Rice, we’re the only ones who like to dance,” Jordan explained, laughing. “The other ones, they just kind of sit there and look at us,”
Jordan also fuels the pranks that happen behind-the-scenes — the best story is when freshman Tyra Johnson woke up to a handful of shaving cream, planted there when she dozed off during a movie.
It may be fun, but there’s a motive behind everything Jordan does.
“That’s what you have to be able to do, bond and get chemistry,” she said.
Jordan may joke, but on the court she’s ready to work.
Coach Hamilton first saw Jordan play as an elementary student at Austinville.
“She’s always been very gifted and very talented,” he said.
Now, in her senior season, he sees something different emerging.
“I think somewhere over the last 12 months ... somewhere over the time she really became a more poised player. Now, I think she has a very good understanding of when she needs to penetrate and when she needs to slow down,” Hamilton said.
After working with former NBA player Mike Wilks and Samford assistant coach and former Austin player Jazmine Powers, Jordan says she has been focusing on her shooting and defensive speed.
“She’s done a lot of hard work,” Hamilton said. “She’s played a lot in the summers and the offseason, and she’s become a complete player.”
Jordan is averaging 12.4 points per game, along with seven rebounds and 4.5 assists. She is weighing college offers from North Alabama and Alabama A&M.
“When Kiki goes, we go. She sets the tone offensively for us,” Hamilton continued. “We’ve been fortunate to have some good guards around here, but she stacks up with any of them.”
Jordan has never been the selfish type. She’s improved her individual game, but it hasn’t changed her outlook on the team, including a willingness to help freshman players.
After playing as a freshman, she knows what it’s like to be new, and to play against bigger, older competition.
“She’s able to say, ‘Here’s what to expect, I’ve been there, it’s like this,’ ” Hamilton explained.
The biggest thing, Speegle said, is learning to compete at the high-school level.
“I just tell them to stay calm and play like they know how to play, and not give up and get frustrated,” Jordan said.
It’s evident in Johnson, a freshman guard, who has adopted some similar traits.
“She’ll tell me to play my game,” Johnson said.
“She’s helped me to go to the basket more, penetrate and shoot.”
With influence that filters down the roster, Jordan
has made a good name for herself.
“Takisha is well liked here at Austin, and we appreciate what she’s done,” Hamilton said.
Meredith Qualls can be reached at 256-340-2395 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a glance
Position: Point guard
College offers: North Alabama, Alabama A&M
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