June 11, 2010
The first week of Summer Camp 2010 has come to an end. The team and I have been working with 8 through 17-year-olds of intermediate level for the past four days. And boy, what a great age to teach. All of the girls were so eager to learn and none of them ever got discouraged or gave up. It was amazing to see the improvements each girl made just over a span of three hours each day. Although it is sad to say goodbye to all the campers we got to know over the past week, it is a relief to be able to take a week off from standing for three hours straight after morning workouts!
I can remember being that age and looking up to the Lady Lobos just like the campers do. When I think of those days I can't help but think of Jordan Adams and how much I looked up to her. It is still weird for me to believe that I can call her up and ask about her current involvement with the Canadian National Team...
But first, a joke for you all from Jessica Kielpinski:
Q: How did Canada get its name?
A: The founders randomly drew letters out of a hat. "C, ay? N, ay? D, ay?"
I'm not sure if Jordan's Canadian-born father would agree with the degree of influence that joke had on the real foundation of Canada's name but I bet it at least got a little smile out of him. Because her biological father, Greg Wiltjer, was born in Canada and maintains citizenship, Jordan is allowed automatic citizenship and a spot on Canada's national basketball team. She has been playing with the team for the past four summers and this upcoming season is no exception. On June 23rd, she will head up north for training camps and soon after, a summer of international competitive basketball.
Jordan says the thing she enjoys most about playing with Canada is the team camaraderie. "After leaving UNM, I missed that a lot. We all are playing for each other and not for individuals. I really enjoy going back and seeing all the girls, catching up and seeing how their years went. It's just kind of a camaraderie thing for me," says Jordan. Her team must be close after spending their summers sharing dorms, traveling for 24 hours straight and constantly training together. Jordan describes her schedule with the team as simple as, "Eat sleep and play basketball."
Because these are the World Championships, a heavy amount of traveling is involved. When an entire day is dedicated just to get to the destination, there is little time left to adjust to time changes and surroundings. "We'll pretty much be in airports for 24 hours sometimes. It's really tiring because we have to get there and play within a day or two," says Adams. Talk about jet lag! From South America to Asia to Europe, Jordan has seen them all, but her favorite place to travel to is Prague. It just so happens the World Championships are hosted in Prague, Czech Republic this summer so she will get to spend a week there.
Some may think that basketball is just basketball, but there are some slight differences between the American style of play and the European style. For one, a player must dribble at least once before scoring which makes post play slightly different. Most American post players are taught to try not to dribble. Jordan says there is a lot more footwork involved, "I've had to learn how to expand my game and try and score in other ways. There's a lot more movement."
That doesn't mean her signature post up to one-on-one move is out of the cards though. Jordan played the US national team a few years ago and although Canada got smoked, the experience was one to remember. "When we played them, the whole US team was everyone I watched as a kid. It was Tina Thompson, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, all the big-time players. When you're sitting there and every single one of them are WNBA All-Stars and making a lot of money playing basketball, it's definitely intimidating," describes Adams. But Lobo fans know she held her own out there.
It is easy to see that Jordan definitely gets back what she puts into it. While she is one of just two players on her team who does not play on a team year-round, she has to work that much harder to maintain her fitness. And that she does. On every road trip, she was there running the bleachers during practice to get an extra workout in.
"When I get up to camp it's a quick transition for me to get into the highest level of competition. So it's hard to get in there and transition real quickly. I've been training and lifting, it's just hard those first couple of weeks getting transitioned."
Even though there seems to be a lot of set backs, the love of the game is definitely still there for Jordan. "I just turned 29-years-old and I'm still able to play basketball. A lot of my friends and teammates of the past have been done for a long time so I find myself very lucky. Just to have the opportunity to play with the Canadians is something I never thought would be possible and to be able to work all year and still play is pretty amazing." And boy, how lucky are we that Jordan gets to maintain her positive and influential role with the Lobos while continuing to do what she loves the most -- basketball.
Check out next week's From the U as we will catch up with former Lobos Angela Hartill and Chelsea Grear.