Michael Jordan's Son Earns Illinois Scholarship

Walk-on Jeffrey redeems choice to turn down other offers

By Eamonn Brennan
|  Friday, Jan 23, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM CDT
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Michael Jordan's Son Earns Illinois Scholarship

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Jordan has found a place in Weber's defense-focused scheme.

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A couple of years ago, when Jeffrey Jordan -- eldest son of the greatest basketball player of all-time, Michael Jordan -- was picking schools, much was made of his somewhat disappointing ability. Sure, he was good. You have to be "good" to get college offers. But he wasn't a stud recruit; no NBA future lay ahead of him. He wasn't even as promising as his younger brother, Marcus.

There was a time when it was doubtful Jordan would even play Division 1 basketball. His scholarship offers were minimal, and most of them came from mid-majors. So instead he took a chance as a walk-on at Illinois, where he would likely not play as many minutes but he would at least get to experience big-time college basketball.

Things have turned out better than expected. Jordan was awarded a scholarship yesterday, a symbol of his improvement and unexpected productivity for the Illini.

"I wasn't expecting it to come as quickly as it did," Jordan said. "It caught me off guard. I think I've been improving every day." [...] "He can be a pest on defense," Weber said. "He's just a good, quality kid, a good team member. We probably should have done it for the first semester. We feel more and more confident in him."

On its face, it's sort of silly to celebrate Jordan's scholarship. He has that last name, after all; why is earning a scholarship such a big deal? He should be better! (And it's not like he needs the money.) But it's precisely that last name that makes this quick, minor story redemptive. The kid earned his own scholarship. After a lifetime of being Michael Jordan's son, who just happens to be OK at basketball, that's a nice little personal achievement. We bet Jeff feels pretty good about it. He should.

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