I was at the basketball offices with assorted media members on hand to talk with new assistant basketball coach LaVall Jordan. Jordan has been brought in to replace departed longtime assistant coach Mike Jackson as the coach working primarily with the guards. Jackson was also widely considered the best recruiter on the staff, and Jordan will be asked to fill that role as well. I got the impression Jordan is a Michigan guy and is as much excited about being a part of the program as a fan as a coach.
“When I started to watch and pay attention to basketball, Michigan was, in my hometown, where you looked to Glen Rice and Rumeal (Robinson),” Jordan said. “I’m as excited as a kid in a candy store right now.”
Beilein said he interviewed Bacari Alexander and LaVall Jordan at the same time to fill the same vacancy, and ultimately went with Alexander because he felt he needed a big man coach more than he needed another guard coach. Remember, at this point he still had Jackson on his staff.
“I sat there after interviewing both Bacari and LaVall and couldn’t make up my mind for almost two days,” Beilein said. “And finally I just said, ‘Big man coach’.”
About the conflict with Western basketball coach Steve Hawkins, Beilein said he has attempted to contact him but has received no response. One thing that’s clear is that Jordan was applying for this job a month ago, so I wouldn’t exactly consider his departure from Western akin to escaping under the cover of night. Basically, Jordan said the timing was bad, but the opportunity was too good to pass up.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Jackson’s departure was the impact it would have on recruiting. Right now, the number one priority has to be getting Jordan caught up with recruiting as soon as possible, like Beilein did with Alexander a month ago. Beilein said he was able to get Alexander caught up pretty quickly and all evidence shows that he dove head-first into it. Jordan will be asked to do the same, and he’s pumped about it.
“Obviously, I recruited Michigan, even back at Butler, and at Iowa. I’ve developed a great relationship in Indiana and around the midwest,” Jordan said. “I feel like I’ve had the chance to make some great connections along the way.”
Jordan is in the same mold as Alexander considering they’re both young, enthusiastic and charismatic. He’ll be able to use his Indiana connections immediately but he’s got his work cut out for him as far as solidifying Michigan’s place with players who have been recruited by Mike Jackson this whole time.