A year ago at this time, Jeff Jordan decided to drop from Illinois' basketball team and become a regular student. He wound up returning to the squad in October during preseason drills and serving as the backup to point guard Demetri McCamey.
On Friday, the junior walk-on announced his intent to leave the Illini again...only this time there'll be no return. Illinois issued a release that revealed Jordan's plans to transfer for his final year of eligibility. His most likely landing spot figures to be Central Florida, where his brother, Marcus, will be a sophomore in 2010-11.
Jordan averaged 13.8 minutes, 1.6 points and 1.7 assists per game in 2009-10, but most of those minutes figured to evaporate next season with the continued improvement from D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul, the expected health of redshirted freshman combo guard Joseph Bertrand and the arrival of freshmen wings Jereme Richmond and Crandall Head.
For fans who wonder why Jordan played so much in some games, perhaps this anecdote might help: The Illini were losing in the second half of a Big Ten home game this season and one of Bruce Weber's assistants suggested pulling Jordan in order to get a more offensive-minded player into the game. Weber turned to the coach and declared, "But he's giving us ENERGY!"
Bruce loves energy...sometimes at the expense of skill. From that perspective, the Illini will miss Jordan...unless one of the more-skilled youngsters choose to provide similar defensive hustle.