Jordan Verhoeff - Picture of Determination

Jordan Verhoeff

Sport: Women's Basketball
Postion: Guard
Year: Third
Height: 5'9"

As you watch Spartan guard Jordan Verhoeff run up and down the hardwood, score baskets, and lead her team, you can't help but think about how easy she makes it look - how she seems so comfortable she could have been born with a basketball in her hands. But even the most seemingly seamless performances have been rehearsed countless times, have had their finest details poured over in frustration, have been earned, and have taken the performer on a journey of self-discovery.

"As early as I can remember, my focus wasn't on basketball," Jordan remembers. "It was sort of spread out between a bunch of sports, basketball, soccer and volleyball - I loved them all." Through elementary school Jordan had an even balance between the three sports but as she recalls if there were to be one that she thought she had a future in it was soccer. "My mom coached our team," says Jordan, "and for whatever reason I just pictured myself always sticking with it."

But sometimes even the stickiest of ideas can be removed and replaced. In junior high and high school Jordan began to play club volleyball and it began to capture the majority of her attention. "I continued to play soccer but then I started to fall in love with volleyball as well," says Jordan. "I was playing basketball at the same time, but it was never that serious - I would just play for fun at school and in a league."

When most of us play basketball for fun we don't get much further than three-on-three pick up or schoolyard bump championships, but when Jordan played for fun her natural ability set her apart. "When I was in grade 11, the then Spartan coach came to my school on a recruiting trip for a girl that was in grade 12," says Jordan. "She watched a couple of games and we ended up talking briefly but I didn't think too much of it because I had never considered basketball as an option for university, I was only really concerned with volleyball and soccer."

Jordan's grade 12 year rolled around and midseason she began talking to the coaches at Trinity Western knowing full well that this was the university that she wanted to be at. "I talked to both the volleyball and basketball coaches at TWU and in the end I was given a choice between the two sports," says Jordan. But in a twist of fate, as often typifies the stories of elite athletes, Jordan chose to play basketball. "It was a very difficult choice because for so long my focus had been on volleyball, but in the end I knew where God wanted me."

If the choice to play basketball was difficult, then the first two years Jordan spent at Trinity Western were excruciating. "Having never focused on basketball before, coming into first year I knew I was behind in basics," says Jordan. Relying on the speed, agility and natural athletic talent that had carried her through her high school basketball career to help her perform in the CIS Jordan knew that she would have to put in some serious time. "What I had coming in just wasn't enough. It was shocking, I had no confidence, and the work was hard but I didn't want to quit."

Jordan spent the following summer in the gym working on her shot and her ball control, honing the basic skills that were underdeveloped. Arriving back at TWU with high hopes, Jordan was greeted by a new coach and a fresh start. But things did not go as expected. "It was another really hard year and the progress I thought I had made over the summer didn't show up in my game," says Jordan. "It was frustrating - there were a lot of tears, a lot of doubts, and a lot of time on the bench."

Through the tough times Jordan turned to three sources of encouragement and determination: God, her family, and her friends. "My teammates were so supportive of me, if they hadn't been by my side I don't think I would have made it," says Jordan. "My family was always there for me, and when I turned to God I knew that he wanted me here. I would always read Philippians 4:13 and remember that He would give me strength and He would never put me through something that I couldn't handle."

This past summer, with a small army of people rooting for her, Jordan stuck to her diet of gym time and hard work. With access to a gym through her mom who works at a local school Jordan was able to spend a huge amount of time there working on consistency and accuracy.

Returning to Trinity Western this fall Jordan was unsure of how the year would play out. "Given the past two years I didn't know what to expect," says Jordan. This year has been unlike any other for Jordan and any expectation she did have for herself she has met and exceeded. Notching consistent standout performances like 17 points and four rebounds in an 80-54 win over the University of Brandon Bobcats, and 12 points, two rebounds and two assists in a 70-54 win over the UFV Cascades, Jordan has truly come into her own as a dominant force and as a leader on the Spartan team.

"I'm starting to gain confidence and I'm hoping to continue grow as a player," says Jordan of her third year turn-around. "I just hope to continue to work hard over the summers and keep on developing my basic skills."

While Jordan is modest, almost to a fault, Head Coach Kerby Court has no shortage of praises for her. "Jordan has always been one of our hardest, most dedicated workers. She is responsible, dependable, and simply a fantastic person to have on our team," Kerby says. "I know the last two seasons were tough for her, especially last year. But, she worked as hard as anyone on our team over the summer and it has paid off in a huge way. She is a team captain this season and she does the little things that make a team better. Jordan is also one of our best offensive rebounders despite the fact that she technically is a guard. She has a fierce competitive drive that isn't always obvious because she keeps herself very composed most of the time, but it is there and it has been the catalyst for her tremendous improvement this season.

In the end, it is Jordan's actions that speak volumes to her character and work ethic, and if there was ever a testament to the power of determination and the rewards of hard work, Jordan Verhoeff's story is it.

 

Last Updated: 2009-01-15
Author: Scott Stewart