CARACAS, Venezuela — Towering at an even seven feet, centre Jerome Jordan is the tallest member of the Jamaica squad at the FIBA Americas Championship, and one of the country's prime sporting assets.
Jordan, a Kingston-bred former Jamaica College student, left the island on a basketball scholarship at age 16 and finished high school in Florida before attending college in Oklahoma.
"I was pretty much raw... I always liked it, I watched it and was always interested, but I didn't seriously play it until a year or two before leaving Jamaica.
"The guys at the Star Search camp at GC Foster [College] saw some potential in me and... I ended up in Oklahoma. I worked with the coaches and got better every year offensively, defensively and got stronger and faster," he told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.
Stints in the NBA with New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets and also in Europe and Asia have turned the lanky prodigy into a seasoned professional in the world arena.
It is his expertise that Jamaica — making a first appearance at this level — rely on as they battle the regional powerhouses for a place in next year's FIBA World Cup in Spain.
As he sat with the Observer, he expressed his commitment to pushing the country to greater heights, even while not being certain where his future lies ahead of the start of the new professional season.
"Right now I'm keeping my options open in terms of where the next step is. I don't know if I'll attract NBA teams or I may go to NBA training camps. Maybe I get a few offers in Europe or perhaps from Asian teams like in China.
"But the main focus right now is not so much the individual but trying to help the team win. We need to do well and there is pressure on us [home-bred players] to do well. Not to take anything from the guys who weren't born in Jamaica, but growing up there, Samardo [Samuels] and I and a couple of the other guys, there is so much more pressure on us to represent and do well for Jamaica. It's pressure, but it's not something we are not used to and not something we don't expect," he explained.
It has not been the best of tournaments for the centre so far and Jamaica have suffered Group A defeats to Canada, Uruguay and Puerto Rico.
The JamRockerZ share last place with Brazil, whom they were scheduled to face last evening, to decide which team secures the fourth and final spot to advance from the group.
Encouraged by 12 points and eight rebounds against Canada and the 10 points and nine boards returned against Puerto Rico, Jordan said the signs are "positive".
"I think I can do more, but not being together with the team that long [ahead of the tournament was a setback]. Still, I'm trying to play as hard as I can. The numbers been up and down, but for the most part it's been positive," he said.