Sept. 17, 2013
Nya Jordan, who averaged 8.4 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds last season, recently signed a contract to play professionally for Visby in Sweden. She is one of several Wolverines in the last few years to head overseas to play, joining such former players as Krista Phillips, Veronica Hicks and Carmen Reynolds. Jordan recently sat down with MGoBlue.com before leaving for Sweden to discuss how her opportunity came about, what she expects for her professional career and how head coach Kim Barnes Arico helped take her game to another level.
On how her opportunity to play overseas came about ... "After doing some background information on a family friend who wanted to represent me, I hired him as my agent. I had offers from Germany and a couple smaller countries; it was up to maybe seven offers. It was the last week and I was going to make a decision based off everyone that he had lined up, but then he got one more offer. He told me it was a team in Sweden. I knew Sweden was this incredible place I see on TV all the time and they offered me everything and more than any other team had to at that point. I ended up going with Sweden based off of what I had heard about the city and the country. The team name is Visby Sweden. The city that I am going to is one of the top tourist places over there. I thought that will be amazing, I will get to meet so many different people. There will probably be Americans coming here and there. It will be an awesome experience. Carmen Reynolds is also in Sweden right now playing and is only about five hours away. We already have plans to meet up when we can!"
On when she made the decision to pursue a professional playing career ... "When I was little. I was maybe in 8th grade; I started to realize I was kind of good. I don't want to toot my own horn there, but I knew I wanted to continue with this sport as long as I could. Growing up my favorite player was Cappie Pondexter and I always thought if I could meet her that would be an amazing experience. Now, it is like a dream come true, actually having the chance to go and play professionally. Who is to say I won't meet her over there? Or who is to say I won't meet her next year and possibly become a WNBA player?"
On how switching positions as a senior helped her ... "It helped me be able to play multiple positions, face different kind of players like athletic post players or small guards. It trained me for this opportunity. I wouldn't be surprised if they had me to guard a really small guard or if I had to post up a really small guard. I don't think they will have me checking girls that are 6-4 or anything, but if I do have to, it won't be something new because this program taught me how to at least protect the basket as far as guarding someone that big."
On how head coach Kim Barnes Arico helped her take this next step ... "She helped me to find that passion again for the game. I was in my senior year and thinking that I was exhausted with basketball. I wasn't really as certain about going pro as I am now. Seeing her on fire every game and pushing me to believe in myself, pushing me past all kinds of mental limits and physical limits that I had and just giving me a desire to really play until I fully can't anymore. I figured the best way to do that is to play professionally until my body breaks down."
On if she has a time limit on playing professionally ... "No, I'll play until I'm 40. Hopefully my body can take that, that's old in basketball years."
On how hard the beginning part of the season was ... "It was really hard because, at first, it was hard to give what coach was demanding physically. Every day I had to tell myself that I could get through it. Just seeing where I am now from back then, I would have never imagined it. At some points, I was ready to completely give it up. Looking back now, it's just a blessing to see how far a person can come, stepping outside who I am. I love looking at everyone else on the team and seeing them now progressing through all kinds of barriers that you would never even think these people would get to. Even though I am not even on a team, I love seeing them work out. The post players are getting mile times as fast as guards and you realize how this program really is beneficial to everybody."
On how her class left a stamp on the program ... "I think our senior class was great, everybody brought something different, but what we all brought was a desire to grow. I think we sort of birthed that into the younger kids here, just to really want more for themselves and to want more for this program. I think that all came from Coach Arico. She convinced us that we could do more for this program."
On her feelings about continuing her career ... "I am super excited. Some days I just wake up and I just 'wow' at my life. It kind of brings tears to my eyes sometimes, coming from even this year or three years ago being a freshman here, when I couldn't see any of this happening. It's amazing just how far God can really take you and faith can take you if you take it one step at a time. What I learned is to take everything one step at a time, one day at a time. You'll be able to really reach your goals and really figure out that you can reach your goals."
On what she worked on this summer to prepare ... "Confidence. Last year I came into my senior season and put so much pressure on myself because it was my last year. I have really been working on my confidence because I am going to be thrown into situations where I am going to have to do something. I can't pass the ball or always defer to a teammate. I think this summer I really worked on my confidence and I worked on my jump shot a lot."
Contact: Sarah VanMetre (734) 763-4423