Jordan Tolbert – A beast to say the least!

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, January 23rd, 2016


Texas Tech Transfer Powers Mustangs

UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas – The SMU Men’s basketball team is off to
Philadelphia this weekend. Fear of the predicted storms along the
east coast has already moved the game between the number eight
Mustangs and the Temple Owls to Sunday from Saturday. SMU takes
records of 18-0 for the season and 7-0 in American Athletic Conference
play into the game against 10-7 and 4-2 Temple.
Certainly, the Mustangs were expected to be good this year with
Nic Moore and Markus Kennedy returning. Moore was the Conference
Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American a season ago,
while Kennedy was second team All-Conference. A terrific point guard
and a dominant center is a great foundation for any team.
However, the Mustangs have a shortened bench, as the team that
Head Coach Larry Brown expected to be the “deepest team” in his four
year tenure has shrunk to seven scholarship players.
Ben Emelogu was the first casualty, suffering a knee injury that
required surgery that ended his season.
Semi Ojeleye, a transfer from Duke that wasn’t eligible to play
until after the fall semester because of the transfer rule, chose to
redshirt this year, leaving him with two more full years of
eligibility, rather than one.
Now freshman Sedrick Barefield and junior Keith Frazier have
transferred, dropping the original cadre of 11 scholarship players to
Certainly, Nic Moore and Kennedy have been keys to the success of
this team, but they needed help from other players. No one stands out
more than Jordan Tolbert, who transferred from Texas Tech after his
junior year. The 6′-7” forward was expected to make a healthy
contribution. At Tech, he played in 94 games, starting 91 over three
seasons. He averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
But he has surprised even the most optimistic. For SMU, those
figures have escalated to 12.4 points and 9.2 rebounds. He’s been
among the top 10 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game with
5.1, and SMU is currently sixth in the nation in rebound margin.
As to why, Tolbert says, “I don’t think it’s anything that’s
physically that I did, because I’ve always been a hard worker; but
from a mental aspect, just learning the game, a lot of different
things about the game. Learning from LB (Head Coach Larry Brown);
learning from my teammates. In the summertime, a lot of pros came up
here to play; and we got to play against them. Just being able to
play against them, and sometimes we could actually beat them. They
just taught me a lot.”
Tolbert says he gets a lot of confidence, “Just being coached by
Coach Brown. That gives us a lot of confidence. Having the chance
to sit out last year and learning the system; learning the way things
work. (For) me personally, just knowing that I put the work in;
knowing that I won’t let anybody outwork me.”
Tolbert is from Ft. Worth, and when he came out of high school
he was recruited by numerous schools, but his choice boiled down to
Arizona State and Texas Tech. “Arizona State was pretty big. They
were definitely my second school. I just narrowed it down to Tech and
Arizona State. I knew a lot of their (Tech’s) seniors were going to
graduate and leave, so I was going to have the chance to play right
away. I thought that would be pretty cool to be able to play in the
Big 12 as a freshman.”
As for his decision to transfer to SMU, “That’s really more than
basketball. That was a decision I just had to make for myself. SMU
is a great school. You know besides basketball, it’s a pretty
prestigious college university. Just to have the chance to come here,
play basketball and be able to get a degree at the same time and play
for a coach like Larry Brown. It was just a win-win the way I saw
One thing Tolbert appreciates is the crowds at Moody Coliseum.
“I hear them. I don’t see them. I try to be locked in on the game
with tunnel vision, but I definitely hear them. Just having the crowd
there makes it a lot easier, makes it more fun.”
As for his favorite things about SMU, Tolbert says, “On the
court, it’s definitely Moody (Coliseum), playing in Moody. It’s just
unbelievable. It’s pretty small. Moody gets pretty loud. Just
having the whole city around you is pretty unbelievable.” As far as
his favorite thing off the court, he says, “Being able to go see my
family. Them being pretty close to me. I just feel like it’s a great
time to be in Dallas.”
Tolbert is on schedule to graduate with a degree in Sports
Management this May. As far as the future, he says, “I plan to keep
on playing basketball until I can’t any more. I definitely want to
play professional.”
Tolbert has had some mammoth games. Against Nicholls State, he
pulled down 23 rebounds. That was clearly a career high, as he said
afterward that he couldn’t remember ever pulling down 20 boards even
in high school or AAU play; much less college. He had a career high
six steals last Sunday against Tulane, as his hustle and grit played a
large part in putting away the pesky Green Wave. His best offensive
game came in an 82-58 manhandling of the Michigan Wolverines, when
Tolbert hit 11 of 12 shots from the field to score 23 points. Nine of
the 11 shots were his trademark dunk. He turns in SportsCenter
quality dunks routinely and has been among the top 10 plays of the day
on ESPN’s SportsCenter.
The SMU winning streak is up to 18 to start the season.
Questions are being asked more frequently about finishing 30-0, a
noteworthy goal with the post season ban. Brown tries to downplay the
talk, but the players are well aware of the situation. “I just like
to think about the next game,” Tolbert says, but he adds, “We all know
the ultimate goal.”
The improvement in his statistics since transferring has to be
the best advertisement for big men to attend SMU. Tolbert often looks
like a man playing with boys. He’s an absolute beast on the boards
and dunking the ball. The Larry Brown system has definitely released
the beast.

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  1. Lane Sullivan says:

    Great article Dic!!

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