A few short months ago, Caleb Jordan was solely focused on helping will the Midlothian Panthers to the 5A basketball playoffs.
The success of the team was always on the front of his mind. But, before he ever drilled a fadeaway buzzer-beater in the regional championship or scored seven points on the big stage in the state semifinals, Jordan knew his ultimate dream was to play collegiate basketball.
That dream turned reality Wednesday afternoon inside Panther Arena when he officially signed his National Letter of Intent to continue his playing career at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
“I am very excited because there were times my sophomore and junior year that I thought this day would never come,” Jordan said. “I always prayed to God about it. I kept putting in the work that I have always been putting in, and it has finally paid off. I really am happy about the situation, and I am ready to go play.”
Midlothian head boys’ basketball coach Steve Middleton said he is proud of the 5-foot-11 point guard on “many different levels.”
“His commitment to Midlothian basketball has been exceptional and for him to add a full scholarship to play basketball at St. Mary’s is very deserving,” Middleton added. “It is also very gratifying to me as a coach to have him commit to get a free education and play basketball. It is just a wonderful feeling.”
On the basketball court, Jordan comprised one part of a three-headed scoring machine that saw he (1,183 points), Kaden Archie (1,822 points) and Evan Marshall (1,232 points) all reach the 1,000-point plateau. Archie has signed to continue his career at Texas Christian University and Marshall at Air Force.
Jordan reached 1,000 career points Jan. 12 in a win against Mansfield Summit, 59-39.
Middleton is certainly quick to applaud the three for their accomplishments on the basketball court. But he is also just as pleased with the young men they have grown to become off of the hardwood.
“I can’t say enough about these three young men as far as being ambassadors for Midlothian basketball and our community — in how they carry themselves in school and in the community,” Middleton said. “They have never been in one day of trouble, and they represent us in an absolutely phenomenal manner, both on and off of the court. As proud as I am of them as basketball players, I am equally or even more proud of them as people and young men.”
So as he counts down the days to high school graduation and a summer move down Interstate-35, Jordan had a few words of encouragement for those who hope to one day ink their name to the bottom of an NLI.
“When you set dreams, don’t look away from them,” he said. “It might seem like you might not make or you might not get there, but if you keep putting in the hard work and keep showing that you deserve it, then it’ll come. As far as in the classroom, you have to always study, always work hard and create relationships with teachers. That’s the most important part.”
Oh, and he also thanked the rowdy Midlothian High School student section for their unwavering support throughout his Panther career.
“Every night they showed out, came in and they are just showed us all of the support, and I really appreciate that.”
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith