Girls' basketball: Spotlight on Mater Dei's Jordan Adams
As a freshman, Mater Dei's Jordan Adams was the starting point guard for one of the best girls' basketball teams in the nation.
But with that honor came a lot of pressure.
"Sometimes you forget how young these guys are when they come in," Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said. "It's hard for a freshman to be a leader on a varsity team, especially a high-profile one, on or off the court."
Everyone was talking about her, and under that intense spotlight her self-confidence dwindled. She even considered quitting the basketball team and leaving the school.
Instead, she pressed on.
Adams is currently the No. 1-ranked sophomore in the nation, according to ESPN, and averages close to a triple-double a game for the Monarchs (27-1), which play in the Southern Section Division 2A championship against Woodbridge on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Cal State Long Beach.
When she was tempted to walk away from it all, she thought about her younger siblings.
"My brother and sister look up to me," Adams said. "Sticking through it and showing them that no matter how hard it is you got to push through it, I'm leading by example by doing that.”
She impressed Kiernan, who said that there's no other player in the country who he'd rather have on his team. He gave her the most improved player award at the end of last season.
"That's when my confidence starting coming up," Adams said. "I realized I had come a long way."
Over the summer Adams and two of her teammates, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Alexyz Vaioletama, sat in a room holding hands and crying. They had made the USA under-16 team, and went on to win a gold medal in Mexico.
Her love for the sport was renewed during that extremely humbling and moving experience.
This year the pressure has increased, but she feels it much less. She's developed a thick skin and a deeper sense of self-worth.
"The people who were talking about me didn't make who I am, so why should they break who I am?" Adams said.
-- Melissa Rohlin
Photo: Jordan Adams. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.