Section 7, put on by the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association, is objectively one of the most impressive, expansive summer high school tournaments in the country. It was held at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, over Father’s Day weekend and Pro Insight was on hand to cover the event. In between games, we caught up with Jordan Pope, the talented guard out of Prolific Prep (CA), who also plays for the Oakland Soldiers (CA) on the Nike circuit. Throughout the event, Pope highlighted his backcourt versatility, scoring ability, and poise in front of hundreds of college coaches.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Pope touched on his background, his overall game, his recruitment update, players he likes to study, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Jordan Pope, from Oakland, California:
Pro Insight: Talk a bit about your background.
Jordan Pope: I’m from Oakland, California. I come from a basketball family, we’re known for being undersized so when it comes to basketball we play with a lot of heart. It doesn’t take a lot to motivate us and for me as a person I bring that heart and that chip on my shoulder. That’s all you got to know about me.
PI: So there are some other athletes in the family?
JP: I’ve got two older brothers that played basketball in high school. Unfortunately they didn’t get to play on the big stages I’ve been able to play on, but they’ve had a big impact on my success and on my journey so far. I give a lot of props to them, that’s where I get everything I know.
PI: Did they play beyond high school?
JP: My oldest brother, he played NAIA at a school called Dillard out of New Orleans, but that’s the highest level that my brothers got to.
PI: Describe your game — what are your greatest strengths?
JP: My greatest strength I would say would be shooting. I’m a PG, but I’m a scoring guard. At times I can be a facilitator and a true PG and get teammates easy shots. The game comes easy to me. I can shoot the mid-range, attack the rim, shoot 3s, floaters — all of it. I’ve got the whole package. I’m a combo guard.
PI: What are some areas of improvement?
JP: I feel like I’ve got to improve on defense. I feel like everyone who is a good scorer can take plays off on defense sometimes, so I’ve got to improve on that. Being more vocal since I’m a team leader. I’m a PG so it’s important for me to be vocal. My shot selection sometimes, getting the best or easiest shots...letting the game come easy to me.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
JP: I feel like I’m a good off-ball defender. I can read passing lanes easily. I’m good at reading offenses, so I feel like I know what’s about to happen before it happens. I’m very underrated when it comes to off-ball defense and I feel like that will take me a long way.
PI: Who are players you like to study? Where does that IQ/feel come from?
JP: I study a lot of Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving in terms of my scoring aspects, but in terms of being a PG/IQ I watch a lot of Steve Nash because he was a true PG and could shoot the 3 very well — so those are similarities that we have. He was really special with the ball when it came to making big plays and getting teammates easy shots. So I study Steve Nash and Steph Curry, mostly.
PI: Earlier, you touched on your leadership style — what type of leader are you?
JP: I feel like I’m a good leader. I could be a better leader, but I feel like I’m a good leader. I get that from my idol growing up, which was Kobe Bryant. I’m not saying he’s the best leader, but he was one of the best leaders that the game has ever seen. I grew up watching a lot of him and seeing what it took to accomplish greatness. He shows you what you’ve got to bring out of your teammates to play at the highest level.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment?
JP: I have offers from UC Riverside, University of San Francisco, and the University of Montana. I hold interest from probably half of the PAC-12. The latest schools to reach out to me were Washington State, Nevada, and Saint Mary’s. Saint Mary’s likes me a lot, I talk to them every week. Washington, Utah, UCSB, schools like that...mid majors and PAC-12. (Note: has since received offers from New Mexico, Wichita State and Nevada)
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in your school of choice?
JP: I’m looking for a home away from home and that makes me feel most at home. A school that I know I can trust and have loyalty with, where I know they won’t be backstabbing or put smoke and mirrors. When it comes to making my decision, I want a school that’s going to allow me to be me and play my game without any type of restriction: don’t put me in a box, just let me be free…coach me hard, but allow me to be free and play the game I love. I want a good education, as well.
PI: What are you aiming to show coaches this summer?
JP: I’m trying to show coaches I’m a scoring guard — that’s what I want to do at the highest level. I want to impress them with my scoring, but at the same time show that if my shot isn’t falling and it’s not the game for me then I can get my teammates shots and make the game easier for them.
PI: What are your off-court interests?
JP: I like to spend time with family and friends. I feel like sometimes in life with basketball and all the craziness we lose sight of reality. So when I’m off the court I like to spend time with my family and friends, have fun, and be a normal kid every once in a while. Then by myself, I like to watch movies, I’m a movie person. I like to bring light into every room I walk into. I just like to bring energy.