“I’m like, okay, this is different.” Jordan Geronimo right away saw that basketball was serious in the state of Indiana. Between the Graduate Hotel where he and his family stayed to Indiana Hoosiers fans sneaking pictures of him during his official visit, Geronimo saw first-hand how important the sport of basketball is to the Hoosier state. Combine the importance of hoops with Archie Miller, a coach that Geronimo trusted not because of “the things he said, but the way he said them,” Indiana became the undeniable landing spot for Geronimo. Jordan Geronimo quickly became Indiana’s third piece in the 2020 recruiting class.
IndianaHQ had an opportunity to interview Jordan Geronimo to learn more about the newest Hoosier.
IndianaHQ: Jordan, what’s your history with the game of basketball? When did you first start playing?
Jordan Geronimo: “My first sport was actually soccer. I played soccer because it was something that everyone else played in the neighborhood. So I started playing soccer a little bit. And then I joined the Boys and Girls Club when I was really young. I started at a super young age, I think when I was four. I started playing basketball when I was four years old.”
“Basketball was a sport that I grew to like. I like the sound of the squeaking on the hardwood. I don’t know how to explain it. Everyone just wants to win. Everyone is aspiring to put the ball in the hole. Basketball is a sport where so [many] things can happen in between possessions. That’s why I like the sport, there’s so much variety.”
IndianaHQ: How important were your parents in building you up as a basketball player?
JG: “I grew up in a basketball family. My mom played basketball at UNC and my dad played basketball for the Navy in the Dominican Republic. So that’s how I got into basketball.”
“My mom and dad were my biggest coaches and biggest critics growing up. My mom would be the crazy lady in the stands yelling at the kid in a fifth grade game. ‘Jordan, go get a rebound!’ She was super hard on me, but it was something that I really liked. She might be young but she is, like, a passionate person. I know at the end of the day she is trying to help me and stuff. That has been happening all my life. Every time she has a chance to talk about basketball with me, she’ll talk about basketball with me, and so will my dad because they are both basketball people.
IndianaHQ: At what point did you think to yourself that basketball is serious and that you can play at the next level?
JG: “That actually happened when I got my first two offers. [Jordan received offers from University New Hampshire and Butler University during his junior year.] That’s when I was like, ‘Okay I might be good at basketball.’ Because, I never call myself a good player. I don’t think I am good player, not yet. I’ve always played basketball as a hobby, but it was more of an extreme hobby. I was always in the gym everyday. I woke up at 5:55 am to get to the gym between 6:00 to 8:00 am to shoot and work out.”
“I just kept my head down and kept playing basketball. And then I looked up and next thing you know, UNH offered me. After that, it was Boston University. This is just two offers, but I was like, ‘Woah, me? Do you have the right person.’ Now I am getting all of these calls from coaches and teams from all over the nation. Now I am like I have the attention.”
IndianaHQ: Did you expect offers to start piling up?
JG: “The only one I expected was the offer from UNH. They had been talking to me for a while. But then after MassRivals and stuff, they offered me right away. It was just a crazy ride. If you think about it, six to seven months I had zero offers. It’s been crazy going through those months and playing basketball. It’s crazy with these schools coming after me and showing interest in me. It’s been a blessing.”
IndianaHQ: Were there parts of your game that you added that you think drew in the attention of coaches?
JG: “I think it would be defensive energy and my ability to shoot threes. So in the beginning of the season, I was shooting like 44% from the three. That was when I didn’t have the ball in my hands a lot. My confidence wasn’t really there yet. When I started shooting a lot, that’s when my number went down. My coach told me to shoot the ball more.”
“I have a decent three-point shot for a person my size: a 6-foot-6 person with a 7-foot wingspan. Hence my length and athleticism is going be a problem on defense because that’s where my body really stands out. I am just there blocking shots, stealing the ball, in the passing lanes, that’s where I think my specialty is.”
IndianaHQ: Two biggest areas you would like to key in on before college?
JG: “I would like to key in on my handles and my on-court decisions, and probably coming off the ball screen and making plays off of the ball screen.”
IndianaHQ: What are you looking to accomplish in your senior year of high school basketball?
JG: “I am looking to make a bigger name for myself in general. St. Paul’s basketball hasn’t been a basketball school. I just want to leave to school knowing that I put St. Paul’s basketball in the right path.”
IndianaHQ: Jordan, at a high level could you take us on the official visit with us? What did you do, what did you see, who did you talk to?
JG: “I arrived on Friday night and I had dinner with Archie Miller and the staff. Then I had time with the student host [Armaan Franklin].”
“I heard a couple of times that Indiana was a basketball state, but I hadn’t really done my research. I’ve heard a few times that Indiana was a basketball school, basketball state. I was like ‘yeah, whatever.’ And then I checked to the Graduate Hotel in Bloomington, Indiana. I look up there are basketball chandeliers, I look down and there is basketball carpet, and I look left there are bleachers that are decorations on the wall.”
“I didn’t know learn this until know, but there was a picture of a chair just tumbling on my way to my hotel room. And now I learned that was a picture of a chair thrown at a basketball game. It’s super cool to see how rich and deep the Indiana basketball tradition is.”
“I might be crazy, but I feel like a couple people tried to sneak pictures of me, me with coach Miller and the staff. When I was with my student host Armaan Franklin, there were people coming up to me. ‘Oh, your Jordan Geronimo from New Jersey, right?’ It was really cool how everybody is in the basketball loop and everyone knows what’s going on.”
IndianaHQ: What stood out to you in terms of facilities, academics, and the campus?
JG: “I went to the Evolve building in front of the football stadium. It was top [sic] — oh my god, I have never seen anything like that before. They have the outdoor pool with a jumbo screen in front of a pool. They have an indoor basketball. It was like something out of Cribs.”
Jordan also got a chance to spend time in Armaan and Trayce’s apartment while he was down on his visit. Make sure you check out our earlier article on Evolve apartments, where Indiana Basketball players are now housed.
“I really like that it was right next to Cook Hall. It’s like a five-minute walk. That’s where I can get shots up 24-7. I might be wrong, but I think the academic center is in the football stadium. We met with Mattie White, the head of student athletic academics. She gave me a nice feel of what is going on and how to get things done. I remember she told me that they do something unique called ‘objective based learning.’ Where instead of someone coming in and clocking-in hours, where you have to do at least six weeks. It’s more like you have these tasks that you have to come in and do. It is a lot more focused and specific and I like that.”
“Clif Marshall is a great guy. Judging by all of the stuff he has done with the players, I believe that he has more than what it takes to bring me to the next level. For basketball you can be skilled, like you can shoot and dribble. But it all comes down to your body and what you can handle. I just like how Coach Marshall has a ton of experience with that stuff. I trust him to get me where I need to be.”
IndianaHQ: Jordan how would you describe your relationship with Archie Miller?
JG: “The first time he reached out to me was mid-July. It was a quick process.”
“He was like a father figure. Coach Miller has a serious demeanor, you know what I mean? But when I saw him with the players, he was super chill and relaxed. I thought that was really cool. I was really comfortable. He’s the kind of guy to be joking one second, but if I slip up he’ll put me straight. That’s something I really appreciate.”
“It’s not the things he said, it’s the way he said them. That’s what made me trust him. He knows what he’s doing. He’s had a reputation of getting people where they need to be. Romeo Langford, Juwan Morgan, and people like that.”
IndianaHQ: Do you prefer that typing of coaching for yourself?
JG: “I have had crazy coaches all of my life. My mom is the craziest coach. My middle school coach: crazy guy. Vin [Jordan’s current coach]: crazy guy. My old AAU coach: crazy guy. These are all guys that are yelling and getting technical. But they all have made me who I am and they are probably doing the right thing. So I am just going to trust the process.”
“The last night I was there. Coach Miller had a video. He was just showing me and my parents that were there how the things they do translates into the game. He sees me there playing the wing-guard position and being a defensive monster. He said that he sees me coming in as a freshman and playing minutes just because of my defense. I feel like focus on my offense, I would be able to get some considerable minutes as a freshman.”
IndianaHQ: Where do you get motivation and your work ethic?
JG: “I think it comes from my parents. My parents have molded me as a humble player and a humble person. Once I start working out and start doing these things in the morning, it just becomes a routine, something that my brain that follows. I really thank them for making me into that person. If I wasn’t that person, I would be like ‘Okay you know, I am tired, I’ll do this another day.’ My brain is like ‘Wake up, work out, get better, wake up, work out, get better.'”
IndianaHQ: I am sure you saw the comments about your “guns” on Instagram, what does your workout plan look like?
JG: “I don’t have a workout plan. But I do work out. I try to find something to do. Every night I do 30-40 push ups and a couple of sit ups to be consistent. My mama always told me the best basketball exercises are non-weight workouts. I still go to the weight room about 3 to 4 times a week, but not heavy though.”
Editor’s note: UNFAIR.
IndianaHQ: What players did you get to meet during your official visit?
JG: “I met most of the team when I was there. It was a weird bonus, but Romeo Langford was there the whole. I met Armaan, Rob, Race, Trayce, Justin, and others. They were all super nice to me and they were all very supportive of my college decision process.”
IndianaHQ: Have you talked much with your other teammates in the class of 2020?
JG: “Only for a tiny bit. I never dropped a top five or top seven. When I posted my first picture on Instagram with Indiana, they DM’ed me and told me to come to Indiana.”
IndianaHQ: What ultimately convinced you that Indiana was the right decision for you?
JG: “I just knew that I wouldn’t get another school like Indiana in terms of basketball. Indiana is as good as it gets. I didn’t want to waste my time elsewhere. Indiana basketball is top notch. Basketball is what is important over there. I just thought Indiana was a great place to get. I thought the coaching staff was amazing. Coach Miller is a great person, the people of Indiana are great people, and the basketball coaches were the icing on top that made me say, ‘Alright, I want to be here.'”
“At first my parents had some lingering questions. But then we got those answered. They asked me if I wanted to wait, and I was like ‘No.’ Once I said that, then they were like, ‘Yeah, me neither.’ So they were on board with the plan from the get-go.”
IndianaHQ: What has it been like since you have announced your commitment to Indiana?
JG: “It’s been crazy. I have probably taken at least, like, seven interviews and phone calls over the past two days. Instagram has been going crazy and I have gotten a thousand followers. That’s crazy.”
“It’s definitely been nice to not have to take five calls a day from different coaches. It’s a lot easier now that I can focus on one goal, which is to get better and try to prepare myself for Indiana Basketball.”
IndianaHQ: Alright Jordan, now we have some fun questions for you in our lightning round. Favorite NBA team?
JG: “People think I’m weird for this, but the Chicago Bulls.”
IndianaHQ: Favorite NBA player?
JG: “Paul George. I also model my game after him.”
IndianaHQ: Favorite food?
JG: “I am half Dominican so I like a lot of Spanish food, but chicken empanadas. It’s like shredded chicken in a fried thing. I don’t know how to make it but it’s good.”
IndianaHQ: Pre-game rituals?
JG: “So basically what my teammates do… we come out from the side gym. We come down the court and they just throw it off the back board. The next guy catches and throw it off the back board. Then the next guy, then the next guy. I am on the end. And when I get it I just dunk. I crush it.”
IndianaHQ: Have you ever missed that dunk?
JG: “Once. But it was not my fault… not my fault. We still won that game though. Otherwise I would have gotten destroyed.”
IndianaHQ: Who’s on your playlist?
JG: “My playlist has a lot of rap. My favorite artist is Travis Scott. Travis Scott is the best. Hands down. He’s different.”
IndianaHQ: Thing you are looking forward to the most when you come to Bloomington?
JG: “I’m just looking forward to meet new people and be a part of the Hoosier family.”
IndianaHQ: Do you have a final message for your new Hoosier fans and the thousands of new followers?
JG: “I would tell them: I’m coming, man. I’m going there. I’ll work hard and I’ll make a name for myself.”
Featured Photo: @jordan_geronimo / Instagram