Dec. 16, 2010
Jordan McRae didn't get serious about basketball until he was 15 years old. After playing a couple seasons of AAU ball, the Midway, Ga., native suited up for the Liberty County High School squad as a sophomore and that is about when things took off.
"I was tall and people told me I looked like a basketball player," McRae said. "So I started playing. I have long arms and it just came kind of natural to me. As I got started, I put in a lot of time in the gym and it really paid off."
After joining up with the Atlanta Celtics AAU team, McRae began turning heads as his long frame allowed him to make plays anywhere on the court.
"After my sophomore year, I was playing AAU ball and I got a lot more exposure that summer," McRae said. "A few college coaches were coming to watch me and that's when I realized that maybe I could do something with basketball."
Playing AAU basketball also allowed McRae to form a bond with future UT teammate Trae Golden. The pair spent a few seasons playing against one another then played together on the same team as they finished out their high school careers.
"Jordan is an emotional player--he plays all out the whole game," Golden said. "He is very athletic and high energy, too. He makes big plays. He does things that you just can't teach."
The chemistry Golden and McRae shared on the basketball court carried over as the two became close friends. After McRae signed with Tennessee, he began recruiting his old pal Golden to join him on Rocky Top.
"Jordan called me after he signed here and he really wanted me to come here, too," Golden said. "He is a good friend, and when you're away from home it helps to have someone you know around for you."
Now that both are at Tennessee, McRae is working hard to ensure their mark on Tennessee basketball will be an historic one.
"I came here because I wanted to do something that's never been done before," McRae said. "Coach Pearl always stood out to me. He is doing great things here. I want to be a part of that, I want to take this team to places it's never been before."
In order to take the Vols to new heights, McRae is now spending a lot of time polishing his game to add shut-down defense to his repertoire of play-making abilities.
"I'm a shooter, but I can slash and that's what I like to do the most," McRae said. "But I am a high-flyer, too. I can block shots. I have been working a lot with the coaches on my defense so I'm improving on the other end of the court. With my length I should be able to be a pretty good defender."
The 6-foot 6-inch forward isn't afraid to dish the rock, either.
"I think my strength is that I can make plays not just for myself, but for my teammates, too," McRae said. "I need to work on my defense, but I think making plays for myself and for others is the best part of my game."
With his career on The Hill just revving up, McRae will undoubtedly have plenty of opportunities to show off his skills. Despite getting to the court later than most, his fast-paced style and penchant for big plays prove he has more than made up for any lost time.