NO. 32

Hard to guard

Walter Jordan played big for Northrop High School, leading the Bruins to a state championship in 1974.

When Walter Jordan went to Northrop High School for his senior season, he never dreamed he'd be a pioneer. In an effort to get a bigger lineup, Bruins coach Bob Dille moved the 6-foot-5 Jordan back to guard.

"You have to remember, in 1974 there were no 6-5 guards around," Jordan said. "This was before Magic Johnson proved big guards could play."

Jordan's height gave the Bruins a big advantage that season. After losing to South Bend Adams in the season's third game, they won 26 straight and the state title, beating Jeffersonville 59-56 for the state championship. It's the last time a Fort Wayne boys team has either advanced to the state finals or won the title.

Jordan, who scored 18 points in the championship game, became an Indiana All-Star and then went to Purdue University, where he grew into a 6-8 forward. He averaged 14 points a game as freshman and teamed with Fort Wayne's Eugene Parker to lead the Boilers to a 21-9 record.

As his scoring average increased to 18.8 points as a junior and 17.0 as a senior, Jordan was twice named All-Big Ten. By the time he graduated, Jordan was the fourth-leading scorer in Purdue history with 1,813 points, and he currently ranks sixth.

The New Jersey Nets selected Jordan in the fourth round of the 1978 NBA draft, but he was not able to stay on the roster. Jordan started playing minor-league basketball, and he finally got his NBA chance in 1980 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 2.3 points in 30 games of limited action.

Jordan played six years of pro basketball before retiring and coming back to Fort Wayne.

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