First-year Chabot College men's basketball coach Keenan McMiller can run with guys like Jordan McGlory and Kyle Brown.
Top players. Strong students. High-character competitors.
Even though the team came up short of making the playoffs, the Gladiators made great strides in McMiller's debut season.
"It's one of the closest teams I've been a part of," said Brown, a true freshman out of Dublin High who averaged 26.5 points over the Gladiators' final four games. "We had ups and downs, but I'm proud of how we came together and picked it up."
McGlory, a James Logan High graduate, will transfer to Cal State East Bay, where he redshirted in the 2017-18 season. Brown will be among five very capable returners at Chabot next season.
Interestingly, McGlory's family history is steeped in Pioneers tradition.
"Cal State East Bay, it feels like home there for me," McGlory says.
Indeed, Jordan's dad and mentor, Marcus, was inducted in the Cal State East Bay Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014 for track and field. Lauren McGlory, one of Jordan's three talented sisters, is also set to be inducted in the Pioneers' HOF for track and field. Marcus, a Pioneers team captain for three years, was one of the program's all-time best jumpers. Likewise, Lauren broke the Pioneers' 22-year-old record in the women's triple jump with a mark of 41 feet, 10.5 inches at the Texas Relays in Austin.
Now that's a McGlory-ous past. Academic excellence runs in the family.
"All three of my sisters and my parents (Marcus and Leesa), as well as my uncles, they all graduated from four-year universities," Jordan said. "Growing up that's all that I knew: To go hard in the classroom first, and basketball comes second. Family definitely has had a big effect on me. I've known since middle school that I was going to go to college, that's first and foremost."
Both McGlory and Brown are setting the bar high as student-athletes. McGlory was selected to the prestigious first-team all-Coast-North team, and Brown made honorable mention. Brown carries a 3.3 grade point average and McGlory has a 3.5 GPA.
A tenacious competitor, McGlory led the Gladiators in a bunch of categories: points (13.7 per game), rebounds (7.5) and assists (3.5), games started (28), and average minutes (33.6). Brown was No. 2 on the team at 12.4 points a game and No. 3 in minutes at 28.5 per game.
McMiller is expecting big things from Brown next season, along with the team's No. 3 and 4 scorers Akili Daniels (12.2 ppg) and Jabari Sweet (8.8 ppg). The coach will be taking Brown to showcase events to help set up his future.
"He became very formidable at the end," McMiller said of Brown. "He played like a Division I player. A really good student, super coachable; willingness to do exactly what you ask him to do. He's just now starting to get his confidence that he really belongs at a higher level and can continue playing at a higher level. That will be tremendous for him next year."
What impressed McMiller about McGlory?
"Just his heart, his tenacity, his fight," McMiller said. "He played probably the most minutes he's ever played in his life and he handled it as well as you could ask somebody … He was pretty consistent every game. Just a dynamic student, able to handle his studies and playing. He's super competitive."
Jordan says he gets his toughness and tenacity from his dad. He talks academics with his mom.
"My dad is at every single game sitting in the front row yelling, trying to give me some instructions on the court, trying to help out," McGlory says. "He's very passionate about sports. He always told me since I was young, 'Go hard in everything you do. Never quit. When you start something you've always got to finish it.' That's how I was raised. I play like that, that competitiveness, that dog, that heart, from him."
Both McGlory and Brown brought success principles to Chabot after successful high school careers.
At Logan, McGlory and Co. advanced to the Division I CIF State Championship game in the 2016-17 season. The 6-foot-4 guard/forward averaged 10.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists a game overall. The Colts rallied but fell short against Roosevelt-Eastvale 54-45 in the state final, despite getting back-to-back clutch layups by McGlory during a late charge.
Brown averaged 8.2 points as a 6-4 senior guard on a 2017-18 Dublin team that finished 26-6 overall and 13-0 in league. The Gaels were 29-5 in Brown's junior year. Brown lives right down the street from the high school and stays close with head coach Tom Costello's program.
So, the future looks bright for Brown, McGlory and the Gladiators. They're all at a takeoff point.