LAWRENCEVILLE– There aren’t many people that can say that they’ve played Division-I basketball. There are fewer that can say that they’ve been stars on a reality TV show. But it’s incredibly rare to find someone that can say that they’ve played Division-I basketball alongside appearing on a reality TV show on a major network, at the same time nonetheless.
Meet Stevie Jordan, starting point guard for the MAAC-favorite Rider Broncs and cast member of the VH1 show “Leave it to Stevie”.
Jordan has been extremely lucky to have been able to live not one, but two different lifestyles that many people can only dream of experiencing. What makes it even more special is that in both spectrums, he has a parent who has made a huge impact in his life and in their respective field.
Growing up in Bensalem, PA, Jordan made a name for himself when he was named the starting point guard as a freshman for Conwell-Egan under former head coach Frank Sciolla, who previously coached LaVoy Allen at Pennsbury High School.
While he was tearing up the Philadelphia Catholic League and racking up various PIAA awards, in the summer, he would play for Philly Pride on the UA circuit alongside fellow Division-I players De’Andre Hunter (Virginia) and LaPri McCray-Pace (Morgan State).
“Playing with those guys just made me better,” Jordan said. “As a basketball player you want to play with the best guys so it can make you better.”
His first coach while playing for Philly Pride? His own mother, Carol Antionette Bennett.
“That was my worst coach,” Jordan said. “She yelled at me too much, I didn’t expect that coming from my mom, she’s usually nice and sweet but not while she’s coaching.”
“I was hard on him because he was my son but more-so I wanted him to be a better player than I was,” Bennett said. “I was hard on everybody but it seemed like more with him because he had to go home with me in the car but that’s what made him the player he is today.”
The thing that sticks out about Bennett is that she is one of the very few female men’s basketball head coaches on the AAU circuit.
“It’s an even playing field really at the end the day,” Bennett said. “But when I look over and the respect that I receive from other teammates, other organizations, and still to this day, even though I have been a coach for the last three four years, that respect has always been there and for me, I loved the game and it’s taken myself and my son a lot of places.”
During his junior year at Conwell-Egan, Jordan alongside McCray-Pace and current Holy Family big man Vinny Dalessandro, led the Eagles to their first PIAA State championship in school history.
Once his senior year was about to begin, Jordan made a decision to transfer to Advanced Prep International (API) down in Dallas.
Jordan went from being the top guy at Conwell-Egan, to being a backup point guard to Trevon Duval (Duke & Milwaukee Bucks). Alongside Duval, API had players such as Terrance Ferguson (Oklahoma City Thunder), Billy Preston (Cleveland Cavaliers), Mark Vital (Baylor), and Nysier Brooks (Cincinnati).
While at API, Jordan signed his letter of intent to play for Kevin Baggett at Rider, a school that offered him while he was still at Egan, and the Broncs have been reaping the benefits ever since.
Once again, Jordan was named the starting point guard as a freshman where he was named to the All-MAAC rookie team as he averaged 11.7 ppg and 5.6 apg.
His sophomore season would show improvement though as he increased his ppg to 12.6 and his apg to 5.9 as he would help lead Rider to a MAAC regular season title and an NIT appearance. His two impressive seasons led him to being named to the preseason All-MAAC first team for the 2018-19 season.
Expectations are sky-high for the 5-foot-10 guard as the Broncs bring back every rotation player from last season minus one (Kealen Washington-Ives), plus they add what looks to be like three new rotational players as Minnesota transfer Ahmad Gilbert and FIU transfer Kimar Williams are eligible to play after sitting out last season. Freshman big man Ajiri Ogemuno-Johnson (Bonner-Prendie) also comes in as the backup behind junior center Tyere Marshall. Freshman Tyrel Bladen (Coatesville) and sophomore Tyrei Randall did not appear in the Broncs exhibition game against West Chester on Nov. 2 so it’s unclear if they’ll be redshirted.
Nonetheless, with the defending MAAC regular season champion Broncs bringing back all five starters from last season, it’s no surprise to see them picked to win the MAAC almost everywhere, and Jordan wants to make that a reality.
“It gives us a lot of confidence,” Jordan said. “We already know how we play and adding the two transfers and some freshmen are going to make us more deadly.”
When Jordan isn’t climbing up school all-time assist leaderboards (10th all-time with 343), or earning All-MAAC honors, Jordan spends his time down in Atlanta, taking part in the world of reality TV, thanks to his father.
Jordan’s father is Stevie Jordan Sr, better known as Stevie J.
Before he would become a reality TV star, Jordan Sr. was known as a Grammy-Award winning Hip-Hop producer for P. Diddy‘s Bad Boy Records back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. He would produce songs for household names such as Mariah Carey, Beyonce, LL Cool J, Boyz II Men, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, and most notably, the late Notorious B.I.G.
In 2012, Jordan’s career received a second wind as producers from the popular VH1 reality show “Love & Hip Hop” would create a spin-off focusing on popular musical acts that reside in the Atlanta-area. Jordan was one of the cast members.
The show was an absolute hit and producers at VH1 began to take notice and decided that they wanted to make two spin-off’s of “Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta” that involved Jordan Sr. “Stevie J & Joseline: Go Hollywood”, and “Leave it to Stevie” would also air on VH1. This is where Jordan Jr. would make his television debut.
“He wants to act and he wants to model,” Jordan Sr. said. “And he said ‘Yo dad I want to do this and want to do that’ so he basically put himself on the show so it’s cool.”
While the college basketball world is beginning to take notice of Jordan Jr.’s talents at Rider, so are some former and big name players who have made an impact in the NBA.
“Baron Davis, Russell Westbrook, I know all these dudes and they always talk about Stevie and how nice he is on the court,” Jordan Sr. said. “I’m just happy he’s staying out of trouble and doing something constructive.”
With his mother by his side for basketball, and his father by his side for television, Jordan is extremely lucky that has a strong foundation for whatever road he chooses to go down once his career at Rider comes to an end.
Whether it’s making the NCAA Tournament, or scoring an acting role in television or film, leading his team to victory, or landing a modeling gig with a major company, Jordan’s attitude for both ventures stays the same as he tries to balance his two different lifestyles.
“It takes a lot,” Jordan Jr. said. “You got to balance it out because you still have to work on your game and you still want to be on TV.”
“It takes hard work and dedication.”