Many athletes dream of being able to represent their countries in their chosen sport. For Prosper’s Jordyn Oliver, that dream has become a reality.
Oliver is an upcoming junior at Prosper High School, and has been playing basketball all her life.
“I started playing (basketball) at 3,” Oliver said. “When I was 5, I was asked to play on a second grade boys’ team.”
She has since competed for a number of teams, including her Amateur Athletic Union team Nike Lady ProSkills, as well as the high school basketball team at Prosper.
As a freshman, she was named to the varsity roster. According to girls’ head coach James Rachal, Oliver made an immediate impact to the team.
“I first met Jordyn in the seventh grade,” Rachal said. “I looked at her at that time, and knew there was something special there. She has started for us since day one of her freshman year.”
In the 2016-2017 season, Oliver helped her team to a second-place finish in district, and was named District 14-5A’s Offensive Player of the Year.
But being on the varsity team wasn’t enough for Oliver. She decided to take her game to the next level.
Last year, Oliver took the chance of a lifetime and tried out for the Women’s National Basketball team.
“I wanted to see what it was about and if I had what it takes to compete at that level,” she said.
Oliver did make it to the last day of the trials, but unfortunately was not selected for the 2016 roster. While some might have hung their heads, she said she used it as motivation.
“I promised myself I would work hard over the next year to not only hear my name called, but to also be an invitee (instead of) an applicant by working on my game,” she said.
Fast-forward to the end of May, and Oliver delivered that promise.
Twelve young women from around the country, including Oliver, were named to the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team, and will be headed to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to compete in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship on June 7-11.
“It’s so surreal,” Oliver said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to represent my country and to also be able to play alongside some of the most talented girls in the country.”
And although it’s only been a couple of weeks since the trials, Oliver says she has already learned from the coaches and players. The team took off on June 4 to compete in the tournament.
As if playing for the national team was enough of an accomplishment for a teenager, Jordyn’s basketball accolades just keep growing. She received and accepted an offer to play college basketball for the former national champions Baylor Bears. She will join the team in the fall of 2019.
“I had a connection with Coach Mulkey instantly,” Oliver said about her visit to Baylor. “I feel like I can grow as a person and a player with the Baylor staff’s leadership and guidance.”
Oliver says she is uncertain about what she wants to pursue in college, but is leaning towards either architecture or sports medicine.
In order to stay sharp in her basketball, Jordyn has a strict weekly schedule that she follows. She said she practices six days a week, including after school team practices, fitness conditioning, skills training, and practice with her AAU team. On top of her basketball, she still has to find time for homework and social life.
“Once I complete my evening activities, I head home, grab a quick meal, ice my legs, finish up any homework and then off to bed to start the process all over again,” Oliver said. “My mom lets me have Friday off to be a kid and hang out with friends.”
Now that school is out, Oliver’s workout regimen only increases, as she will be preparing for the Nike National tournament in July and the upcoming Prosper High season.
With so much on her plate, Oliver attributes her success to her family and coaching staff.
“My parents have helped me tremendously, from taking me to workouts, practice, keeping my schedule, helping me with homework, and feeding me,” said the teen. “I’ve also had the privilege to work with some of the greatest trainers in the Dallas area.”
As Oliver prepares for her upcoming adventures, Rachal is excited to see what is in store for her future.
“She is a special athlete,” he said. “She has abilities on the floor that you only get to coach on rare occasion. … I hope that competing on this level unlocks the potential she has, because as exceptional as I believe she already is, I think this will help her take it to a whole new level.”