Nov. 14, 2011
A native of Orono, Minn., Jordan Smith was a member of the Orono basketball team for six seasons, beginning his varsity career as a seventh-grader. By the time his playing days ended, Smith would end up as the school's all-time leading scorer. A teammate of former Badger Jon Leuer, Smith had a chance to play in college at the mid-major level, but opted to be a walk-on at Wisconsin instead.
TV: Breaking Bad, The Fairly OddParents and Rocket Power
Music: Blink 182 and B.O.B.
Pro Sports Teams: The Minnesota Vikings, Minnesota Twins and Miami Heat
Who else recruited you and why did you ultimately choose Wisconsin?
I was recruited by St. Louis, Pepperdine and a couple other mid-majors. I chose Wisconsin because of the guys, the coaches, the tradition, everything.
Why turn down a scholarship offer to take a walk-on spot?
It was the guys. I already knew four or five of the guys coming in. I talked to my parents about it and, once you take money out of it, it's a no-brainer.
What was your first unofficial visit like?
I think it was me and a bunch of my AAU teammates. We came down and went to a football game and watched some workouts and stuff. It was good to see all the facilities and everything.
When did you first meet your fellow freshmen and when did you get to know them?
At the start of the summer we came in for our physicals, and it was a little weird at first. I had never met any of the other guys before, but once we started working out in midsummer it was good.
What's the strongest part of your game?
What do you most want to work on?
Ball-handling, I need to work on my ball-handling.
What's your go-to shot in H-O-R-S-E?
I have to go with baseline, behind the backboard, over the backboard.
What if your first sports memory (both playing and watching sports)?
In sixth grade, we were down by two with three seconds left in a championship game at a tournament. I hit a three to win it. That was a pretty significant moment.
My first sports memory was at a Vikings game in 1998. They were down by one and had the chance for a field goal to win it from like 20 yards, and the guy blew it. Gary Anderson missed his first field goal.
You and Jon Leuer are 4 years apart, were you teammates then?
For two years, in seventh and eighth grade. In seventh grade, I didn't have a whole lot of a role, mostly filling in during practice. In eighth grade I came off the bench and played some real minutes. It was a good experience. It was good to just see the level he played at at a young age to get used to that.
What is the legend of Jon Leuer like in Orono?
We joke about naming the court, the Jon Leuer Court. He is a bit of a legend back home.
How were you treated as a 7th grader playing at the high school?
I was treated really well, which was surprising. It was good, though it was a learning experience. You understand how people feel. Coming in right now as a freshman you have to earn playing time, and I had to do that in high school too. It was a while ago, but it's nothing I'm not used to.
Your Dad played football at the University of Minnesota. Were you a Gopher fan growing up? How does he feel about you being a Badger?
I was. I was a Gopher fan. Not anymore. I'm a Badger fan now.
You are Orono's all-time leading scorer with over 2,500 points. Are they going to retire your jersey? Anything there to honor your career/record?
I don't know about the jersey, but they have a couple of balls in their trophy cases. I have one ball at my house just to go along with my over-2,500 point things.
Academics are important to you. What do you plan on studying?
I want to study finance. It was kind of a culture shock, the first couple of classes and midterms. It's harder than I thought it was going to be. It's still important to me. I think it's another reason why I came here, is because Wisconsin is well-known for all of its academics.