Most notable in a Strawberry highlight package is the quiet and controlled style of his play. He’s not wasting time with needless crossovers or reckless in-the-air passes. Doesn’t appear he’s targeting the spectacular each time he makes his way down the court. If anything, the beauty to his game is in it’s simplicity. No doubt Strawberry is a high caliber athlete and possesses the aptitude for the amazing, but the core of his game is sound fundamentals and a clear acceptance of his role. Strawberry makes use of a high velocity chest pass and pinpoint accuracy in consistently setting up scorers in an advantageous position. 4-5 minutes into his highlight mix (below) and you begin to see a pattern. The Strawberry pass is so on-point it often appears an element of the recipients natural shooting motion. Reinhardt and Stanley Johnson from the outside, and Xavier Johnson in and around the paint, are repeatedly fed the ball on cue and in the ideal spot to take advantage of an open look. The efficient Point play set the table for a ’11-’12 Mater Dei State title and an average of almost 78 points per game. Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson have left for the NCAA, and Jordan Strawberry stands poised to assume a much larger role in ’12’-’13.
What remains to be seen is how Strawberry reacts to the increased pressure and responsibility headed his way given the graduation of 2 of last season’s “Big 3”. Gone from last season’s 78 points a game are the 36.7 contributed by Reinhardt and X Johnson. There will be an increased need for Strawberry to prove a consistent and effective scorer. In his junior campaign #34 averaged 6.3pts and 5.6 assists. Not eye-popping, but exactly what Mater Dei needed. Most encouraging are the FG (.530), 3-Pt (.400), and Free Throw (.868). Each reinforces the notion Strawberry is capable of dialing up his statistical impact and assuming a more “in the spotlight” role for the Monarchs. He’ll need to prove capable of doing so under increased defensive pressure as last season much of the oppositions focus was trained away from Strawberry. Although I don’t expect a repeat of the ’11-’12 (34-2) performance, I do expect a noticeable upswing in Strawberry’s overall game and statistical impact. 13-15pts and 6.5-7.0 assists per game are well within reason and would thrust #34 squarely into the ’13 recruiting conversation.
Not much could have gone better for the ’11-’12 Mater Dei Monarchs. The school’s been a consistent West Coast power and more of the same is expected. Jordan Strawberry has an opportunity to write his name in the Mater Dei annals and propel his recruit stock to the next level. Physical attributes abound, feel for the game is apparent, what remains in question is the impact increased time in the spotlight has on the play and mindset of the ’13 Point Guard. Infamous albeit quotable, Napoleon Bonaparte once pronounced “Ability is nothing without opportunity.” No doubt the ability has long been present in the game of Mr. Strawberry. Opportunity no doubt awaits center stage. Time to shine.