Photo via Jordan Geronimo on Instagram

IU Basketball: Allure of Indiana Had Hoosiers in Pole Position with Jordan Geronimo

It wasn’t by chance that Jordan Geronimo’s first college official visit was to Indiana.

He knew it might be the only one.

“Indiana was my first official visit for a reason,” Geronimo told the Daily Hoosier.  “I knew of Indiana’s reputation and that they played in a great league in the Big Ten, and also that Indiana was a basketball state and a basketball heavy school.”

“So I had a feeling that there was a chance that I could commit after the visit.”

Geronimo was hosted on his IU visit by freshman guard Armaan Franklin, and “spent a whole bunch of time with Race Thompson and Rob Phinisee.”

But there was one person he kept bumping into in Bloomington that he wasn’t expecting to see.

And it made an impact.

“Actually Romeo Langford was there for a lot of the time,” Geronimo said.  “I was surprised to see him a whole bunch of times but I saw him.  I played some video games with him.  It was kind of fun.”

Langford advised Geronimo that Indiana was a place that could get the New Hampshire product to the next level.

“He was talking about how I should trust Indiana and trust the coaches, because that’s what he did and look at him now, he’s a first round NBA lottery pick.  He’s going to do big things in the future.  I believe that.”

Playing for the Mass Rivals AAU team on the Adidas circuit, Geronimo is aware of another Indiana to the NBA story.

Noah Vonleh played for Mass Rivals and also played high school basketball in New Hampshire.

Geronimo finds inspiration in Vonleh’s path.

“He (Vonleh) was like this name that lingered in Mass Rivals conversations as this person who came here and did his thing and now he’s in the big league.”

“The post that Mass Rivals put on Instagram where it had two pictures side by side of me and Noah Vonleh going from high school to Indiana, that gave me some fire to work hard to do the things that he’s doing right now.”

While Geronimo hopes to one day land in the NBA with Langford and Vonleh, that is something that wasn’t really on the radar until very recently.

Until this spring and summer, the 6-foot-6 forward wasn’t being recruited heavily by high major programs.  Going into his junior year of high school, Geronimo’s only Division One offer was from the University of New Hampshire.

Geronimo believes he took a while to garner attention because his game wasn’t where it needed to be — which was in part a function of not facing the right level of competition.

“I never really played at as high of a level as Mass Rivals, and this year was my first year playing AAU basketball ever,” Geronimo said.  “That whole thing was kind of new to me.”

“I just knew that there were errors in my game that needed to improve, and each time I thought about college I would think if I just work on this I could get noticed, and that was the thing that would keep pushing me forward and working harder to get some publicity.”

Geronimo clearly has the publicity now.  As his game evolved and eyebrows were raised, he ended up with more than 20 offers including several high major programs such as Georgia, Virginia Tech, Texas A&M and Boston College.  He took a recent unofficial visit to Virginia as well.

Most of the attention and offers came in July after an especially impressive stretch of play on the Adidas circuit.

And now his recruitment has ended weeks later — seemingly as quickly as it escalated.

While his game has come a long way in a short time, there are still things that Geronimo wants to improve before arriving in Bloomington next summer.

Via Jordan Geronimo on Instagram

At 6-foot-6 in the Big Ten, Geronimo knows that he will need to be able to play at a high level with the ball.  That’s the first place he went when quizzed on where he plans to focus his energy on improvements over the next year.

“My IQ with the ball in my hands and making plays off ball screens,” Geronimo said.  “If I can be good at that when I get there, I think the sky is the limit for me.”

“I don’t really call myself a good player because I’m really humble and I always talk about the things I need to work on, but I feel like if I was able to get my handle right to get to any spot on the floor where I want to, I will be a dominant player.  That’s something that I know for sure.”

There is at least one aspect of his game that Geronimo believes is college ready now.

Already well built with a 7-foot wingspan, Geronimo takes pride in defense.

“If I were to give myself a title, it would be a defensive player.  I know that when my shot is not falling, and I can’t control the uncontrollable, I can rely on my defense, and that’s something that I think that I can bring to the table when it comes to Indiana (from day one) off the bench.”

Geronimo is enthusiastic about adding to his already impressive frame and becoming an even more big bodied defender.

His conversations with Indiana Director of Athletic Performance Clif Marshall made an impression.

“I’m really excited to go to Indiana because Coach Clif Marshall said he had a plan for me,” Geronimo said.  “I’m excited for that plan.  Once I get my physique up there, that’s the number one step you need to have.  That’s something that I’m charged for.”

As you speak with Geronimo you quickly come to realize that he is charged up about every aspect of his decision to attend IU.

You can hear the enthusiasm in his voice.

There was some of that enthusiasm before he ever arrived in Bloomington, or “B-town” as he said he’s come to know it.

He knew there was a chance that Indiana would be his one and only visit.

And now there is no doubt.

“I’m excited to be a part of the Hoosier family and make a name for myself,”  Geronimo said.  “I’m really excited.”

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