Indiana fans have a relatively easy time keeping up on the two in-state members of the 2020 recruiting class.
Meanwhile, 1,000 miles away in Concord, New Hampshire, Jordan Geronimo continues to put his name on the map. And his rapid development into an elite basketball player can be seen even over the course of his senior season at St. Paul’s School.
Both his team and Geronimo got off to a slow start out of the gate, but a corner has been turned.
For the 6-foot-6 Geronimo, things started to change when he realized that he could help his team more by becoming more assertive.
“We actually needed him to take over more games,” St. Paul’s head coach Max Gordon told The Daily Hoosier.
Early on Geronimo was trying to get everyone involved and be a great teammate. And St. Paul’s was losing. Now Geronimo is looking to be more impactful offensively, but the St. Paul’s wing isn’t just hunting shots.
“He is scoring efficiently. He is getting himself to the free throw line and he is shooting the ball well, Gordon said.
“He was averaging around 15 points a game early in the season, but it has been more like 23, 24 a game after Christmas.”
On the season Geronimo is averaging 19 points per game along with 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals and 2 assists per contest. He is shooting 47 percent from the field overall including 30 percent from three-point range. Geronimo is converting at a 72 percent rate at the free throw line.
It wasn’t just Gordon’s urging that helped transform Geronimo’s game this season. Indiana assistant coach Mike Roberts visited the class of 2020 signee and offered advice on how Geronimo can better impact games.
“He (Roberts) said told Jordan that he should get ten points a game just in transition and from offensive rebounds, and he has been rebounding the ball on the offensive glass so well this year,” Gordon said.
As the focal point of opposing defenses, Roberts’ advice was a good reminder for Geronimo that there are many ways to impact games.
“The help defense is very aware when he has the ball in his hands,” Gordon said.
But even in the half court, when everyone on the defense has one eye on the St. Paul’s star, Geronimo has grown over the course of the season.
St. Paul’s runs a four-out half court offense with Geronimo being one of the players on the perimeter. Gordon has seen significant growth when Geronimo has the ball in his hands and is looking to attack off of the bounce.
“What he’s doing better than ever, he puts the ball on the floor he’s taking care of it so much better, he’s reading defenses so much better,” Gordon said. “His turnovers have gone down because the game is slowing down for him.”
Geronimo’s growth was perhaps best on display when St. Paul’s faced their toughest opponent of the season, Brewster Academy. That’s a team with at least half a dozen Division One players including former IU recruiting targets Terrence Clarke and Matthew Cross.
“He was every bit as good as good as anyone else on that (Brewster) team,” Gordon said. “Terrence Clarke is a great player with a lot of notoriety, and I thought Jordan was hanging with him the entire game.”
Whether it is Brewster or other loaded opponents like Kimball Union, Tilton, or Vermont Academy, Geronimo “has been a star out there” when the lights get brighter according to Gordon.
Over the last three weeks, St. Paul’s has won four of five games, and Geronimo’s elevated level of play has been a big reason why.
In his nine games after the school’s Christmas break, Geronimo has made 65 percent of his two-point shots and 33 percent from long range while taking on a much more significant scoring load. In his first six games he made 46 percent of his two-pointers and just 22 percent from distance.
According to Gordon, the in season progress can be in large part attributed to a set of intangibles that makes Geronimo special.
“He is a big time competitor, and he wants to win every game, every drill in practice, Gordon said.
“If he starts off a game not playing as well as he can, or if the team starts off the game not playing as well as they can, he is able to turn it on. He’s shown a lot of maturity and leadership this year to get himself fired up and just start taking over games when the team has needed it.”
Geronimo hasn’t been afraid to take on a leadership role either, and that has helped his team dig out of the early season rut.
“He’s also shown that maturity to get other guys fired up too,” Gordon said. “What he’s done better this year than ever is if we’re not playing as well as we can, he will get on guys in an appropriate way, and he’ll keep us positive. I’ve seen a lot of good stuff from him as a leader this year.
“He kept the team positive and kept himself positive through some early losses in January and I think that resulted in winning four out of the last five. A lot of that can be attributed to his play and leadership.”
As St. Paul’s hits the home stretch of their season, Geronimo will soon be turning his attention westward towards Bloomington. Freshmen typically arrive on campus in early June.
When Geronimo starts working with the IU staff, Gordon believes his star player’s intangibles will really stand out.
“He doesn’t get a ton of credit for how smart of a basketball player he is,” Gordon said. “That’s going to pay dividends next year to make the transition smoother. He watches more film than anybody on the team. This kid wants to be great and he puts in the work on and off the court.
“From a basketball IQ perspective and just from a work ethic and coachability perspective, I think that’s going to endear him to the coaches right away because he’s got a motor, he’s got the hunger, he’s got the desire to be great.”
How will Geronimo make an impact on the floor as a true freshman?
“He’s going to be able to help on the glass right away, he’s going to be able to help with his athleticism in transition,” Gordon said.
Geronimo was an under-the-radar recruit that seems to underestimate his potential some. That might explain the more passive start to his senior season.
But that humility has led to major growth over the last few years. Geronimo believes that he still has much to prove, and that should help to fuel him at the next level too.
“He wants to be coached, “Gordon said. “He wants to be pushed. There is no bone in his body that feels like he is big time right now. I know he is going to go there (Indiana) and work to be the best he can be.”
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