Lure of return to IU basketball was enough for Jordan Hulls to give up playing career

At 32 years old, Jordan Hulls may not be at the pinnacle of playing career.

But he certainly isn’t washed up by any means.

Playing for MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany’s top league, the former IU guard is still averaging double-figure points per game, and still making more than 40 percent of his 3-pointers.

So when the phone rang and his alma mater was on the other end offering a job, the decision wasn’t black and white.

Not right away, anyway.

“I definitely was planning to play for another couple years before this opportunity came up,” Hulls said on the Indiana Sports Beat radio show this week.

Hulls said he was well aware that the game would eventually force him to retire, but he was still playing at a high level and had no plans to walk away anytime soon.

“I’ve been playing well, so for me to hang up the shoes on a higher note, the game isn’t forcing me to retire.”

The opportunity that came up is of course the position Hulls accepted — Team and Recruiting Coordinator under head coach Mike Woodson.

In that role he will work on the front lines in Indiana’s recruiting efforts, scouting and calling prospects, managing visits, and whatever else is needed to put Woodson and the assistant coaches in a position to land recruits.  As his predecessor in the position Brian Walsh showed, done well the job can play a critical role in IU winning recruiting battles.

While retirement was on his mind, the Indiana opportunity is different for Hulls.  He grew up in Bloomington, and his family has ties to the IU basketball program that go back to the early 70s when his grandfather was an assistant under Bob Knight.

Ultimately for Hulls, the realization hit.  He could keep playing for a few more years, but the opportunities waiting for him when that day came might not be quite as appealing as this one.

“I’m choosing to go a different path that I think is better for me and my family,” Hulls said.  “I could play two or three more years, but then and opportunity like this doesn’t exist when I’m done — or I could jump on it now.

“After long talks, and praying about it and going through the pros and cons, this is something that I’d be silly to pass it up.”

The timing of the opportunity also lines up with the program trending in the right direction.  Hulls was with Indiana as the program recovered from NCAA sanctions and ultimately spent much of his senior year ranked No. 1.  He sees another favorable trend now.

“You could definitely see a trend in how the program is going, and for me and my family to be part of that, and be part of a great staff, it’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing, coming back home and doing that,” Hulls said.  “There’s only a few things in the world that would make me retire basketball early, and coming back to be on Indiana’s staff is one of them.”

Hulls operates an AAU program (JH1) and a skills academy, so he isn’t entering the recruiting world blind.

But his focus has been on playing the game since he was a small child, and now he’ll transition to the administrative side.

It is a new endeavor for Hulls, but he plans to do what he’s always done — roll up sleeves and get to work.

“This is an opportunity that we are more than thankful for and I’m going to work my tail off,” Hulls said.  “I’m going to come in and do whatever I need to do to help the program.  I’m really excited to learn from coach Woodson and the rest of the staff.  This is a whole different ballgame for me, but I’m not afraid of the work.”

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