Sometimes being picked on by an older sibling has its benefits. Jordan Ash, a top recruit for the 2015 class, took a few lumps from his older brother Jimmie when he was younger and those same lessons are now paying dividends for the guard.
The 6-foot-1 Ash routinely drove and found contact to make his way to the free throw line over the weekend at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam All Star Classic at Spiece Fieldhouse. It's an aggressive nature that took form from the typical younger sibling torment.
“I played my brother and his friends a lot when I was young, and they beat up on me, so I'm used to the contact,” Ash said. “Yea, you know, they picked on me.”
Ash becoming used to taking some hits on the way to the hoop from Jimmie, now 22, has helped him earn plenty of recognition from colleges.
He currently has taken multiple unofficial visits, including Indiana and Purdue, and has scholarship offers to play for the Boilermakers, Northwestern and DePaul.
“I don't want to take favorites because I have a long way to go in my recruitment,” Ash said Saturday. “But Purdue, they've been there since the beginning, so that's a team I'm going to keep in mind. … I like their staff (at Indiana) as well. I like the way they run their program and they had a great year this year.”
The fact both Purdue and Indiana's coaching staffs have told Ash “what I need to hear” versus what he wants to hear as also appealed to him. This style of recruitment fits with his own personality, as he continually mentioned a need to improve instead of being satisfied over the weekend.
“I have a lot but I have a long way to go as well,” he said. “I have a lot but I can gain a lot and my coaches stay on me, my parents and my brother and just pretty much my support group, they make sure I stay grounded and am always trying to get better.”
For now, trying to improve means focusing on every part of his game. Ash said he wants to improve his ball handling, shooting and using his weak hand just to start. It's a list that shows a player not wanting to settle into a specialist role.
This is especially evident in his mindset.
During his high school season, Ash said his shot improved drastically because he fell in love with taking 3-pointers, but that he wants to make sure he doesn't utilize just one aspect of his game.
“I can go to the basket and use my midrange (shot) to get to the line and once the defense sags off, then I can shoot the three,” Ash said. “That's how I kind of think about it in the game.”
His mindset goes beyond just thinking critically about the basketball side of the game as well. He has developed toughness from those games with Jimmie, as he said he played on a sprained ankle Saturday afternoon and always looks to be the aggressive player.
“I'm a pretty strong guy, so you know, when I go in I like to initiate contact instead of trying to wait for it,” he said. “It's just all about getting up after.”
And if Ash ever doesn't want to, his older brother is always there to play a few more games.