Concordia Lutheran’s Jadon Dance adjusting his game for success now and into the future

Senior Jadon Dance participates with Indiana Faith during the GRBA National Championship Tournament on July 26 at SportOne Fieldhouse. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)
Senior Jadon Dance (left) participates with Indiana Faith during the GRBA National Championship Tournament on July 26 at SportOne Fieldhouse. (Photo by Dan Vance of news-sentinel.com)

Concordia Lutheran senior Jadon Dance made significant strides during his final trip around the summer circuit.

No, his Indiana Faith team didn’t compete for national titles. And no, he didn’t find himself bathing in high-profile college offers. Those are the things that make headlines, but they are not a reality for the majority of local kids attempting to make themselves valuable to coaches on the next level.

The added potency of Dance’s game was on display during the GRBA National Tournament during the final weekend of July. Dance played poised, shooting the ball well and getting to the basket with ease most of the way through their opening-game loss to Ohio Hoopsters, who eventually made it to the national title game against Indy Heat. Dance had a chance to win the opening game, but his final shot at the buzzer came up short.

In addition to strides made in getting to the basket stronger than before, Dance’s quality long-wingspan defense was on full display throughout the weekend.

Indiana Faith then won its final two games of pool play before losing to eventual quarterfinalist MBA in the opening round of platinum bracket play.

The tournament did give Dance a quality time to showcase adjustments in his game.

“My ability to drive to the basket and being more than just a spot up shooter or a catch and shoot type of person,” he said of what makes him a threat at the next level.

As the school year gets ready to begin, Dance sits with official offers to Albion College and Iowa Wesleyan and many more coaches who showing interest in the combo guard.

Dance has made strides to alter his game in order to find success in his upcoming senior season and to find a place on the college basketball level. Dance turned his attention away from playing with the usual teammates, instead opting to play with Indiana Faith, which boasts players from Franklin Central and Crispus Attucks, among others.

“They play a lot of competition in Indianapolis, so competition is not new to them, they are constantly at it down there. For me to play with them, it was a cool experience,” Dance said. “They expect me to be on the same level as them so you have to play your hardest.”

Teaming up with Indiana Faith paid dividends in July when Dance received his first official offer from Albion. The college in Albion, Mich., had only two non-Michigan natives on their roster last season, making its reach out to Dance even more interesting. More schools are showing interest, Dance says, but some are waiting to see his SAT scores and some are waiting to see how his GPA develops during his senior year.

The Iowa Wesleyan offer came on July 9.

“It was a relief. I was beginning to think I wasn’t going to be able to get offers based off school ball. Once AAU came, I was like ‘I have to dial in and get to it,’ and once it actually came, it showed that hard work is paying off,” Dance said.

Now that the ice has been broken and a future on the next level is likely more a question of where than if, Dance is keeping his head down and pushing forward. He continues 8 a.m. workouts and some two-a-day workouts to improve his strength and conditioning for a senior season.

Dance played in all 25 of Concordia Lutheran’s games as a junior, averaging 9.7 points while often coming off the bench for the Cadets. But when he did come in, he made a point of picking up the energy and getting the basket, trying to keep the Cadets in pace with other Summit Athletic Conference teams. As a sophomore, he averaged a team-high 25 minutes per game, scoring 8.3 points per contest.

His role change as a junior was part of a strange year at Concordia. The Cadets went 8-17 among constant rumblings of discontent in the program. At year’s end, coach Austin Thoms ended his two-year run as head coach, announcing his resignation immediately after the Cadets fell in the sectional title game.

But there was still that sectional title game. Despite a below-par season, the Cadets reached the title game on the scoring strength of Dance and teammate Adam Gottschalk. In the opening round of sectionals, Dance scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an upset win over Leo. He had 14 points and five assists in the sectional semifinal win over Garrett.

“After that type of year, there was a lot of support from my family. No matter what, just make the best out of it and that is what I had to do,” Dance said “It was my junior year so I had to make it work and help my teammates, who were all good teammates to me. For us to almost win it too, it was a great fight and good to have maintained that focus.”

Things will change again heading into Dance’s senior season. But he will tell you he’s still ready to roll with the punches, turning different obstacles into opportunities.

After Thoms’ resignation, another former Cadet, Phil Brackmann, has stepped in to take over the program after working for the school since 2013. Time will tell what direction Brackmann will take the program, but he will return the program’s top three scorers in Dance, Gottschalk and Pearson.

“I want to have that leadership role and be able to have that trust between me and the coach to be the floor general and showcase not only myself, but the team and put us in a position to win,” Dance said.


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