Adonis Jordan phoned basketball coaches Roy Williams of Kansas and Bobby Braswell of Cal State Northridge this week to give pep talks in preparation for Friday's NCAA tournament opener between the schools in Dayton, Ohio.
Jordan's allegiances are torn. He played for Braswell at Cleveland High in Reseda, then helped Kansas make two Final Four appearances under Williams.
"I told Coach Williams to tell the Kansas guys to take it one game at a time," Jordan said. "I told Coach Braswell to tell the Northridge guys this is a big opportunity for them. It was different advice for both. I just hope everyone plays well."
Jordan, who plays professional basketball in Giessen, Germany, will be rooting slightly harder for Northridge because he has been tutoring Matador point guard Markus Carr for three summers.
"It would be nice if it's a tie game and Markus hits the jump shot for the win," Jordan said. "Kansas is going to be [in the NCAA tournament] every year. Who knows with Northridge? It would be great if Northridge got a win or two and became a Cinderella team. If Gonzaga and others could do it, why not Northridge?"
Jordan, 29, played on Braswell's last Cleveland team in 1989. Williams sold him on the Kansas program and he became a standout point guard for the Jayhawks, playing in the 1991 NCAA championship game.
"Both coaches played a big part in my career," he said. "I'm very excited. I think it's going to be a good game. Northridge is very disciplined and I know they're going to come in with a good game plan. If they can slow it up and make Kansas work for everything, it should be interesting."
It will be close to 2 a.m. in Germany when the game starts. Jordan doesn't know if he'll be able to watch it on television.
"I've already talked to my mom and told her to get the VCR set," he said. "If [I can't watch it], I'll see it when I get back."
Carr has become Jordan's protege of sorts. The two spend hours working out during the Valley's hot summers.
"I try to give him my experiences on the Final Four and playing in the tournament," Jordan said. "He's always asking questions what it was like. All the hard work through the summer is paying off.
"The one thing I like about him is he works hard and wants to get better. From day one, he's done everything I asked him to do. We've developed a great friendship over the last three years and I'm very proud of him."
Jordan first called Braswell on Sunday morning, not knowing Kansas would be the Matadors' opening-round draw.
Whatever happens, he's thrilled for Braswell.
"I'm so excited for him," Jordan said. "He hasn't had the most talented players and they have achieved so much."