Pictured above Michael Jordan

(10-30-22) Transfers of high school athletes continue to rise faster the sun on a Monday morning. There are many reasons for why this continues to grow…state associations are closing their eyes to the rules in the by-laws, parents want their kids to get a D1 scholarship, a player is demoted with time on the court, parents don’t get along with the coach, want better competition, etc.

In Illinois this year alone boys high school basketball transfers are spreading across the state like poison ivy.

Courtesy Nesto Hoops

In 1978 a Sophomore at Laney High School in Wilmington, NC named Michael Jordan was demoted to the Junior Varsity team.

Jordan was not happy at the time…but would say later that he felt “embarrassed” by not making the team with there being players that he felt he out-performed. On the JV team he had several 40 point games that season. Jordan didn’t give up or transfer to another school he would regularly show up to the Laney school gym before classes to practice. He would go on to hit a growth spurt, from 5’10 to 6’7, and make the varsity team his final two years in high school.

In a interview with Sports Illustrated, Laney Basketball Coach Clifton “Pop” Herring (pictured on the left) gives an explanation for his actions –

There was no doubt that Mike Jordan could handle the ball, but his shooting was merely good and his defense mediocre. Mike Jordan was seven or eight inches shorter than Michael Jordan would be, only 5’10″ at age 15, and at least one assistant coach had never heard of him before that day. If Jordan distinguished himself at all during the tryout, it was through his supreme effort.

The Laney Bucs did have one major weakness, and that was size. They didn’t have a returning player taller than 6’3″. In those days it was rare for sophomores to make varsity. Herring made one exception in 1978, one designed to remedy his team’s height disadvantage. This is part of the reason Mike Jordan went home and cried in his room after reading the two lists. It wasn’t just that his name was missing from the varsity roster. It was also that as he scanned the list he saw the name of another sophomore, one of his close friends, the 6’7″ Leroy Smith.

In a tribute to his high school coach Michael Jordan said (12-19-19) in a statement to the StarNews.

“I’m so saddened to hear of Pop’s passing . I wouldn’t have been the basketball player I was or the man I am without Pop Herring pushing me to be my best. My condolences to his family.”

According to interbasket.com during Jordan’s senior year at Laney High School, he would average a triple double. Stats for his Senior year were 26.8 points per game, 11.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists. He would also be selected to the McDonald’s All-American Team after this performance during the season.

RARE FOOTAGE of Michael Jordan in High School

Although he led his team to the overall #1 state ranking in North Carolina that season, his Laney team would lose the conference championship to New Hanover 56-52.

Michael Jordan: Before the Legend

StarNewsOnline You Tube Video

Jordan after his demotion would work hard for the opportunity…despite a great JV season he never played in a varsity game that season. But one of the greatest basketball players of our time proved that what appears to be a failure is just the shaping of a future super-star. A lesson that can benefit many current high school basketball players.

Michael Jordan didn’t transfer schools…he still became a super-star.