Lake Norman & Mooresville

Hopewell grad gets pre-draft trial with Hornets

Jordan Downing lines up a three-point shot during a workout for the Charlotte Hornets on  June 8. Downing played at Hopewell High School in Huntersville.
Jordan Downing lines up a three-point shot during a workout for the Charlotte Hornets on June 8. Downing played at Hopewell High School in Huntersville. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Jordan Downing’s basketball career didn’t come to an end with the conclusion of Presbyterian’s 2014-2015 season.

Downing, a 2010 Hopewell High graduate, was one of six college players brought in for pre-draft workouts June 8 by the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

Downing, a 6-foot-5 guard, was joined by Michigan State guard/forward Branden Dawson, Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant, Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison, Georgia State guard R.J. Hunter and Wyoming forward Larry Nance Jr.

“It started off kinda slow,” Downing said after the workout, held in front of Hornets coach Steve Clifford and his assistant coaches, and general manager Rich Cho.

“We were just trying to get our bodies loose. That was very important for me, because I was coming off a couple workouts from the weekend. I really wanted to focus on getting my body loose.

“We got going slow, but it picked up. The intensity really picked up, and it turned into a very good workout.”

It was Downing’s first pre-draft workout for an NBA team, and it gave him a chance to show off the skills that made him a two-time all-Big South Conference player in three seasons with the Blue Hose in Clinton, S.C.

“My shooting ability, being a smart basketball player, having the basketball IQ, showing my athleticism,” said Downing. “I also want to show that I can do more things than just shoot. I can play on the defensive end, and also be a good team player.

“I was a little nervous, but after I stretched out and got to meet everybody, the nerves went away. I just wanted to come out here and treat it like another workout. That helped the nerves go away.”

Downing originally was signed by Davidson after completing his high school career, and spent a year with the Wildcats and former Hopewell High teammate De’Mon Brooks.

But after his freshman year, where Downing averaged 3.2 points in 9.1 minutes per game as a reserve, he decided to transfer.

Downing chose Presbyterian, where in three years he led the team in scoring twice – 20.3 points per game as a junior, and 16.6 per game his senior year – and set a school record for 3-pointers made with 214.

It’s those numbers, plus a career 38 percent shooting average from 3-point range, that Downing hopes will get him some attention – if not from NBA teams, then other professional leagues.

“It’s a great starting point,” Downing said. “Being able to start here, kinda where my home city is and where I grew up most of my life, is incredible. Hopefully, if it doesn’t work out here, the word will be out to other teams.

“I always fantasized about this and dreamed about it. Now that it’s manifested itself, I knew it would come, but in a humble way. I knew I had to work for it, but I’m glad it’s here.”

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at bkisercltobs@gmail.com.

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