Duquesne came across Jordan Stevens by accident, really.
Dukes assistant coach Brian Nash was in West Burlington, Iowa, Feb. 26 to scout guard Dinjiyl Walker in Iowa Western Community College’s semifinal matchup against Southeastern Community College. Walker scored 20 points that night, but Stevens scored 34 to lift Southeastern to an 88-71 victory.
Nash penciled Stevens, a 6-foot-1 combo guard, at the top of Duquesne’s junior-college watch list. The two met after the game, and Nash said, “We’ll be in touch.”
Stevens was on the Dukes’ radar and now they were on his. The next night, Stevens, a Columbia, Mo., native, saw Duquesne shock the college basketball world by knocking off No. 10 Saint Louis on the road to snap the Billikens’ 19-game win streak.
Assistant coach Rich Glesmann was in Iowa March 1 for a second look at Stevens. Southeastern lost, but Stevens scored a season-high 38 points on 14-of-24 shooting. Duquesne was sold.
Stevens visited last week and officially committed to Duquesne and coach Jim Ferry Monday night to close the book on the Dukes’ 2014 recruiting class.
Until recently, Stevens held only mid-major offers, the likes of Saint Mary’s, Milwaukee and Quinnipiac, but he also was offered by Oklahoma last week.
Stevens averaged 19.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game as a sophomore and was named an NJCAA first-team All-American. He will have two years of eligibility at Duquesne.
“As an upperclassman, I can’t go in there with a chip on my shoulder,” Stevens said Tuesday. “I have to go in there and set a standard for myself and others around me of what to expect.
“Just like [the coaches] told me what I can expect from them, they’re going to expect me to bring that same effort and leadership that I had here [at Southeastern].”
Stevens is, first and foremost, a scorer. The left-hander averaged 16 shots per game this season and 24.1 points in conference play. He scored more than 30 points seven times in two seasons, including a 41-point performance against Indian Hills as a freshman.
Stevens will fill the shoes of guard Tra’Vaughn White, who announced he would transfer from Duquesne. White, too, was a prolific scorer at the junior-college level, but couldn’t replicate his success in the Atlantic 10 and struggled mightily to defend with his 5-10 frame.
At 6-1, Stevens appears to be a better fit and can match the quickness of Ferry’s up-tempo transition offense.
“I really like how they like to run and get out,” he said.
Stevens is expected to back up junior guard Micah Mason and occasionally point guard Derrick Colter. The coaching staff has high hopes that Stevens and Mason will mesh well if used together — Stevens as the slasher, Mason as the sharpshooter.
Stevens has high hopes for Duquesne, too. His goal in joining the program? “To get to the tournament,” he said, a feat the Dukes have yet to accomplish since 1977.
Stephen J. Nesbitt: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt.