Guillen led the Railroaders in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocks and charges taken last year on the way to leading Sparks to its first state championship in 70 years.
That left a lot of production to be replaced. The obvious option to do so was Martin Jordan, a starter in his sophomore and junior seasons and second-leading scorer.
Jordan a first team all-state selection a year ago, is doing his best to be the team’s do-it-all guy. He always was a good complement to Guillen’s scoring, standing behind the arc and letting the 3-pointers rain down. Jordan averaged just under 19 points a game in league play last year.
“He was first team all-state last year, so that says it all. He was one of the best players in the 3A,” Sparks co-head coach Mike Jones said.
Jones said the weakest part of Jordan’s game is his defense but has worked extremely hard to improve it. The biggest value Jordan brings to the team is his unselfishness and desire to trust in his teammates.
“Martin is a little different than most star players. He’s not cocky I guess. Maybe it’s his confidence level and he doesn’t feel like he needs to be cocky,” Jones said. “He gives them trust and shows them he will share the ball. He has to play every position. I don’t think there’s a facet of our game that he doesn’t have something major to do with.”
Jones said even though scoring might have meant a lot to Jordan in the past, this year it isn’t as important as the team and he will recognize when opponents are keying on him, so he can get his teammates involved.
“A lot of teams put their best defenders on me and I just look for them (my teammates) more to score because it’s harder for me,” Jordan said. “I have a lot of trust in my team to score and play defense. I do what I can and my teammates step up when they can.”
As one of five seniors, Jordan has stepped up as a team leader.
“He’s been more vocal this year than I have ever seen him. He started asserting his voice when the stuff with Coach Lee transpired,” Jones said. “He really has helped bring the team together vocally. He leads the team in practice everyday in order to keep the energy alive and that was really tough to do over the holidays, but he did a good job.”
Jordan would like to play basketball in college, but he hasn’t made any plans yet. Right now, he’s just focused on trying to lead the Maroon and Gold to a second straight state title and enjoy his final season with his teammates.
“That feeling last year was priceless. To do it two years in a row would be a great feeling, especially to go out like that as a senior would be awesome,” Jordan said. “They’re a really great group of guys. We all know each other really well. We grew up playing together.”