Photo: File Photo
You can tell basketball is still very much a part of Jordann Plummer’s life. She wears her white and black Michael Jordan shoes proudly, with dark blue jeans and a gray, Drake basketball hoodie as she watches from the “family” section in the Knapp Center stands.
On this afternoon, the Drake women’s basketball team is taking on its biggest rival, Creighton, and celebrating senior night for its two seniors: Ellie Ritscher and Kristin Turk.
Of course, the scene is all too familiar for Plummer, who constantly gets up from her seat to cheer on her former teammates. Plummer graduated last year, and she knows how much beating Creighton means to Drake.
As the game comes to an end, the crowd gets on its feet. Drake has just finished a 65-54 defensive thumping of Creighton, easily its best win of the season. Plummer claps and cheers as she climbs down the stands to congratulate the team.
Assistant coach Todd Voss comes and gives Plummer a big hug. An usher then approaches Plummer and says hello. Not long after, a couple of fans from the stands approach her. This is definitely still Plummer’s home.
She is a Drake celebrity, if you will. She was the heart and soul of Drake women’s basketball throughout her five-year career; an all-conference performer with an even better sense of humor. While the people in the stands and on the court begin to clear out, Plummer continues to soak in everything that is no longer part of her everyday life.
The St. Louis native walks with confidence; she has a little strut in her step and a little swagger in her voice. She constantly laughs and isn’t afraid to joke around.
After she graduated with a degree in marketing and management, Plummer did not go play overseas like she had planned. Plummer was supposed to play for a professional team in Poland.
“I just had a situation that didn’t fall through all the way with Poland,” Plummer said. “They didn’t have enough money and all of that stuff didn’t fall through, and it didn’t work out.”
Instead, Plummer directed her attention to something that she had been planning on pursuing in the future: coaching.
Throughout the summer following her graduation year, Plummer coached Amateur Athletic Union ball in Des Moines for Kingdom Hoops. Once the school year started in August, she received a coaching offer from Normandy Senior High School head coach Preston Thomas to help with the team in St. Louis.
“When I moved back to town back in August, the new [Normandy] head coach Preston Thomas approached me and asked me if I’d be interesting in coaching, and I said sure,” Plummer said.
Plummer is now an assistant coach for the women’s varsity squad at Normandy. She is in charge of scheduling, in-game substitutions and running practice if the head coach is missing. The whole experience has been valuable to Plummer.
“I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else; you gotta learn somehow,” Plummer said. “When you’re winning it’s good, and when you’re losing you look back at what you can do differently next year.”
Surely, being at Drake for five years and being coached by Amy Stephens taught her a lot about basketball.
Plummer laughs when reflecting upon how her coaching style came about.
“I dabble a little here and there and I have a little coach Stephens (influence),” Plummer said. “I’ve been under her for five years; I can’t shake anything that she’s taught me. I incorporate a lot of the Bulldog drills slowly into practice”
As Plummer continues to mature and grow as a coach and as a person, she still admits to missing Drake and missing her teammates.
“I miss college. I miss the whole experience, the good and the bad,” Plummer said. “It’s the best time of your life; coach Stephens told me that my freshman year. All the road trips, my teammates on campus whenever we saw each other walking around; it’s my freaking family.”
Now that she has been able to have the coaching experience for more than a year, Plummer is considering other options in the near future. Plummer wants to become a graduate assistant coach for Bradley so she could earn a master’s degree.
“Within the next year I want to get my master’s in business,” Plummer said, “before I am 30 and going back to school.”
Plummer still plays ball in a women’s recreational league near where she lives.
“You can put up whatever numbers you want and make you look good,” Plummer said. “I‘m excited; I want a trophy or something.”
Season at a glance:
If there was one word to describe Drake’s 2010-11 season it would have to be inconsistency. The Bulldogs showed flashes of a team that could hang with anyone in the Valley, but also showed the vulnerability of a young squad. Still, Drake managed a 15-15 record and finished sixth in the MVC at 9-9. The season ended with a loss to Missouri State in the quarterfinals of the State Farm MVC Tournament.
Top scorer: Kristin Turk, 20 points per game (1st in MVC)
Top rebounder: Rachael Hackbarth, 8.1 rebounds per game (3rd in MVC)
Top passer: Turk, 3.1 assists per game
Top defenders: Turk, 2.7 steals per game (1st in MVC) and Hackbarth,
0.9 blocks per game