The sound of the ball bouncing of the floor and the swish of the net interrupts the quiet slumber of the JAM Center. While the rest of the world is in bed or out and about, Jordan Schakel is keeping the gym company in his quest to get better.
You will not see Schakel posting his workouts on social media. Or taking selfies in the gym. Schakel is dedicated to getting better as a player and it should be no surprise if you know how much of a hard worker he is. At Bishop Montgomery High School Schakel was a standout on and off the court. In high school he was a three-star prospect for the Knights, helping the team win a state title, including a wild performance in the semi-finals. Off the court he graduated with a 4.2 GPA from high school.
Before arriving on the Mesa we had asked Schakel how he planned to continue being successful in the classroom and on the court and he mentioned that he was going to make sure he prioritized his time well. Upon getting to San Diego State he has worked to find success on and off the court. He was one of two players on the men’s basketball roster (Kameron Rooks was the other) who was awarded Mountain West All Academic status during the spring semester. On the court he played in every game and averaged 13.8 minutes per contest. A cerebral player, Schakel only committed nine turnovers in 455 minutes.
Coming into his freshman year the expectations were somewhat low for the Schakel as he joined a senior-laden team However, he quickly won over fans and the coaching staff with his headiness and hustle on the court. Schakel was quick to do what was needed to win games and when he did show off his offensive repertoire he displayed a quick, deadly stroke from behind the three-point range. As the season wore on his minutes increased and his role on the team expanded. After an unassuming 3.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, fans knew that he would make a major jump the upcoming season.
It has just been two games, but already Schakel is averaging 11.5 points per game on 40% shooting, including 57% from three-point range. He is a perfect 11-11 from the line and has quietly having an impact on the boards as he is averaging six per contest in his first two games. The thing with Schakel is that his stock is rising at a rate that seemed improbable just one year ago. He is going to get better and while you think he will be better next year, his growth is going to happen sooner than that. I would not be surprised if we are talking more Schakel come conference play.
Kawhi Leonard is the standard when we talk San Diego State basketball. A tireless worker, Leonard made himself into the player he is today by working hard behind a desire to be great. Many players love to be great, but they do not love the work that is needed to be great. Schakel has shown that he wants to be great and honestly I have an entirely new outlook on him. While it is early, we are seeing a ton of potential.
Schakel is an awesome young man. He has embraced being an Aztec since the day he arrived at campus and immersed himself in campus life. You can find him at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium on Saturdays supporting the football team or hanging with recruits, showing them all that San Diego State has to offer. Or he is at Love Library working on his school work, ducking off to the JAM Center when his homework is done. Schakel is an Aztec in every sense of the word and the sky is the limit to a young man who has the drive to be great.