Archdeacon: Sibert not ready for life after basketball

The Red Scare's Jordan Sibert reacts after his game-ending 3-pointer against the Golden Eagles in The Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

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The Red Scare's Jordan Sibert reacts after his game-ending 3-pointer against the Golden Eagles in The Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, at UD Arena. David Jablonski/Staff

Former Flyer hits pair of game-winning shots for Red Scare in TBT

With games like the one he had Tuesday night, it’s going to be while until Jordan Sibert has to take his own advice.

Some 15 months ago, the celebrated former Dayton Flyers basketball player who’s now eight years into a pro career, launched a company called Dynamic Missions, which helps athletes better transition into life when the they realize their playing days are about done.

“As athletes, we pound our body in the gym and in the weight room, but it helps to focus on the mental side of it after basketball,” he said. “There were times where I thought about what happens when I can’t play anymore. And I’ve had teammates who didn’t know what else to do afterward. They had no idea what was next.

“I have a degree in communications and I’m a certified life coach. I figured I could help.”

ExploreTBT quarterfinals begin Thursday at UD Arena

He now assists pro and college athletes and he speaks at high schools, too.

Last August, the University of Dayton announced it was partnering with his Cincinnati-based consulting firm.

At the time, UD Athletics Director Neil Sullivan said: “Jordan epitomizes what it is to be a Flyer on so many levels.”

And yet it’s the role folks around here know him for best – as a final-seconds, hardcourt hero – that he played to the hilt with the Red Scare this week in the first two games of The Basketball Tournament at UD Arena.

He’s made it clear that his most dynamic mission still is being played out on the court in dramatic fashion.

He hoisted the game-winning shots in both of Red Scare’s first two victories.

First came a two-point putback from short range Sunday to lift his team of mostly former Dayton Flyers players to a 75-70 victory over Cititeam.

Then, in more demonstrative fashion Tuesday night, he hit a no-hesitation three pointer to knock out the Golden Eagles, a highly-touted team of mostly Marquette alums.

Back during his UD days, Sibert made a name for himself as a bone-fide buzzer beater.

In his very first game as a Flyer in 2013 – after transferring in following two personally-disappointing seasons at Ohio State – he hit a three pointer to edge IPFW (Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne).

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Elam Ending highlights: Red Scare beats Golden Eagles on Sibert 3 on July 26, 2022, in the second round of The Basketball Tournament.

Later that season he hit a crucial three in the final minute of an NCAA Tournament match-up against Syracuse to propel the Flyers into their first Sweet Sixteen in 30 years. The next game he then led Dayton over Stanford and into the Elite Eight.

The following season, as senior year, he made a three pointer with one second left to stun Boise State in the First Four at UD Arena.

It was in similar fashion that he’s carried the Red Scare into Wednesday night’s third round game against The Money Team, the Dayton bracket’s top-seeded team that is backed by boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and features a pair of NBA veterans in high-scorer Jimmer Fredette and 6-foot-8 Trevor Booker, who played in 548 games over eight years in the league.

And yet no one has been more dynamic here than Sibert.

“Truthfully I’m blessed to play in front of the Dayton fans and hit the game-winner,” said the 6-foot-2 guard who was in the NBA’s G- League last season, had stints in Germany and Greece, has been with two NBA teams, Orlando and Atlanta, and played one a regular season with the Hawks in 2019.

“It’s feels amazing to be the player I was at 21 and still be that player at 29,” he said.

But early in the fourth quarter Tuesday, you wondered if that was still the case.

He had had an 11-point scoring burst in the middle of the third quarter that had lifted the Red Scare to a seven-point lead after they had trailed by 10 late in the first quarter.

But then early in the final quarter he was nowhere to be seen – not on the floor or even the bench.

Turns out he was back in the mouth of the Arena, “stretching” he said.

ExplorePHOTOS: Red Scare advances to third round of TBT

Assistant coach Jeremiah Bonsu finally went looking for him and soon Sibert was back on the court.

And that set the stage for the game winner.

The target score – per the Elam Ending rules of the TBT -- was 61.

The Red Scare had 59 and only needed a two pointer when point guard Scoochie Smith started to drive into the lane and was met by defenders.

That’s when he spotted Sibert, who was set up deep on the wing in front of the UD bench.

Sibert grabbed the pass and used a pump fake to get his Golden Eagles’ defender, Darius Johnson Odom, lurching to his right. Then with a step the other way, he hoisted his shot.

“I think I was screaming, ‘No! No! No!” but that’s bad coaching because that’s Jordan Sibert,” Bonsu laughed. “He hits clutch threes!”

Scoochie Smith wasn’t worried: “I knew that was cash!”

A different player at Dayton

Coming out of Princeton High School in Cincinnati, Sibert was Ohio’s Gatorade Plyer of the Year.

Recruited to Ohio State by Archie Miller, then an assistant on Thad Matta’s staff, Sibert was part of a heralded incoming class that included Jared Sullinger, Aaron Craft and JD Weatherspoon.

But once at OSU, Sibert struggled.

As a freshman he shot poorly and averaged just 8.3 minutes a game.

Sophomore year he averaged 11 minutes and three points a game and never got off the bench when the Buckeyes made an NCAA Tournament run to the Final Four.

As Sibert’s playing time eroded, so did his confidence and he finally he decided to transfer.

By then, Miller was the Dayton coach. He knew Sibert and believed a change to his address – and posterior – would help him.

“I really think he just needed a little less environment than Ohio State, just a little smaller place,” Miller said at the time. “What we have is different than Ohio State. It’s less magnified, more centralized. I wouldn’t say it’s a fresh start for him, but he’s enjoying himself more as a player now.”

I remember Miller laughing and then adding something else he felt aided Sibert:

“Jordan needed a foot up his (butt)!”

Whatever it was, Sibert became a different player at Dayton.

He led UD on two memorable runs in the NCAA Tournament. He led the team in scoring both seasons and as a senior he won All Atlantic 10 first team honors and was named the Flyers’ MVP.

Although he played just two seasons here, he finished with 1,030 points as a Flyer and remains one of the best three-point shooters in program history.

Playing freely

Sibert, who led all scorers Tuesday night with 19 points, said these days he feels as good about his basketball as he ever did:

“I love the game and because of me having another career path with my business, I can play without that weight on my shoulders that I have to get a contract. I know I always have something to fall back on.”

But he’s not falling yet.

Unless you count the way he reeled a bit when his teammates and some of the other Flyers sitting right behind the bench – from former stars like Obi Toppin and Jalen Crutcher to a few of the current players – all mobbed him at game’s end.

And that got me thinking of another time Sibert was embraced on Blackburn Court.,

“He’s a good story,” Miller said on Senior Night. “He’s had a chance to write a new legacy across his chest. He’s the reason we are relevant now.”

And he’s also the main reason the Red Scare have remained relevant in The Basketball Tournament.

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