In the moments where so many others would see pressure, Jordan Longino sees opportunity.
The Germantown Academy junior feels the more of those moments, whether it be a potential game-tying or game-winning shot in basketball or a two-minute drill in football, the better. Inviting challenge as opposed to waiting for it or shying away from it is something that’s driven Longino from his earliest days of competition.
Longino’s will to be challenged and thrive when facing it helped him to a stellar junior basketball season and he was named the PA Sportswriters Class 4A Player of the Year on Thursday.
“I don’t see it as pressure, I look forward to working on my game so I can be in those so-called ‘high-pressure situations,’” Longino said. “I love that stuff. Those are the situations I used to dream about being in when I was kid and now that I’m starting to experience it, I don’t see it as pressure but just the task at hand and I’m going to let my preparation handle it.”
A first-team all-state pick last season, Longino put together another standout year for the Patriots and averaged 22.9 ppg despite a number of changes around him. The junior, who has 1,562 career points, called being named player of the year an honor and credited his teammates, coaches and family for their support along the way.
After longtime coach Jim Fenerty stepped down at the end of last season, Matt Dolan stepped in as head coach while a number of new players got their first extended crack at varsity minutes. Longino, who had put together a solid season at quarterback for GA’s football team throwing for more than 2,000 yards and 16 TDs, was eager to see how the new look basketball team came together. In an early pressure moment, Longino again saw opportunity.
“I felt like it was a fresh start,” Longino said. “Going from Coach Fenerty, who I’ve known since I was four to a new coach in Coach Dolan who I had never met and having new guys coming into our team, I still felt good. The guys on our team took into account the legacy of what Germantown Academy basketball is and for me, I was going to do whatever it took to win.”
While his numbers were already alluring enough as a 6-foot-4, 195 pound guard with more than 1,000 points in just two varsity seasons, Longino wanted to prove he could do more. Early in the campaign, he approached Dolan about taking on more challenges defensively, wanting to bump up his ability to be a two-way contributor.
“This year, I wanted to focus on winning games and doing the things it took to win,” Longino said. “When we played games against (Malvern Prep’s) Deuce Turner or Episcopal Academy’s Alex Capitano, I wanted to try and take on the challenge. I did seek out Coach Dolan and asked to guard the best guy on the other team and show people I’m not just a scorer.”
When it comes to scoring however, Longino is quite good at it. The guard scored 30 or more points on six occasions in the 2019-20 season, including a 38-point game against Wissahickon. Of course, he’s going to get plenty of shots, but Longino focused on being more efficient and tried to work a midrange game in to compliment his strength going to the rim and smooth outside shooting.
It’s a craft he’s serious about. While at times it looks easy when he comes off a curl and splashes a three or natural rolling through the lane for a layup, it’s the end product of a lot of time in the gym, time he makes sure to get in during football season even it means extra-early mornings.
Longino has also experienced the mythical “zone” all great scorers strive for when everything just seems to work.
“Your confidence just keeps building and building,” Longino said. “You let everything else go and can just play free and not worry. When you get into that kind of zone, it’s almost like tunnel vision and like you’re not even being guarded. You feel a sense of confidence building and building throughout the game and it pays off when you get hot like that.”
It didn’t take long for the recruiting interest to pick up, as Longino had basketball scholarship offers after his freshman season, but he’s always had a shared love of hoops and football. A two-year starting quarterback, the GA junior was also drawing interest for football with his size, strong arm and mobility an intriguing mix and Longino knew eventually he’d have to choose a path.
Just recently, as Division I basketball offers continued to flow in, he decided to pursue basketball in college although he plans to play football next season. A top-50 recruit in the class of 2021, Longino’s offer list reads like an NCAA tournament who’s who including Villanova, Ohio State, Florida, Penn State, Marquette, Indiana, Virginia and most recently Maryland.
“I took some time, talked to my family and thought about it a lot but it was really something that just came to me instantly,” Longino said. “I love both sports, I’m passionate about both of them but basketball is something I’ve always had this love for and the competition, the opportunities presenting themselves in college and the opportunity to hopefully one day play in the NBA are dreams I just couldn’t pass up.”
GA is slated to return a majority of its key players including guard Jake Hsu and wing Casey Traina and Longino is aiming big for his senior season. The Patriots haven’t won an Inter-Ac title since his brother Evan-Eric was a senior in 2016-17 so Jordan is eyeing his first league title and a PAISAA championship to follow.
“I’m a competitor, I love battling with the best so I take that head-on, lean on my teammates, lean on my coaches and lean on my preparation to help me,” Longino said. “I have confidence in myself and confidence in my game and hopefully that helps us go and win a championship.”
Archbishop Carroll junior John Camden, a 6-foot-7 sniper from the wing, was also named to the Class 4A first team.
District 1 champion Pope John Paul II was represented as well. Senior guard Drew McKeon and junior forward Justin Green were both third team selections while head coach Brendan Stanton was named the coach of the year.
The PA Sportswriters All-State teams continue this week with 5A releasing Friday and 6A finishing things up on Friday. Several local players were honored in the smaller classifications released earlier in the week.
In Class 2A, Academy of the New Chuch senior guard Isaac Marshall earned all-state honors for the second straight season when he was named a second-team pick after posting 17.6 ppg, 4.2 rebounds and 2.2 steals. Dock Mennonite senior center Darius Ellis made his first all-state appearance, earning a third team spot to close his career after surpassing 1,000 points. The Pioneers had been slated to face Math, Civics and Sciences and 2A Player of the Year Nasine Poplar in the PIAA quarterfinals before the competition was cancelled.
Wednesday brought honors for a pair of Bishop McDevitt teammates. Royal Lancers seniors Robert Smith and Jamil Manigo were both selected to the Class 3A first team, a worthy award for two key cogs in McDevitt’s rise to one of the top teams in the PCL.
Smith, a first team All-PCL pick, led the Lancers at 16.2 ppg and leaves as the program’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,203 points and is closing on a college commitment. Manigo, a West Chester recruit, was also named first team All-PCL and also scored his 1,000th point during the season, finishing with 1,106 career points.