2,000 points & counting: Tekoa’s Jailan Ardoin looking to “become unstoppable”

Published 12:10 am Friday, January 31, 2020

Jailan Ardoin began playing varsity basketball for Tekoa Academy in seventh grade when his father, coach Landon Ardoin, brought him onboard.

“I didn’t even know I was going to play varsity, but he just threw me out there,” Jailan Ardoin said. “He told me to go out there and do your best, and that’s exactly what I did.”

Now years later as a high school sophomore, Ardoin is about to reach 2,000 career points scored, likely to happen during tonight’s game against Port Arthur Lighthouse at 6:30 p.m. at home. He averages 27 points, 10 rebounds and three assists a game, shooting 60 percent in field goals, 40percent behind the 3-point line and 75 percent on his free throws.

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“It was a long process, all you have to do is keep your head up, keep working, keep pushing forward and that’s all you can really ask for,” Ardoin said.

Still younger, Ardoin says his game is well above the level of what would be expected of him because of his experience, his jitters long gone since his time playing his first few games at the varsity level in seventh grade.

“I was a little shaken up, but going into my eighth grade year, I was already used to it, already used to the bigger competition and then ninth grade and 10th grade, all I did was get out of my head. Now I’m confident in my game. I just kept going forward, and that’s how I’m close to where I am right now,” Ardoin said.

“As a young kid, you look at older guys and the first thing that comes to mind is that they’re bigger and stronger than you. The experience was OK my seventh grade. But all I did was I didn’t think about that and went out there and played my game.”

Ardoin has accumulated a list of accolades. He was all-district for Texas Christian Athletic League 2A and all-state the past three years. He ranks at No. 51 by Texas Top 100 for the Class of 2022 and No. 37 in his class by RCS Sports.

With as many points as he scores, Ardoin would still like to improve his outside shot.

“That’s what I really need to work on to progress my game, step back a little farther and get a little more range, and once I do that I’ll become unstoppable,” he said.

Already he’s a shooting threat in the midrange, and he expects to get better now that he’s getting bigger and taller.

Ardoin hopes the Cougars finish out the remaining five games of their regular season 5-0, though he concedes the team’s record does show a number of losses. Before Friday’s game Tekoa was 2-3 in its district and 6-17 overall.

“We have a lot of losses on our record but we’re not letting that phase us, because at the beginning of the season we had a tough schedule,” Ardoin said. “My team’s biggest asset is speed, that’s what we have on other teams. We can get out on fast breaks, get the rebound, push it up the floor. Three-pointers not really too goood, but that’s what we need to work on, but getting to the rim and pushing out a fast break works extremely well.”

Academically, Ardoin has a 4.0 grade point average and hopes to study business management in college, saying it would be fun to own his own business. The big prize for him, though, is continuing to play basketball in college, preferably at Texas A&M, and hopefully into the pros.

“Texas A&M, I’ve toured the campus for college reasons,” Ardoin said. “I loved the campus. I loved the tour. I love the people that were there. It was a great environment. They have a great coach, a great basketball team and I’d love to go there and represent the Aggies.”