February 15, 2018 1:14:15 AM
STARKVILLE -- Starkville High School boys' basketball coach Greg Carter is having to do less coaching of Jordan Temple these days.
"Jordan has come such a long way," Carter said. "His ninth grade year, you could see his ability. He had a chance to be a special basketball player. However, we had to work at it. It was staying on him to reach that full potential. There were times those first couple of years, it was struggle. He's a bright young man though and has pulled through nicely."
Temple plays point guard for one of the favorites in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 6A race. Wednesday at SHS, a large crowd packed the library to watch Temple sign a scholarship offer with Northeast Mississippi Community College.
"I really liked everything about Northeast," Temple said. "The coaches, the players, the campus, it was all great. They made me feel right at home right away. It's exciting to have a chance to play on the next level. I am fortunate that Northeast is going to give me that opportunity."
Temple said the Northeast coaches have indicated he will continue to play point guard for the Tigers. At Starkville, Temple has fallen in love with the position.
"It's all about leadership," Temple said. "You are the quarterback for the basketball team. Coach Carter has always preached leadership. It's important that the point guard sets the tone in practices and in games. It's my job to make sure all of the other players are engaged and ready to go in a game. It has been great."
Temple said he has learned so much for Carter, who was a Southeastern Conference standout back during his playing days at Mississippi State.
"Coach Carter is really a great leader," Temple. "The point guard is supposed to lead the team and I have been able to learn how to do that from him. He is always patient, upbeat and getting us to do our best. I have learned a lot about basketball and about life in general from playing for him."
Carter said he felt like Temple would fit into that role nicely. Carter's son Tyson also played point guard and led Starkville to two appearances in the state championship game (with the 2015 title) and is presently a sophomore at Mississippi State.
"You can tell he is a leader," Carter said. "You have to be vocal but you don't need to be overly emotional. It's all about keeping the team on the right level. Jordan has worked hard at his leadership skills. You can tell his teammates have confidence in him."
Starkville is a team playing with confidence. The Yellow Jackets (22-3) will carry a 19-game winning streak into Friday's Region 3 championship game at Murrah.
"We want to go deep in the playoffs and win another championship," Temple said.
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
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