Last Season The Dragons Rhondorf Didn´t Need The Mustard From Diijon Allen-Jordan But Rather His Fine 1-1 Defense And Rebounding

When I first heard the name Diijon Allen-Jordan who was hauled to the Dragons Rhondorf after the departure of Curtis Hollis, I had to think for a moment where I could associate that name Diijon with. It took a while, but after close inspection the Grey Poupon name popped into my head. It probably took a bit longer to come up with the mustard idea, because for most of my life I have been a ketchup lover and didn´t discover the yellow weird tasting topping until late in my life. For some reason, I´m still not that big of a mustard eater, but will use it for certain vegetables to give it that extra exotic taste. Then I remembered that well known commercial where seemingly on some French country road two Rolls Royces meet side by side and an elder gentleman says “pardon me would you have any Grey Poupon”? After the two gentleman converse about the mustard, the commercial ends with the narrator saying “Grey Poupon one of life´s finer pleasures. On the bottom of the jar you read the words Dijon mustard. Dijon Mustard is a traditional mustard in France named after the town of Dijon which was the center of mustard making in the late middle ages and was granted exclusive rights in France in the 17th century. The only difference between Dijon Mustard and Diijon Allen Jordan is the way it is spelled. The basketball player Allen-Jordan´s first name is spelled with two i´s whereas the tasty mustard with just one I. Even if the names aren´t spelled the same, the name is still pronounced the same way. Since that is the case why not use that mustard link? It even has come as far as I using the mustard in my play by play call link every time the American scores a bucket with Diijon “give me some mustard” Allen Jordan. The American who has played most of his professional career in the UK seems a bit embarrassed by the nickname, but takes the condiment hoopla in stride. “I’m not sure where it came from, all my life everyone would make the joke about my name being a type of mustard. But that was my first time hearing it like this”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. I guess hearing this new nickname in Germany got some getting used to, but in Dragon country nobody needed any mustard from him, but rather wanted to see him consistently annoy opponents with his 1-1 defense and strong rebounding and did, but the guy can do even more on the court. Unfortunately the Coronavirus didn´t allow Allen-Jordan to play out the season.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Diijon Allen-Jordan in Rhondorf, Germany after dropping 22 points in a win over Recklinghausen

            Allen-Jordan was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and attended Plainfield high school. He didn´t go the normal route of having the luck of showcasing his basketball abilities in the much coveted NCAA, but played at 3 separate levels JUCO, NCAA 2 and NAIA. He began at Western Oklahoma State College (JUCO) in 2013 playing 27 games averaging 16.3ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.6%, FT: 70.4%. In 2014-2015, he moved to Francis Marion University (NCAA2) playing 16 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 43.8%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 70.2%. He would make one more move attending Campbellsville University (NAIA) playing 36 games averaging 17.3ppg, 9.5rpg, 2.0apg, 1.9bpg, 1.7spg, FGP: 54.1%, FT: 69.1%. Despite moving around so often, he was thankful for being able to have all three opportunities. “Starting at Western Oklahoma was a complete eye opener for me . First day of workout there were 25 guys on the team and I was so nervous watching everyone look more skilled than I was . But that didn’t stop me from working hard . Being there showed me how many people there are in the world fighting for the same chance that I was Francis Marion showed me that I couldn’t just be an athlete but I had to put in the work to be great. It also showed me the business side of basketball and how some coaches truly care about their job position more than helping out players And Campbellsville was my calling going to a Christian school and reconnecting with my Christian side that I left behind when my grandmother passed away in 2010. But it was always great because I got to play with my best friend Sekou Harris who I played with from 8 years old until my senior year in high school . We made it to the final 4 of the NAIA 1 level and was the first to do so in years . I also met some of my closest friends there from different ghettos in America and we all were respectful young men”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. Despite playing for three different schools, levels and coaches, the American was consistent everywhere thanks to having skilled coaches who taught him how to develop his game further. “Coach Rolando at Western Oklahoma” helped me bring out the “dog” that was inside me . He pushed me to be great and never let me fall short . Coach Edwards at Francis Marion helped me with becoming a morning person , All year we practiced at 6am and because of that I rather workout and start my day earlier Coach Atkins at Campbellsville helped me connect with some wonderful guys who I call my brothers. He bonded all of us together and we all still keep in connect”, added Diijon Allen-Jordan. In his last year at Campbellsville, he scored in double figures in 32 of 36 games and scored 20 points or more 13 times and contributed 15 double doubles He will never forget his magical 30 points and 11 rebound game in the thrilling 76-75 victory against Cumberlands. “That game was big for me, my mother and girlfriend drove 20 hours to my school to watch me play and I just wanted to give them a show, and at the time Cumberlands was ranked in the country. We were down 20 at a halftime and I told all my teammates that my mom drove 20 hours to see me play and I’m going out to give her a win with or without them. And being the men that they were that all told me that we are getting a win for my mom”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. He is one of the few if not the only one who comes from lower level college leagues and doesn´t have a chip on his shoulder.  “Never playing NCAA 1 was never a huge requirement for me, I knew that where ever I played I would give my 100 percent effort and I would be recognized”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan.

Despite playing in the NAIA, he didn´t remain unnoticed and was drafted by the Los Angeles Defenders of the D-League in the fourth round with the 77th pick in 2016 and got an early taste of the NBA spending training camp with the club. Being able get a glimpse of the D-League and the Lakers farm team was an experience that he will never forget. “It was an amazing experience to be in the building where my favorite player of all time Shaq practiced at. Seeing their NBA banners and trophies opened my eyes to see that anything is possible . Being there taught me that I can’t be passive when I go places, the faster I get in a groove the longer I will stay with whatever team I am on”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. He also recalls seeing Luke Walton who was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers at that time and learning like so many other players that there is no fun and games in the NBA. “Luke Walton introduced himself to everyone and just let us know that he would be watching. The NBA taught me how much of a business that it is . They invest so much money into players but only for the players who deserve it a as well as those that will be loved by the community. Prior to getting drafted I had coaches and teachers from my child hood team tell me that teams would call them to ask what kind of person I was”, remembered Diijon Allen-Jordan. After spending time in Los Angeles with the Defenders, he began his professional career overseas with the Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 18 games averaging  13.3ppg, 7.2rpg, 2.1apg, 1.5spg, FGP: 51.6%, FT: 68.1%. He scored in double figures in 14 of 18 games including 25 points in a thrilling 87-86 win over the London Lions. He remembers what his wake up call was and fish and chips surely was something he splurged on when he had no desires of cooking himself. “My wake up call was me having to cook on my own now . I spent 4 years away from home in college ( only going home in the summer and Christmas) so I was used to being away but I was no longer in college where I could depend on the school cafe for food”, smiled Diijon Allen-Jordan. Sometimes it can be a severe odyssey for an American rookie overseas when they are in a foreign country where English isn´t on the menu and they are the only American. The good news for Allen-Jordan was that he was in an English speaking country and had a few Americans on the team that made the whole integration a lot easier. “As a rookie I had Jamel Anderson and Mike DiNunno on my team who helped me a lot with playing with more confidence. They both were apart of winning teams and they helped me see what it took to win”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. In his second season he remained with the  Cheshire Phoenix (United Kingdom-BBL) continuing to give consistent stats playing 33 games averaging 14.1ppg, 6.8rpg, 3.7apg, Steals-3(2.1spg), FGP: 53.9%, 3PT: 30.8%, FT: 70.9%. “My confidence level grew. I worked on my shot as well as ball handling. I feel more confident on the court and I feel like I still haven’t reach half of my potential”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan.

            He began last season season in the UK again, but would only remain a few months as he balled with the  London Lions (United Kingdom-BBL) playing 11 games averaging  12.9ppg, 6.5rpg, 1.9apg, 1.8spg, FGP: 39.6%, 3PT: 44.4%, FT: 59.6%. Despite having solid stats as he averaged double figures in scoring for the third straight season in the UK BBL, he didn´t remain and traded the big city and bright lights for the small town and pretty Rhein river with Rhondorf. “I believe I was not the right fit for the Lions , I felt helpless and being the leader I like to carry myself as I didn’t think I would be much help to the team . So I reached out to my agent and Vince along with the Lions team and both agreed it was time to part ways”, added Diijon Allen-Jordan The American came to a club that lost their star player Curtis Hollis, but there was absolutely no reason why he couldn´t fill the shoes of the Texas native. But pressure is a word that he doesn´t associate with. “I don’t believe I have pressure , prior to coming here I didn’t know anything about the league or team , so I believe me coming here was a fresh start and new season to showcase my talent. And me being a guy who has played a few seasons as a professional coach asked me to help the younger players with positive energy and be a role model”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. There was also one aspect to his new Dragons adventure that put him in a good mood. “My first impression of Germany was basically me coming to the fact that I’m in Germany and how big the country is. And what I love about my new home is the access to the gym. With previous clubs I had an issue with getting into the gym outside of practice but I didn´t have that issue with Rhöndorf”, expressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. He needed absolutely no adjustment period as he was a central figure in the wins over Herten and Recklinghausen producing 19 points and 22 points and being a menace on the defensive end. “I´m a leader and when I spoke to Yassin prior to coming to the team he told me that he wants me to come in and be a new source of energy . And with the unfortunate death of Kobe Bryant , I knew that life can be over in a split second and I just want to enjoy playing and giving everything I have because he taught me that when you give the game your all the game will give back to you”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan.

            The American came to an interesting situation with the Dragons Rhondorf. Just reaching the playoffs wasn´t enough, but their goal was to win the Regionalliga West title so they could move up a level again to the Pro B. A big problem that season for the Dragons was their defense where they allowed 86 points per game. Some games it looked like it was getting better, but then bang the next game they stunk up the gym again with inconsistent play. “Defense was an issue prior to me getting here and that is another component that Yassin as emphasized to me. He wanted me to come in and pick up the guys to play harder tougher defense. We believe we had a chance to win the title yes and we worked every day to make sure we had the right mindset to win”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. German center Gabril De Olveria was out for a few months and his inside presence in the paint and boards was missing, but when he returned the club became even more of a force on the court. “Having Gabriel is a big help because he is so skilled and versatile . He runs the floor and can post up . He plays physical and with passion and I enjoy that and will go to war with him anywhere”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. Scoring wasn´t been a problem this season for the Dragons Rhondorf as they made 95 points per game best in the league  With the arrival of Allen-Jordan his overall versatility at both ends of the court could of made the difference between a title and not.

            Allen-Jordan is a guy that can do it all at both ends of the court. He demonstrated his inside out game on offense at ease, grabbed rebounds with a passion and hit the trey. On defense his biggest strength is his one on one defense. He simply brings the whole package at both ends of the court with brutal versatility and coupled with a positive character can carry a team in tough moments. “I was always taught to be versatile and to be a man of many tricks so that I wouldn’t be stuck in one category. But defense and rebounding will be my main focus because I believe that’s were the team lacked before I got here. We have a deep rotation of guys who can score. That part of the game will work its way out because off the motor I carry. Defense just comes with determination to stop whoever is in front of you. Scoring usually helps the game become easy and comfortable so if I can make whoever I am guarding to be uncomfortable on offense they will not focus on defense as much. And lifting helps my body continue to be able to compete, I am a CrossFit coach as well as a CrossFit athlete and I believe that every athlete should get involved with it”, stressed Diijon Allen-Jordan. Even if he can´t name an NBA player that he could compare his game to, it is countless NBA players that have helped him develop that special consistency. “In New Jersey we have some of the toughest places in the country Everyone plays basketball. In the tri-state of New York , New Jersey , and Pennsylvania; I’ve played against countless NBA players and professionals who I learned from . Knowing that I can compete with guys who made it to the NBA gives me enough confidence to be able to make it anywhere”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. He wasn´t near the oldest on the team, but with his experience of having played in the G-League and England, his experience and presence in practice could of helped two big gems of the Dragons with Simonas Lukusius and OusmaneNdiaje. “I believe that I can be a type of mentor for them because of how I carry myself. I know right from wrong and I work very hard . I like to be a role model for kids to see how a professional should carry themselves in whatever field of work that they are in. I believe they both will be very good players if they have the right help around them . Basketball is not only about skill , it is important for them to know how the business side of things work as well as grow as players . I look at them and see that they both are way more talented than I was at their age . Simonas has the ability to take over the court once he finds his swagger on the court . And Ousmane has a bright future if he continues to work hard . He listens which is a great thing with being coachable . Once he has his confidence playing against older players he will be someone to watch out for”, warned Diijon Allen-Jordan. It would be interesting to know where the journey of the Dragons Rhondorf would have ended with Curtis Hollis, but with Diijon Allen-Jordan, the ex Pro A team was in very good hands for them to garner the success that they wanted this season. The mustard references will continue to follow him around, but with a name of Diijon, you can´t get around it. Dragon country is so infected with basketball love that when it comes down to the crunch-time of the season, the mustard will be put aside and the more important aspects to Allen-Jordan´s game with one on one defense and rebounding will be in the heads of the diehard fans. Unfortunately the Coronavirus was the only thorn in the side of world basketball that disallowed the Dragons Rhondorf to learn their fate last season

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