Aug 22, 2012
By Bill Ford
CARBONDALE, IL - It isn't often Southern Illinois junior women's basketball player Jordyn Courier walks out of a locker room following a game and doesn't find a familiar face waiting to greet her.
Whether at home or on the road, Jordyn's parents and grandparents make sure at least one family member is there to see the Saluki 3-point specialist play.
"In the last two years, I think there was one game that I couldn't make it to, my wife couldn't make it to and my parents couldn't make it to," said Jordyn's dad, Wes Courier.
Going to Jordyn's games is a Courier family tradition.
The eldest of Wes and Deana Courier's five children, Jordyn is six years older than her nearest sibling. Because of the age gap, Jordyn is the only one thus far to play organized sports beyond junior high. For the last six years, the Courier family calendar has revolved around Jordyn's game schedules.
In recent years, however, that calendar has become increasingly crowded as the younger courier siblings Morgan (14), Payton (12), Austin (11) and Reagan (10) have become more involved in sports. A basketball coach himself, Wes faces the conflict during basketball season of balancing the games he coaches along with trying to make sure he can see his kids play.
"We have a calendar. We keep all the kids' stuff along with me and my wife's stuff on there. We plan it out ahead of time. We divide and conquer," Wes Courier said. "A typical Saturday for us is eight basketball games."
Traveling even to Jordyn's home games is a commitment for the Couriers, who reside in Delevan, Wis., a six and-a-half hour drive from Carbondale in the family's gas guzzling Suburban.
"My dad has gotten to the point he can drive it in his sleep," Jordyn said of the haul across almost the entire state of Illinois.
"My freshman year, even when I didn't play a lot, my dad would still come to all the games. He just said, `If you do play, I want to see it. I don't want to miss anything,'" Jordyn said. "Especially during those hard games when we lost, having someone to talk to and calm me down meant so much."
The 2012-13 basketball season will complicate the Courier calendar even further as Jordyn's eldest sibling, Morgan, enters high school.
"It's going to throw everything off," Wes Courier said. "Morgan will hopefully be on varsity. If that happens, it becomes more important. It's going to be an interesting challenge this year."
The challenge will be compounded by the fact Jordyn will be one of two Saluki upper classmen this season and will have a chance at increasing her minutes.
"I know I'm going to need to step up and take a role that I'm hoping will be bigger this year," Jordyn said. "I am ready for that. I am ready to play more. I'm ready to contribute to the team."
In order to do that, Jordyn has spent her offseason diversifying her game. She is working on cutting to the basket more and developing a pull-up jumper.
"I've been working on more of a movement game instead of being that set 3-point shooter," Jordyn said. "That is easy to guard. Teams can scout that and easily take that away. I'm trying to be more of a threat in other positions."
Jordyn has also spent the summer getting to know her new teammates and realizing a familiar role on the team -- that of big sister.
"I'm kind of taking on the `mom' role of trying to make sure everyone gets their stuff done on time," Jordyn said. "We've kind of become more of a family than in previous years and I'm looking forward to that relationship growing."