Jordan Threloff considers Northern Illinois a home.
The former DeKalb High star grew up attending Huskies games. He was even a ball boy under former coach Rob Judson.
Threloff chose to go to Illinois State coming out of high school. But after three years with the Redbirds, Threloff felt he needed to go in a different direction. On Thursday, he told the Daily Chronicle that he would be transferring to NIU.
It will be a homecoming of sorts for Threloff, a 6-foot-10 center.
“I was even at the last game at Chick Evans Field House. It’s home. I’ve grown up with Northern,” said Threloff, the 2009-10 Daily Chronicle Boys Basketball Player of the Year. “Honestly, coming out of high school I never would have thought I’d be putting on a Huskie uniform, but now I’m pretty excited.”
Part of the reason Threloff is coming back to his hometown is for family reasons. He said he’s going to apply for an NCAA hardship waiver and would be eligible to play this season if it’s granted. If not, Threloff will sit out the 2013-14 season and have only one season of eligibility after that.
Threloff redshirted the 2010-11 season at ISU, and averaged 2.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 21 games (two starts) as a sophomore this past season. He said there are a number of reasons he decided to transfer, the main one being that a lot has changed since he stepped on the campus in Normal.
The Redbirds had a first-year coach in Dan Muller this year, and a mostly new coaching staff. Next season, Threloff said there won’t be anyone on the current roster that was there when he began his collegiate career.
After the season, Threloff met with Muller and both agreed that it would be better for Threloff to go in a different direction.
Threloff said NIU was the only Division I school looking at him, but that he had several D-II schools interested. Threloff would have been guaranteed to play right away if he transferred to a D-II program.
Chad Pecka, the Huskies’ director of player development/video coordinator, was a Barbs assistant coach during Threloff’s junior season. Threloff cited his familiarity with Pecka as one reason for his decision to go to NIU.
“I’ve had a great relationship with Chad Pecka; I’ve known him since high school,” Threloff said. “With him being here, he spoke highly of coach (Mark) Montgomery and the entire staff.”
Threloff also said he’s impressed with who NIU has coming back, as well as what the Huskies have coming in. Former Kansas State guard Michael Orris is joining the program, although he won’t be eligible until the 2014-15 season. Brothers Aaron and Aaric Armstead also will be on next season’s roster, as well as incoming freshman guard Dontel Highsmith.
“I’m pretty excited about the pieces that are there,” Threloff said. “Now I feel like I can be another piece of the puzzle to help turn the program around.”