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Playing with a heavy heart

Warriors’ Stokes is reminded every day of his late brother

Playing with a heavy heart

Cal State Stanislaus men's basketball player Jordan Stokes has been a part of the Warriors' success this season, as he's second on the team in points and rebounds.


POSTED January 16, 2010 12:41 a.m.
Cal State Stanislaus men’s basketball player Jordan Stokes doesn’t have to look very far to remember what he lost a year ago. Both of his arms are covered with tattoos. As it is with almost anyone who has them, the body art is not to attract attention.
It has a deep meaning.
He lost his older brother, Adam, to a heart attack at age 24. So Stokes inked his brother’s memory on perhaps two of his most important body parts at this point in his life.
“My brother was very influential to me,” Stokes said. “I never forget that he’s the reason why I’m doing all this.”
He means not just playing basketball, but also competing with a passion that’s undeniable. Coach Larry Reynolds and his teammates see it every day, as Stokes is the one who’s hustling both in games and practices. And that kind of effort is showing on the stat sheet, seeing that Stokes — in his senior year — is second in points (10.5) and rebounds (6.5) for the Warriors, who are wrapping up a four-game road trip at Humboldt State tonight at 7:30 p.m. in California Collegiate Athletic Association action.
Stokes has been a valuable part of his team’s success lately. The Warriors (7-5, 3-4 CCAA) have won three of their last four games after overcoming a 17-point deficit to top Sonoma State on Thursday night.
He enjoys making contributions on a nightly basis.
Actually, he’s been doing that since his days at Lassen College in Nevada from 2006-08. He gave up a potential career in football to stick with basketball, as he said he was being recruited by a handful of Division I programs, such as Boise State, Colorado, UNLV and Nevada — though none made scholarship offers.
“Mother wasn’t too excited about me going up against the big boys of Division I,” Stokes said.
So it’s been basketball ever since. At Lassen College, he was part of a program that was welcoming a new team and coaching staff — which is similar to the experience he’s having with Reynolds, who is in his first year at Stanislaus while working with a group that was largely unfamiliar with each other before this season. Stokes helped his junior college team to a league championship in 2008, and was voted the Northern Nevada Player of the Year.
His next stop was the College of Idaho of the NAIA, but his relationship with the school quickly turned sour. Which led to Stanislaus, where he’s considered one of the hardest working players on the Warriors roster.
“Jordan has been doing a good job for us,” Reynolds said. “He’s our energy guy. He’s the guy who’s going hard all the time.”
So, where does he get this energy from?
He laughed a little bit at the question. Of course, he gets inspiration from his late brother. But there’s also another reason. It springs from his days at Dayton High in Carson City, Nev., where he made all-state honors. And it even goes back to when he was playing with neighborhood kids before he began organized basketball in junior high.
“I want to win,” he said. “It’s all about winning.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.
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