My name is Jordan Hitchcock, founder of Skilled. During high school, I routinely got kicked out of the gym by the drama coach. I would go hide somewhere for a couple minutes and then sneak right back into the gym to work on my game. As my high school graduation approached, I would get asked about what I was going to do after college. I’d make up what I thought was an acceptable answer, but all I wanted to do was be around the game of basketball.
With the help of a mentor, I was able to secure a spot on Doc Sadler’s staff as a student manager at the University of Nebraska. Being a student manager is the equivalent of coaching boot camp. I cut endless amounts of film. Helped organize the scout team. I was a shadow to the assistant coaches picking up whatever information was offered. I’ll never forget the day Coach Sadler got fired. I was in the office when he got back from giving his last press conference as the Head Coach, with tears in his eyes he hugged me and thanked me for all I had done in my four years of service.
About a month later Tim Miles was hired. Seeing the way Coach Miles came in and established his own culture was invaluable. At this point I had worked for a bunch of different assistant coaches and had gained enough wisdom to know there was something special about the way Craig Smith related to and developed players. If Coach Smith needed a clip board, I was going to be the one that handed it to him. Shavon Shields and Nick Fuller really benefited from the daily skill workouts Coach Smith ran them through. As they benefited, I was shagging every shot, playing defense, and soaking up every technical aspect of his teaching.
I graduated from UNL with a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration while majoring in Finance. I remember walking out of the last final of my undergraduate career thinking, “I’m never gonna work in a bank. What in the heck am I going to do with a degree in Finance?” My home was the gym. Greg Eaton convinced me to stay at Nebraska as a Graduate Manager. I owe a lot to Coach Eaton. He invested a lot in me by having difficult and honest conversations about areas I needed to grow.
As I pursued a masters degree, I began to study Psychology and was eventually accepted into the Educational Psychology department where I emphasized in Cognition, Learning, and Development. My advisor was Ken Kiewra. Dr. Kiewra is passionate about two things: note taking and how people become the best in their specific field. As I studied I connected all of the concepts and theories to basketball. I began to formulate my own workouts and practically applied these concepts as I worked out the redshirts.
Along the same time, Phil Beckner was hired as an assistant coach. Today Phil is known as one of the premier skill coaches in the nation. Coach Beckner has worked alongside Damion Lillard to help him transform from a two star recruit to a perennial NBA All-Star. For a year I rebounded as many basketballs as possible to learn from the technical aspect of what Coach Beckner was teaching. More than anything I learned: Players need to be great at something – Nobody pays for average. Simple drills at high intensity, repeated over and over again create great players.
Over the last three years I have spent countless hours in the gym putting all that I have learned into practice, tweaking what I have learned to help motivate my players. I spent two years at Parkview Christian as Head Coach and was lucky enough to experience the State Tournament for the first time because of the efforts of a bunch of great kids. Last year I was at Lincoln Northeast working for a dear friend of mine, Monte Ritchie. My wife’s name is Jill and I have a dog named Jace. As a family we see the basketball community as our mission field and there is no greater feeling than taking the important lessons we have learned and passing them on to someone else.