By Eric Ingles Democrat Sports Reporter
February 6, 2014
With Buck Scheel moving on to become an assistant coach at Northwest Missouri State this season, the State Fair womens basketball team was looking for a new assistant coach.
They found one in Jordan Greenleaf, a former Auburn Tiger who played professionally overseas.
Greenleaf spent last season on the coaching staff at Jonesboro (Ga.) High School. This season with the Lady Roadrunners is her first on a college coaching staff, just three years after he senior year at Auburn.
“It’s just different dealing with players that are around my age,” she said. “I’m loving it. The kids are good. Coach has been giving me a lot of responsibilities.”
The Lady Roadrunners have mixed things up this season with Greenleaf, installing a motion offense for the first time.
“It’s been a learning opportunity for me as well,” said State Fair coach Kevin Bucher.
Some of the plays the Lady Roadrunners are using this season are ones Greenleaf drew up. Some of the defensive schemes are ones that she ran during her playing career.
“Since we have players that want to go D-I, we’re trying to make it more of a D-I feel at practice and with games, pushing the ball a lot,” she said. “The D-I level is a faster paced game, so we’re trying to get them used to that.”
Her offense uses motion and ball screens to get the Lady Roadrunners attacking and to get players to create their own shots. It’s an offense Greenleaf got used to during her playing career that lets players showcase their skills.
“We have guards with tremendous skill that can play one-on-one,” she said. “I’ve tried to put in an offense that will allow them to play their game and utilize their strength.”
Her experience has opened up things at State Fair as Bucher has looked to bring that expertise to the Lady Roadrunners.
“She brings a great knowledge of the game,” Bucher said. “(Greenleaf) playing in those conferences and going against those different styles has helped me. If you don’t learn new things you become stagnant and you never improve.”
Bucher said Greenleaf is not as vocal as her predecessor during games, but gets more vocal at practice.
“During the interviews, one of the things that stood out were her communication skills,” Bucher said.
State Fair was also impressed by her career in the SEC as well as playing professionally, which she did in Finland, Portugal and Peru where she said she encountered a less physical style of basketball which is not as complex as it is in the US.
Greenleaf is the first woman to be an assistant coach under Bucher at State Fair, but ultimately there is a different barrier she would like to break down.
“I want to be the first female NBA head coach,” she said.
She even knows which team: the Celtics.