Jaylin Fordham's relationship with basketball isn't over, though the recent Albion College graduate will make the transition from playing on the court to a seat on the sideline.
Instead of launching a career as an accountant, Fordham, one of the leaders who helped Albion gain its first Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Men's Basketball Tournament championship since 1998, will begin his professional life as a graduate assistant for Keno Davis' staff at Central Michigan University.
A product of Goodrich High School in Flint, Mich., Fordham will join the Central Michigan staff that includes Briton men's basketball alumnus D.J. Mocini, '08, who serves as director of basketball operations, and Jeff Smith, who served as an assistant coach at Albion from 1995-97.
"I feel so blessed and thankful because I never thought I would be in this position a year ago," Fordham, a MIAA Academic Honor Roll student who averaged nine points in 101 career games with the Britons, said. "I'm going to take everything I learned here at Albion to Mount Pleasant.
"(Albion Head Coach) Jody May allowed me the chance to grow as a leader," he added about his collegiate experience. "(Assistant Coach) Stephen Draper is a great example of PATD (pay attention to detail) and how it can take an individual's game to the next level. I have more confidence. I believe if I can win here, I can win anywhere."
Fordham admitted his approach to basketball changed once he realized there was an expiration date to his playing career and that influenced how he interacted with the people in his circle of influence.
"I could not take a play off," he says.
Fordham admits he is ready to absorb new lessons from Davis and the Chippewa program which won 23 games and lost by just four points to the nationally-ranked team from Buffalo in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
"Coach Davis is established and I'm going to adapt with my arms open wide," Fordham said. "I'm ready to trust and believe in the program and do whatever he tells me to do."
Joe and Julie Serra have given a $5 million leadership gift to launch a fundraising initiative to make two dreams a reality at Albion College. The first is a newly expanded fitness and student activity facility at the site of the current Dow Recreation and Wellness Center. The second is a new or renovated competition facility for the volleyball, men's basketball and women's basketball that currently call Kresge Gymnasium home.
The College is continuing to raise funds in support of both projects. To learn more, call 517/629-0446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.