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Colonia’s Jordan Derkack thriving in newest endeavors

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Jordan Derkack wasn’t receiving the recognition he felt he deserved.

No scholarship offers.

No interest.

The Colonia, New Jersey native didn’t panic.

Instead he took an additional step to ensure that doubters and overlookers would be introduced to his capabilities.

Derkack joined the Spire Institute Post Graduate basketball program in Geneva, Ohio. His insertion into the Greater Atlantic Conference has allowed him to elevate his level of competitiveness and exposure playing against the likes of institutions such as Scotland Campus High School, the Perkiomen School, Mount Zion Prep, the Phelps School, Olympus Prep, and West Nottingham Academy.

The Colonia High School graduate quickly dove into a pool of success averaging an astonishing 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists per game in his lone season in Geneva. Derkack exploded for a career-high 38 points in a recent win over MOC Valley Prep and was also named the Most Valuable Player at the DME Beach Blast earlier in the season.

Not to mention his talents being on full display in Florida in wins over IMG Academy and Miami Prep. Derkack poured in 23 points and drained the game-winner against the latter of the two.

“Competing against these programs every week has taught me that the smallest details win games,” Derkack said. “There are no cupcake games in this conference. The most important thing I’ve learned is that it’s just as important a mental game as it is a physical one. I’ve grown so much as a player controlling my emotions, but still playing with an energy level that is tough for most to keep up with.”

He has also grown accustomed to the brotherhood that comes with being incorporated into a prestigious basketball program.

“I have loved every second being here with all my teammates, coaches, and people around the SPIRE campus,” Derkack said. “I’ve had access to state-of-the-art Olympic facilities every day for the last six months and (have) taken advantage of every opportunity.

I’m super proud of all the hard work and effort that my teammates and I have put in. I love having the ability to do voluntary workouts, extra lifts, and getting up jump shots whenever I want. Overall, I’d say this experience at SPIRE is one I will look back on and be super proud of the work I’ve put in here.”

Derkack augmented his development by journeying the AAU circuit with South Jersey Hoops Elite. His tenure with the organization has included participation in the exclusive Hoop Group Showcase League. A few of his current teammates at SPIRE are familiar faces in South Jersey. Forwards Niccolo Nobili (Paul VI), Stefano Fallopa (Holy Cross Prep) and Kyle Rhoden (Central Regional/Ranney) all competed with Derkack under the same AAU umbrella and played interscholastic hoops at one point or another in the Garden State.

The familiarity aided Derkack in making his transition from New Jersey to Ohio.

“We played in multiple tournaments during the three live periods against very good competition,” Derkack said. “(We played against) both historic programs and high profile players. It worked out great that I was able to play with three teammates (who are also) at SPIRE now. We were able to build good chemistry playing in some tough battles all summer.”

Derkack was observed by South Jersey Sports Zone last summer and flourished with 17 points in a 66-56 loss to Team Melo — a Nike EYBL grassroots organization sponsored by NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony and led at the time by Villanova commit Cameron Whitmore — at the Hoop Group Atlantic City Jam Fest. The former Colonia standout showcased his ability to utilize on-ball screens to attack the lane and proved he has an efficient mid-range jumper in his arsenal.

Derkack also finished 7-for-8 from the free throw line and showed he can be trusted with the ball in his hands in late-game situations. His ability to penetrate the lane and finish at the rim with finesse was noteworthy and his intensity on both ends of the floor was admirable.

“I relentlessly attack the basket and have learned how to use my length and lateral quickness to guard multiple positions,” Derkack said. “I can take advantage of smaller guards and match up against the one, two or three. I have a high-level basketball IQ and a motor that doesn’t stop. I am really looking forward to finding a program that wants me to come in and work from day one to earn my keep and help the team win.”

Derkack has received two offers from Marist and St. Francis (PA). The interest is starting to accumulate from schools in the American Athletic Conference (AAC), the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), the Northeast Conference (NEC) and the Patriot League. He is looking forward to the recruiting process and stated that programs are eager to allow visits once the current NCAA men’s basketball season is completed.

The now 6-foot-6, 200-pound guard’s scoring ability was also on full-display in his final season at Colonia. He averaged a team-high 13.6 points per game and guided the Patriots to an 11-4 record in a COVID-shortened campaign. As a junior, Derback ranked second on the unit in scoring (9.1 ppg) as Colonia posted a 22-7 record and finished as sectional runner-ups in North Jersey Section 2, Group 3.

His winning pedigree dates back to his sophomore year as he appeared in 21 games on a 24-5 Patriots team that captured the North Jersey Section 2, Group 3 title.

Although his relocation to the Buckeye State has been successful, Derkack will never forget where his voyage inaugurated.

“I feel extremely blessed for the opportunity to represent Colonia in all that I do,” Derkack said. “I take a lot of pride in the way I carry myself daily because I know the impact that I have on people back home. I love the fact that I come home, and people show me so much love. I’ve grown up in the ‘Colonia Culture’ of working hard everyday to get better, and it has been instilled in me with the way I attack every day. I love that this way of thinking has been passed down from generations, and I know that it will continue to be a part of the culture we have at home in Colonia.”

More importantly, the Derkack family tradition will carry on. Jordan’s younger sister, Taylor, is a sophomore member of the Patriots’ girls basketball team. Taylor is currently averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game as Colonia sits at 22-4. The Patriots are the No. 2 seed in the Central Jersey Group 3 playoffs set to begin on Tuesday night.

Jordan’s younger brother, Aiden, is currently in eighth grade and looks to follow in his older brother’s footsteps in the near future.

“I’m also so grateful that I have younger siblings in and entering the (Colonia) program,” Derkack said. “I’m so proud of them and can’t wait to see how they do in their high school years, playing the Colonia way and cementing themselves outside of basketball because of their stature off the court.”

In-story photos courtesy of Joel Layman, the Public Relations and Communications Manager at the SPIRE Institute.

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