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For Jordan Hosey, there’s always something to celebrate

Jordan Hosey shouts encouragement at a practice scrimmage. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.
Jordan Hosey, center, celebrates a bucket late in a game. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.
Jordan Hosey, center, celebrates a bucket late in a game. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.

It was a different kind of film session.

During the 2015-16 season, Texas head coach Karen Aston called her team into the film room. The players expected to see clips from their most recent game. Aston had other plans.

Videos of the Longhorns’ softball team flickered on the screen, specifically Texas’ dugout. The bench came alive after every hit, run and stolen base. The players celebrated each other’s accomplishments. Aston envied all of it.

“We need more energy on the bench,” Aston said to her team.

Then-freshman forward Jordan Hosey agreed.

“You know what?” Hosey thought to herself. “Now’s the time for people to start actually seeing who I really am.”

Since then, Hosey leaps out of her seat for every foul call, fast-break layup and far-ranging three-pointer her teammates earn. Now a junior, she’s got an entire repertoire of moves at her disposal.

Roll in an and-one layup and Hosey toes the sideline with her biceps curled. Drain a triple over the hand of a defender, and Hosey covers her eyes with one hand and pretends to shoot with the other. She grinds out jumping jacks, shreds an air guitar and dances to the music in her head.

“She just does a lot of things that creates a better vibe for our team,” senior guard Ariel Atkins said. “She creates a culture. You can’t put that in the stat sheet.”

Sometimes, she makes them up on the spot. Other times, she resorts to her favorites.

Jordan Hosey shouts encouragement at a practice scrimmage. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.

When the bench gets bogged down, Hosey becomes a photographer. She runs to the end of the floor, squats down and snaps pictures with an invisible camera. All of her teammates strike their favorite pose.

“I love ‘The Picture,’” Hosey said. “I just feel like the crowd can see our team, like how they really are, doing what they can do best.”

The energy that Hosey brings has defined her role on the team. Her teammates play harder when she’s turned up, motivated to bring on the next celebration from Hosey. She doesn’t need to play to impact the game. It doesn’t hurt, though.

In high school, Hosey and No. 16 Manvel played for the Texas state championship on March 2, 2014. They matched up with No. 2 Duncanville, led by Hosey’s future teammate, Ariel Atkins.

Manvel had lost to Duncanville once already earlier in the season. Hosey wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again. She started talking trash to Atkins, trying to get in her head. Atkins was caught off guard.

“Ariel didn’t like me,” Hosey said.

“It was just more so annoying than anything else,” Atkins said. “She’s a good trash-talker.”

The mind games worked. After an 18-point first half, Atkins scored just six points in the second, and Duncanville fell to Manvel, 58-53.

“I wasn’t a fan of Jordan Hosey coming into college and when she came here,” Atkins said. “But, that’s part of her game. That’s who she is. So, I guess when she is trash-talking, you can tell it’s a part of her confidence in her game.”

Hosey makes it her mission to get under the skin of her opponents when she enters the game. She’s the self-proclaimed best trash-talker on the team. She scampers all over the hardwood, forcing plodding defenders to chase her.

Nothing works better than getting run over.

Late in the fourth quarter in Texas’ road loss to Baylor on Jan. 25, 2018, the Bears led by 30 points. Baylor 6-foot-7 junior center Kalani Brown caught the ball in the middle of the floor. All that stood between her and the hoop was 6-foot-3 Hosey.

Jordan Hosey drives to the basket. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.

Hosey could have played matador, and let Brown blow by her for a nod at the rim. She could have leapt to try and block Brown, or at least foul her. Instead, Hosey rooted her feet into the ground and allowed Brown to plow into her. A sapling versus a bulldozer.

The baseline referee blew his whistle and pushed his fist in the opposite direction; offensive foul on Brown. This wasn’t the first time Hosey had taken a charge against Brown, but it might’ve been the most painful. A rib slipped out of place when Hosey hit the deck. She texted Brown after the game to let her know.

“You got me one good time,” Hosey told her.

“I’m sorry,” Brown texted back. “But it’s payback.”

The collision hasn’t scared Hosey away from taking charges. It’s encouraged her.

“I love charges,” Hosey said. “I’m an undersized post — I’m little compared to everybody else in our league that plays my position. I know I’m not going to be able to block shots like I did in high school. I just feel like my foot speed is faster than a normal-sized four. So, why not just beat them to the spot and let them run over me?”

It’s not an easy job. Not everyone can humble themselves the way she has. Hosey was a high school All-American. This season, she averaged just 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game this — all career highs.

Jordan Hosey, center, is excited as the Longhorns close out a win. Photo courtesy of Texas Athletics.

She constantly has to juggle her fun-loving personality with the seriousness of her craft. Stone-cold killers of the court don’t smile. Hosey smiles all the time.

“When you’re in high school, energy and just the effort and intensity is enough,” Texas associate head coach Tina Thompson said. “But, then when you come to the college level, it’s execution as well.”

But Hosey doesn’t care that much about her numbers. She cares about winning. She knows her role and fills it well.

“It was hard at one point, but at this point, I can’t change that,” Hosey said. “So, if I score, I score. But I know that if I step on the floor, I’m going to bring energy for my teammates and go out there and do whatever Coach (Aston) tells me to do.”

Though the best parts of her game don’t show up in the box score, Hosey’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. She started over sophomore forward Joyner Holmes in the Longhorns’ recent 79-66 win over Oklahoma and finished with eight points, three assists and two rebounds.

Aston’s enjoyed seeing her thrive.

“I think Jordan’s just found her niche,” Aston said after the game. “She does give us energy, and she is always a great teammate. She gives our team enthusiasm. And I think every team needs someone like that — that’s kind of selfless. And that’s pretty much Jordan in a nutshell.”

The Longhorns take on the Bears once again tonight, for the Big 12 Tournament Championship.

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