Jordan Salzman sat at a table, a maroon and gold tie dangling from his neck and a pen in his right hand.
Camera shutters clicked. Friends and family stood in the back of Portledge’s Banik Hall Monday afternoon, beaming with smiles across their faces as they watched the varsity basketball team’s star sign his national letter of intent to play for Bobby Hurley and Arizona State.
“This is Pac 12 basketball, Division I, playing for coach Hurley,” said Nick Woll, who had not had a player sign with a Division I program in his eight years as Portledge’s head coach. “It’s just an amazing opportunity for Jordan. He’s going to work his butt off and make the most of it. I’m really excited for him, as the entire program is.”
Salzman, a 5-10 point guard, verbally committed to the Sun Devils in the spring. He had originally given a verbal pledge to Penn as a sophomore, but the Quakers fired Jerome Allen after the 2014-15 season and Salzman and his family chose to explore other opportunities rather than commit to new hire Steve Donohue.
“It was the coaching change and a few other aspects,” Salzman said. “I’m very happy I landed in such a great spot with such great new coaches.”
Salzman — who averaged 17.1 points per game last year, according to results reported to Newsday — attracted Arizona State’s attention in the summer of 2015. Playing against an AAU team with five-star player Lonzo Ball, now a freshman at UCLA, Salzman more than held his own.
“One of his best games was against Lonzo Ball,” said Jack Agostino, the former Amityville coach who handled A.J. Price and Jason Fraser’s recruitments and coached Salzman with the Black Mambas AAU team. “I think he had like 20 points in that game. I think we jumped off the page and Jordan had a tremendous tournament.”
Associate head coach Rashon Burno spearheaded ASU’s recruitment of Salzman, but Hurley’s pedigree was a key factor in Salzman’s commitment. Hurley played point guard and won two national championships under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. The son of legendary St. Anthony (New Jersey) High School coach Bob Hurley, he played in the NBA for five years and coached SUNY Buffalo to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
“To be able to play under somebody like that with the tutelage and guidance and experience that coach Hurley can offer Jordan, it’s an absolute home run,” Portledge athletic director Jon Sandos said.
Arizona State went 15-17 in 2015-16, Hurley’s first season at the helm. Salzman, an unrated recruit, joins four-stars Kimani Lawrence and Remy Martin in the Sun Devils’ incoming class.