Lady Vols' Jordan Horston working hard to reach her full potential

Tennessee Athletics photo/Maury Neipris / Tennessee guard Jordan Horston is preparing for her freshman season with the Lady Vols, who host Carson-Newman tonight in an exhibition.

KNOXVILLE - For the playing of the national anthem during Jordan Horston's freshman year of high school at Columbus Africentric Early College in Ohio, her basketball team would line up from shortest to tallest.

Horston kept moving up the line, due to gaining six inches of height during the season.

"I didn't even realize I was growing until after the fact," Horston said recently. "People would tell me, 'It looks like you're getting taller.' The coach's wife told my mom that they'd never had a freshman move up the line six times in a season."

The Tennessee freshman currently is listed at 6-foot-2, although she told the Times Free Press that she's "still growing right now." The initial spurt helped her as a basketball player, as she grew up being a point guard and built on those skills to become the No. 2 prospect in the country and the top-ranked guard in the 2019 signing class.

She averaged 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game as a senior and was chosen the most valuable player in the McDonald's All-American game after a 14-point, four-rebound performance.

Her skill set will give her immediate opportunities to get on the court for the Lady Volunteers, who have an exhibition game tonight at 7 at Thompson-Boling Arena against Division II opponent Carson-Newman before starting the season on Nov. 5 at East Tennessee State. But not one to worry about where she is, Horston is more focused on upgrading areas where she feels she needs to get better.

"I have to improve on being a vocal leader more consistently and work on cutting my turnovers down," Horston said. "I want to be the best player, the best person I can be. I've been working on my jump shot and really working on different moves and stuff I can do."

She added that she still has to get more consistent from long range.

Horston's quest to get better has been something that's stood out to new coach Kellie Harper.

"She's inquisitive," Harper said. "She wants to be really good, but she's fun to coach because she understands that when she's not playing well, she comes in wanting to know what she can do better. I've enjoyed that about her."

With half of the team being either new or unable to play last season due to injury, there's a lot of "new" on the Tennessee team this season, starting at the top with Harper. But there is talent and opportunity, and the team appears to have bought in to what the new coaching staff is preaching.

"I just love this group of girls," Horston said. "Everybody works hard, they're willing to get better and we're on the same page.

"I'm excited to see what we can do this year."

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