One-on-One With Jordan Juenemann
Nov. 22, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. –
When you think of being a basketball player at the University of Kansas, you probably think it is only a place for elite players. However, it is not impossible for everyday people to don a Kansas uniform. One player defeated those odds by walking on the men’s basketball team in October of 2008. The undertaking that junior guard Jordan Juenemann achieved is hard to match. This achievement is even described by him as his ‘greatest accomplishment.’
There are two distinct characteristics that set Juenemann apart from the big crowd. The first is his determination coupled with stick-to-itiveness, and the second encapsulates his encouraging off-the-court personality. For these reasons, it can be said why Juenemann has became a crowd favorite during the past few seasons. Sometimes an experience such as this can be overwhelming, but Juenemann has been able to keep a steady poise on the court and off.
Although many people identify him as a Kansas basketball player, Juenemann is much more complex than that. What he does on and off the court is merely a reflection of the basis of how he lives his life. In a nutshell, there are three categories that address Juenemann’s off the court personality: faith with family, the University and extra-curriculars.
Juenemann selected the University of Kansas much out of respect and adoration for the traditions here in Lawrence. Growing up in Hays, Kan., he was a Jayhawk fan from the very beginning.
“I came to KU when I felt in my heart I could walk on and it has been something I always dreamed of,” said Juenemann. “Kansas is the best place to play basketball in the country, and I have always idolized the players. I was actually there for every game of the 2008 season.”
Family has always been an integral part of Juenemann’s life. Fortunately, the KU men’s basketball team values a family atmosphere so he never has a chance to forget it. His parents have had a major impact on what family and faith mean to him. Once his Kansas basketball experience got rolling, many more opportunities opened for Juenemann to be closer to his family. His parents moved from their hometown of Hays, Kan., to Olathe. About a 30 minute drive from Lawrence, the Juenemann family bond is evident, as they spend as much time as possible together. When he travels home, the best place to catch him is at the dinner table chowing down on some of his mother’s home-cooked food.
“I try to spend a lot of time with my dad. When I was 14 years old, I got a motorcycle permit and my dad bought a bike for me. Every summer for the past 13 years, my dad, brother and I go to southern Iowa for Speed Week,” he said.
Another reason he came to the University of Kansas was taking a leap of faith. Juenenmann explained, “I have full trust in my faith,” while also stressing how vital it is to believe in something greater than yourself. The first thing you would see when taking a tour through his apartment is a large wooden cross his father built for him. Juenemann had the chance to meet a basketball idol of his, Wayne Simien, at church services in Lawrence. Simien helped inspire him to play at KU but also has been a mentor to him as well.
“I feel like every direction in my life, God has had a hand in it. He led me to where I am now. I was uncertain on a college choice but wanted to play at the Division I level. I believed I had what it takes and had an opportunity to walk on at Kansas. I felt that’s where my life direction was heading and I took that leap of faith. It is a great experience and I have met an amazing group of people, while having doors and opportunities open I could not imagine,” said Juenemann, who has taken those opportunities and embraced them.
One of the most dreaded questions for a young man to think about is where he sees himself in the next few years. First and foremost, the success of the team is important to him. Aside from that priority, Juenemann will see where God leads him and will carry out that purpose with his heart to help people.
Especially at a program like Kansas, growth and maturation are encouraged but also somewhat demanded. Part of what makes Kansas such a unique place is the consistent and well-rounded teams that dominate the court each season through hard work and enjoyment. There are not many places like KU that possess such a close-knit group of teammates. Since stepping onto the court in the Crimson and Blue, Juenemann has experienced a lot of growth, mainly in the category of character.
“The work-load is tough and hard every day,” Juenemann explained. “It is work, but I love it. Interacting with many different kinds of people, I have learned to give it my all every time out there. I know there will be a reward.”
From his faith-based values to his charm on campus, Jordan Juenemann is an influential man. In all walks of life, Juenemann has been able to carry a faithful swagger, if you will. The strong faith basis is evident in his on-court demeanor, always looking to help others first. The most important thing for Juenemann to keep doing is helping his team be successful and bringing something new to the table day-in and day-out.
Juenemann summed up his life on and off the basketball court by saying, “The desire in my heart led me to my faith and that is where I find my true happiness.”