On a night where the UNCP men’s basketball team was celebrating their lone senior in forward James Murray-Boyles on Senior Day, they had four players register double-digit scoring performances and another two come within a single point of doing the same, it was a player that rarely comes off the bench that stole the show in the final seconds of the game in the Braves’ regular-season finale on their home court at Lumbee Guaranty Bank Court on Feb.23.
Reserve junior forward Jordoun Cloud not only made the last bucket of the game in the team’s 122-96 victory over conference rival Clayton State but with his converted long-range attempt from behind the arc not only recorded marked his first point of the game but of the entire season.
“The first few opportunities I had didn’t follow through, but I just stayed with it and finally got me one,” said Cloud.
It brought his journey from an intramural star in the school’s rec league, who hadn’t played basketball for a scholastically sanctioned team since his sophomore year of high school to a member of a Black and Gold squad bound for the playoffs.
It only took 26 games, even though he only touched the court in five and mere six minutes of game action to this point in the season for the man commonly referred to around campus by friends, teachers, and teammates as just Cloud, to record his first points of the season.
“It’s a huge moment. With me being a walk-on and not playing much in high school, it’s big to have a few college points under your skin and it was great to see the fans and my teammates' pride for me,” said Cloud.
Cloud has only seen action in the waning minutes of games in which the Braves established insurmountable double-digit leads, all which have come in home games when the team scored 90 or more points.
“I feel like I’m the person that just brings the energy on the bench. I feel like the energy brings helps us win games. Even though I’m not helping on the court, I feel like I’m still helping the team by staying vocal and just being energized,” said Cloud.
Coming in into the final home game of the season he was 0-5 on his attempts from the field, including an empty 0-2 clip from three-point range and he had managed to get four total rebounds. In all the previous games in which he checked in it seemed as if everyone in attendance was on their feet and cheering him on every time he got on to the court and touched the ball. Every time he would pull up for a shot or attempt to everyone would take in a huge breath before a disappointing exhale went the shot wouldn’t fall.
However, this time would turn out differently. When his shot fell and hit nothing but net, the entire gymnasium erupted with cheers and applause so loud that the buzzer signifying the end of the game was nearly tuned out.
Cloud is well known on the campus of UNCP by students and faculty alike and was bombarded with hugs and high fives as he returned to the sidelines for the customary sportsmanship exchange with the opposing Lakers. After that, the stands emptied as his fellow classmates and cohorts stormed the court to offer him their long-awaited and anticipated congratulations.