The 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball Player of the Year was chosen by USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Halley in consultation with high school coaches.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Todd Boyer, Shawnee (Okla.)
Name: Jordon Adell
School: Ballard (Louisville)
Height/Weight: 6-3, 205
The future: Signed with Louisville. Drafted No. 10 overall by the Los Angeles Angels.
By the numbers: Hit .562 with 25 homers, 61 RBI and 22 stolen bases and an on-base percentage of .667. Also won the University of Louisville’s Woodford R. Porter Scholarship, given to an African-American student from Kentucky or from Clark, Crawford, Floyd, Harrison, Perry or Scott counties in Indiana who has demonstrated strong leadership and extracurricular involvement and has at least a 3.0 grade-point average.
Winning the scholarship: That was really big. It looks good and it saves money for U of L baseball because some other kid can get an athletic scholarship there because mine is paid for.
Unusual skill: I can speak fluent pig Latin. My mom taught it to me when I was a kid and I thought it was a real language.
Best advice a coach gave me: (Ballard) coach (David) Trager knew there would be a lot of eyes on me. He just told me to say within who you are and don’t try to be Superman. You’ll get balls you can handle. Don’t go out and try to hit a pitch over the fence that you can’t hit over the fence. Doing what I can with the pitches I receive.
Biggest accomplishments: Playing in the Under Armour All-America Game as an underclassman, because I was one of two underclassmen who were chosen. The other one was when I hit the game-winning grand slam to advance to state my sophomore year.
Biggest disappointment: Losing in the first round in the districts this year was definitely sad. My high school team had eight guys that I played with, on and off, since I was eight years old. You don’t expect your season to be done that quickly.
Nicknames: Jo. My real name is Jordon but everyone knows me as Jo. A lot of people don’t even know my name is Jordon. My least favorite nickname is to have someone call me Joey.
Favorite pizza topping: Definitely sausage. I’m not a pepperoni guy.
Ideal walk-up song: Digits by Young Thug. I really like the beat of that song. It’s all about the beat.
First car I drove: A 1998 Toyota Avalon, which is my sister’s car now. It’s still around. I don’t know how. It was a family car that ended up being hers.
Favorite MLB player: Adam Jones.
Favorite current song: It’s tough (choosing) because I’m a huge music guy. I listen to everything. I’ll go with Cocoon by Migos.
Mistake I learned from: I had a season where I traveled a lot when we were still in school. It might have been my sophomore year. I had (school) work that I thought I would be excused from. I ended up getting a bunch of zeroes. I just learned there’s a balance here. You can’t assume that people are going to give you a nod for being an athlete playing out of town. You have to take care of yourself. My mom is a principal, so she was on me for sure.
Favorite teacher: Mrs. (Elle) Bond. My sophomore advanced English teacher. She was great and came to baseball games.
Longest homer I gave up: We were playing in a tournament in Florida. I was about 12 or 13. In the first round of pool play, I was going a couple of innings. I was just throwing fastballs, and then the No. 3 batter, a lefty, after I threw a fastball, middle-in, he hit it out. I had so much pride with my fastball, but after that, I started pitching, not just throwing.
Longest homer I hit: This past year, playing at Paul Dunbar (Lexington). I got a fastball and the kid was throwing hard, probably 85 or 87 mph. He threw one right in my wheelhouse, middle-in, kind of low. I hit this ball and I never saw it once it got up. It was well over 450 feet. It had the spin I wanted and everything.
Favorite phrase: Something that I use to remind myself is “Be where your feet are.”
That was something Coach Mac (Louisville coach Dan McDonnell) told me. Yes, you’re committed to the University of Louisville, but look where you are. You’re about to be a sophomore in Ballard High School and that’s where your feet are at. I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’m going to stay with what I know and where I’m at.