Jordan Semple has no doubt made his presence felt throughout his college career at Chico State. But as a senior leader for the Wildcats, he has changed the way he has approached the game.
He still gets the job done on both ends of the floor, averaging 11.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has also blocked 40 shots becoming the program’s all-time leader in that category with 142 stops.
But Semple will tell you he has embraced being a leader and that has been critical in the success of the Wildcats, who are 17-6 overall and tied with Cal Poly Pomona for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association with a 14-4 league record.
“I’ve taken on a leadership role as a senior,” Semple said. “It’s definitely different than in years past where I would just go out and play my game. I’ve worked hard to get others involved and have done what I can to make sure we are on point offensively and defensively so that we can be successful.”
Semple ranks second on the team in scoring and has provided a valuable presence in the post.
“I feel like I’m doing a great job of rebounding and blocking shots,” Semple said. “Sometimes I tend to be more offensive-minded than defensive-minded, but a lot of times I’ll get double and triple teams and will pass the ball off for someone else to make a play. I just want to do what I can to help the team win games.”
Semple was born in Paris, France, but came to the United States before he started school. He became a star at Arcata High School in California, leading the team to a pair of conference championships. He said a couple of Division I schools showed interest, but ultimately his college decision came down to Humboldt State or Chico State. In the end, he believed Chico State was the right fit.
“I think Humboldt had a better team at the time, but I felt like Chico State was headed in the right direction,” Semple said. “I wanted to stay in California to play basketball and I made the right decision coming here. My teammates and my coaches have played a part in making me a better player and we’ve accomplished a lot in the last four years.”
Semple has thrived each season with the Wildcats, chipping in 7.8 points per game as a freshman. He also grabbed 6.1 rebounds per outing that season and finished with 25 steals and 30 blocks.
As a sophomore, he put up 9.2 ppg and grabbed 6.3 boards. Still a presence on defense he tallied 24 steals and 29 blocks.
A year ago, Semple averaged 13.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He also came through with 48 steals and 43 blocks as he helped the Wildcats advance all the way to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. Chico State lost 85-70 to South Carolina Aiken in the quarterfinal round.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I hope we can get there again this year,” Semple said. “The group we had last year was really special and the team had a lot of confidence in me. I just played my game. We were a close team and it was a great experience to play in the tournament.”
Getting back to the NCAA tournament won’t be a simple task, but Semple believes Chico State is heating up at the right time. The Wildcats have won 10 of their last 11 games.
“We have to stay focused and be mentally tough heading into the conference tournament,” Semple said. “We want to be playing our best in the postseason and hopefully we’ll accomplish all of the goals we have for this season.”