All in the family

Father-son duo balances home life with hoops


Men’s basketball guard Jordan Glover (right) stands with his father, assistant coach Kevin Glover (left).

At home, Jordan Glover and his father Kevin like to crack jokes and goof around. They’re family oriented, often getting together with Jordan’s grandparents. Their restaurant of choice is Outback Steakhouse. (Or, anyplace with pancakes. Jordan loves pancakes.)

And yes, they watch an awful lot of basketball together.

However, on the court, they each live a drastically different life than they do on the family’s sofa. Both face a difficult yet rewarding situation: the one Jordan calls ‘dad’ happens to be the same one he calls ‘coach.’

Jordan, a freshman guard on the Buffalo State men’s basketball team. Kevin, an assistant coach for the Bengals. A part-time father-son relationship, a part-time coach-player relationship. Time and place play a significant role.

“Before practice, it’s father-son goof around types of things,” said Kevin. “During practice, we have to kind of separate ourselves and realize that: A) I have a job to do; and B) Jordan’s a student athlete here and he’s no different than the other 13 guys that are on the team.”

Despite his father being a part of the coaching staff, Jordan lives on campus. Kevin wanted him to get the full sense of being a collegiate student-athlete and the responsibility it entails. Jordan will come home on some Sundays to watch a slate of basketball games and enjoy home-cooked meal.

But, for the most part, he’s living on campus. It took a little while for that adjustment to set in. When the season began, 5:30 a.m. would roll around and Kevin would call his son. “Listen, you up? You have practice at 6,” he’d say in a panic to Jordan.

“I was dad before anyone else,” said Kevin. “Now, my hands are off. If he’s not here [at practice], he’s not here and he’ll be disciplined like the rest of the team.”

The challenge for the duo is detaching one relationship from the other. Kevin’s frustration with Jordan skipping a cross-court pass into the seats can’t translate to Sunday evening at the dinner table, just like Jordan forgetting to unload the dishwasher can’t translate to wind sprints at practice.

“I like it. But, at times, it can get pretty rough,” said Jordan. “He’s harder on me sometimes more than he is on other players but that’s understandable. It’s natural. I just have to distance myself from the father-son role and [take on] the coach-player role once we step inside the gym.”

Jordan attended St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, a Catholic high school located in Tonawanda, New York—just 10 minutes away from Buffalo State. In the middle of Jordan’s junior year at St. Joe’s, he started searching for colleges with his father’s help. Different schools started calling and they began visiting schools. As the process went further down the line scholarship offers fell through, and they began weighing their options.

It came down to going away to school, or staying local to join his father at Buffalo State.

“He chose to come to Buff State and it’s been exciting since day one,” said Kevin. “The anticipation for me has been extremely exciting. Not often do you get the opportunity to see your son play every game of his career. That’s something I’m looking forward to; not only seeing him play every game of his career but helping him become a better player throughout that process.”

In high school, Kevin wasn’t able to make it to some of Jordan’s games because of his commitment to Buffalo State. The game that Jordan would always circle on his calendar was the Canisius high school versus St. Joe’s rivalry, or as Jordan referred to it, “Joe’s-Canisius” (yes, order matters).

“At times, it was kind of stressful,” Jordan said about not having his dad at some of his games. “I’d be like ‘my dad’s not going to be here, we play Canisius, this is a big game. This kind of sucks.’ Now, when we play Brockport, I don’t have to worry about my dad being there, he’s right there on the bench.”

A big part of Jordan’s decision was his familiarity with the entire coaching staff. He’s known Bengals’ head coach Fajri Ansari since he was born. Ansari coached Kevin and fellow Buffalo State assistant coach Malik Campbell during his 14 years as the head coach at Turner Carroll high school in Buffalo.

“The aspect of coach (Ansari) and Malik being here as well, those two men have known Jordan his entire life,” said Kevin.”It’s not only me; they both have had a relationship with Jordan that goes back a number of years.”

At an early age, Jordan had a passion for baseball. After all, his dad was a two-time All-MAAC selection at Canisius College on the diamond. His love for the hardwood began to take its course when his father took on a coaching role at Buffalo State before the 2005-2006 season. Jordan would tag along with his dad to practices and games acting as the team’s water boy. The season that sticks out the most to Jordan was in 2011, when the team ripped off 13 consecutive wins and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the DIII NCAA Tournament.

“I was around them a lot that year,” Jordan recalled. “That really drove me to veer off into the basketball era.”

The catalyst on that Sweet Sixteen team? Jake Simmons. Simmons—arguably one of the best players to play for the Bengals—was then a sophomore leading a young squad that had just one senior. Glover had an up-close and personal look at a player that carved out the greatest statistical careers in Buffalo State history.

Glover watched and learned while Simmons, who overcame a number of personal tragedies and setbacks before coming to Buffalo State, eventually became the program’s all-time leading scorer.

“Watching him has helped me a lot because I know a lot of things he’s been through,” said Glover. “One thing about Jake is he never gave up through any situation he was in. He worked hard. Jake was a hard worker, he was dedicated, he was a team player. Seeing some of those things that he’s done and the way he’s never given up showed me if he can get through the things he’s been through, I haven’t really been through anything compared to him so I shouldn’t have to give up either.”

Glover has transitioned to the college game quite well. In the past, he’s been a traditional point guard. However, he has been asked to play some off-guard or the two-guard this season. Glover has started 13 out of 21 games this season, seeing time at both guard positions. He ranks fifth in minutes on the team.

Buffalo State likes to use an up-tempo attack that sometimes is challenging for a true freshman. At St. Joe’s, Glover played in the Monsignor Martin Association (MMA), one of the toughest leagues in New York State last season. Canisius finished atop the league last year, with help of two players that went on to D-I programs, Matt McDonald (Fairleigh Dickinson) and Adam Weir (Canisius College). Playing against top-notch talent at the high level made the transition to the college level smooth.

“That’s been really helpful,” said Jordan. “Matt and Adam are both Division-I basketball players so being able to guard them during the season and play with them during the summer has helped a lot. We’re good friends, so playing with and against talent like that is really helpful when you move on the next level.”

Glover also had the luxury of playing alongside 6-foot-7, 240-pound Reggie Agbeko for two years at St. Joe’s. Agbeko now plays Division-I ball at St. Louis University.

“We had a pretty good pick-and-roll game when I was playing with Reggie during my sophomore and junior year,” Glover said with a grin. “He’s a great player and playing with him took the pressure off my shoulders and really made me a better player.”

Playing with and against a high level of talent in high school has helped make Jordan a dependable guard for the Bengals this season. He’s committed just 31 turnovers this season. Only Rod Epps has committed less (28). In a win over New Paltz on Friday, Glover matched his season-high with 13 points and dished out five assists.

“He brings a certain amount of composure at times to the team,” said Kevin. “His ability to play two positions, the point guard and the shooting guard, is extremely beneficial and has helped him obtain more minutes.”

“When I got here, I thought I was going to be playing more of a point guard role because that’s what I played in high school,” said Jordan. “Then coach (Ansari) told me that I might be playing two positions. Out of nowhere, I got myself into the starting lineup; I guess I earned my way. Right now, I’m just kind of rolling and I’m trying to play any position I can to help the team.”

Jordan and senior forward Justin Mitchell joke around now about when Jordan would tag along with his father to practices when he was younger.

“I’d always ask ‘Hey, Justin can you dunk for me?’” Jordan recalled.

Fast forward three years and Jordan’s throwing lobs to Mitchell during games.

“It’s kind of crazy, it seems like (Mitchell’s) been here forever,” Jordan said with a laugh.

Whether it’s throwing a lob off a back-screen or knocking down a 3-pointer from the wing, Kevin will be there to watch — and coach — his son’s every move.