jordan danberry clemson 19

Jordan Danberry is Mississippi State’s leading returning scorer, having averaged 13.1 points per game last season.

STARKVILLE Jordan Danberry faced months of uncertainty as she waited to see if the NCAA would approve her waiver for another season at Mississippi State.

In December 2016 – six games into her sophomore season at Arkansas – Danberry decided to transfer to MSU and sat out a full year before she suited up for the Bulldogs. She starred for a season and a half for Vic Schaefer and thought her career might end with last year’s loss to Oregon in the Elite Eight.

“It was kind of a weird feeling because I didn’t know where I’d end up, where I’d be,” Danberry said. “It was just playing the waiting game throughout the whole summer and staying focused. I knew I needed to stay in the gym and stay working out in case I did get approved. I was very anxious throughout the whole summer.”

Danberry’s waiver approval finally arrived on the eve of the first day of classes for the fall semester. Schaefer decided to surprise Danberry with the good news and invited her to his office so he could deliver it in person.

“Coach Schaefer called me and said he wanted to check on me and chat with me,” Danberry said. “So, I came to the office, and I really wasn’t expecting that news... I was in complete shock when I was given the news. He asked me if I still wanted to do it, and I told him that I did.

Emotional rescue

“They started ringing cowbells and told me that I got my year back. A lot of different emotions came through when I heard those words. We were able to call my mom and grandpa. I felt excited and relieved a little bit. It was a good feeling.”

She wasn’t the only one with those emotions. Schaefer was overjoyed to have Danberry back for another year as his Bulldogs chase their third-straight SEC regular season championship.

“I just think that it’s the right decision and the right thing for her,” Schaefer said. “I’ve always felt in my heart that we had a great shot at it. But again, you just never know with a committee.”

The 5-foot-8 guard from Conway, Arkansas, was third on the team in scoring last season at 13.1 points and produced 14.3 points per game during conference play. She also averaged 3.5 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 steals.

But perhaps the biggest piece Danberry adds is the veteran leadership she is providing to a relatively young backcourt and team.

“Since she has been back, she has been sensational,” Schaefer said. “She’s doing a great job of trying to lead this young team. She has done it any way you could think of: on the court, off the court, verbally. She has been a blessing, and we were really fortunate to get her back.”

Twitter: @loganlowery

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