Augustana point guard Jordan Dalton had to wait his turn to crack the starting lineup. Playing behind guys like Corey McIntosh and Marques Blank will do that to you. But he paid his dues, and now, Dalton is making a big impact.
Despite his small stature.
The Augustana men's basketball roster lists Dalton at 5-foot-8, 138 pounds. And that's pretty generous.
"I've relished it," Dalton said. "I've been a little guy all my life so, you know, it's kind of fun."
Most guys this size go into broadcasting, not basketball. But in spite of his size, Dalton is arguably the best point guard in the conference.
"I've always been a point guard, a facilitator first," Dalton said. "And luckily, I've had a great opportunity to play with a lot of great players, so it's really made my job a lot easier."
Dalton leads the Northern Sun in steals per game, is third in assists per game, and fourth in assists-to-turnover ratio. In the most recent statistics compiled by the NCAA, Augie leads the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
"When you don't turn the ball over - in any sport - you put yourself in a chance to win all the time," Vikings coach Tom Billeter said. "And we have been so good at taking care of the basketball. That I credit Jordan with."
But because he only scores five points a game, Dalton often goes without the credit he deserves.
"I always wish basketball was like hockey," Billeter said. "I wish you got a point for the assist, and I also wish you got credit for the pass that led to the assist."
In reality, Augie wouldn't be having the season it is without him.
"If there's a young man out there who is a penetrator and a leader and can make passes and make a team go and do the things he's got to do - nobody can press Jordan," Billeter said. "You have a man out there that can do all those things, I really don't care how tall he is."
"My game has always been able to back it up," Dalton said. "So as long as I can get out there and play to the best of my ability and my team's winning."
He's the little engine that could. Or better yet, that can't. Be stopped.
Dalton has started all 16 games for Augustana this season, and logs more minutes than everyone but fellow guard Cody Schilling.
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