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LC's Haralson making his own way

Mar. 13—ANDERSON — With the new postseason format put forth by the IHSAA a year ago, regional champions who were crowned last Saturday had to wait until Sunday to learn their semistate opponent and destination. When it was revealed Liberty Christian would have to make a three-hour trek to Michigan City for its matchup, there were many who rolled their eyes and gnashed their teeth at the thought of such a journey.

The family of Lions sophomore Jordan Haralson scarcely batted an eye, knowing they would be making a trip that has become second nature for them when it comes to basketball.

Just a few miles away from this Saturday's site, Jordan's brother Jalen Haralson is a junior at the prestigious prep school La Lumiere. Widely considered one of the top high school players in the entire nation, the 6-foot-7 guard averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting 41% on 3-point attempts.

Jordan, oldest brother Brandon — a 2019 Anderson High School graduate — parents Art and Shantel or a combination of Haralsons have already made the drive to LaPorte County over a dozen times, never missing a home game for Jalen. If Jalen and Jordan played on the same night, the family would split up viewing responsibilities.

"We know that route like the back of our hand. We make that drive all the time," Jordan said. "We go up there for every home game, and we try to go up every weekend just to see Jalen."

Game nights have a long history for the Haralson family as Jordan and Jalen would accompany their parents to the Tipi to watch Brandon excel for Anderson. He not only led the team as a senior with 12 points and 7 rebounds per game, Brandon was also the class president before eventually graduating from the Kelly School of Business at Indiana University.

While Brandon is currently working in Anderson, he will eventually start his career in the business world in Chicago, less than an hour's drive west of Michigan City.

Brandon said Jalen moving to La Lumiere proved to be beneficial to Jordan.

"Jalen going to La Lumiere was a great thing for Jordan," Brandon said. "If he had stayed at Fishers or in Anderson, Jordan would have had a hard time escaping that shadow. He has really been able to become his own player."

There was an added bonus as well.

When the destination was announced, Jalen jumped on the phone with his La Lumiere coach Pat Holmes and secured his school's facilities for use by the Lions between games Saturday should Liberty advance to the semistate championship game that evening. It will serve as a place to rest as well as work on game prep for the coaches and players.

"That was Jalen's idea to contact La Lu," Brandon said.

While his older brothers cast long shadows, Jordan has emerged of late as a valuable player off the bench for the Lions. He led LC with 15 points in the sectional semifinal win over Tri-Central before hitting big shots in the sectional championship and grabbing key rebounds and playing solid defense in the regional win over Seton Catholic on Saturday afternoon.

Liberty Christian coach Norman Anderson said his 6-5 sophomore can provide instant offense when he comes off the bench and has handled the large expectations that go with his last name very well.

"You've got B.J. — Brandon — who has graduated from the Kelly School of Business and Jalen who is a top-10 recruit in the country," Anderson said. "I think he has done a tremendous job of just finding his niche. So many times, with B.J. and his academics and Jalen and his extraordinary athleticism that he possesses, Jordan gets overlooked. This kid, as big as he is at 6-5, he's going to be a player before he is done."

"I set a good example on the academic side as president of my class, and Jalen set a good example from the athletic side," Brandon added. "Jordan really got the best of both worlds."

"B.J. always played like he had a chip on his shoulder," Jordan recalled. "He always guarded the other team's best player and played every game like it was his last. That's the way I try to play, too. I take a little bit from both of their games."

Anderson said the Haralson family is a special one, all people of high character. He adds his favorite part about coaching Jordan is not his 3-point shooting, rebounding or defense, but how receptive he is to coaching.

"He is a coach's dream," Anderson said. "A great family, the Haralson family, and I'm super excited that Jordan is here with us. He's just an exceptional kid. ... He's grown up over the last three or four weeks right before our eyes."

The accomplishments of Jalen and the ongoing development of Jordan have been a strong source of pride for their older brother.

"Jalen is more talented than I am, and Jordan is as well, and I'm proud to see him step up for his team," Brandon said. "As a brother, I'm just super proud of both Jordan and Jalen."

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.