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After a rocky year, things are finally starting to look good for the pro basketball dreams of former Penn star Michael Jordan. It started with a call last month from Jordan's agent, Leon Rose, informing the Penn basketball alum and 1999-2000 Ivy League Player of the Year that he needed to pack his gym bag for a trip to Europe to close out the season with a team in the West German First Regional League. In three starts at point guard, Jordan -- who hadn't been with a team since early February despite having been one of a handful of players to participate in the NBA preseason last October -- averaged 35 minutes and 28 points a game, leading ODB Recklinghausen to two wins. "I was passing and scoring, which was good," Jordan said. "The American who was there before me just shot the ball every time, so these guys were happy to see me because I was passing the ball a lot. I had a lot of steals, too -- guys weren't really good with the ball." More good news came for Jordan after returning to Philadelphia on April 1. An e-mail from a friend's father told Jordan that Herb Greenberg, owner of the Trenton Stars of the International Basketball League, was interested in seeing the 6'0" guard play. Rose set things up with Greenberg last week, and the coaches of the minor league team were more-than-impressed with what they saw. "I tried out for them on Friday," Jordan said, "and I played in the game on Saturday." Jordan got the nod from Stars coach Jeff Malone three quarters into Trenton's crucial game against its Eastern Conference rival, the Cincinnati Stuff -- a team which had beaten the Stars in five straight games. The former Quakers star took the floor at the point guard position and came up huge in his IBL debut, which came exactly a year and a day after he began his NBA quest as a participant in the 2000 Portsmouth Invitational Tournament -- an annual pre-draft camp held in Virginia for NBA recruits. Jordan scored 10 points and dished out seven assists while playing the entire fourth quarter for Trenton in its thrilling, 107-103 win over the Stuff at Sovereign Bank Arena. "I actually got more time than I thought I was going to get," Jordan said. "I wound up playing a lot, and I made some big shots down the stretch. Overall it was a good game for playing my first game in the league." Jordan, who also stood strong on defense for the Stars, impressed not only himself with his solid all-around performance. "I think [Malone] was happy with my performance because I played a lot and I finished the game out," Jordan said. "They always say, 'It doesn't matter who starts the game, the only thing that counts is the finish.' For my first game he's got me in there down the stretch, so I think he's got some confidence in what I can do." Jordan will have many chances to further impress Malone -- who averaged 19 points per game in 13 years playing in the NBA -- as well as the other coaches and players in the IBL. Nine games remain on the regular-season schedule for Trenton, starting with tonight's 7 p.m. matchup at the Grand Rapids Hoops. Then, beginning on May 1, the Eastern Conference-leading Stars will enter the playoffs of the 10-team league and vie for the chance to play for the IBL title. After the IBL postseason, Jordan isn't sure where he'll go -- but he has a feeling that things will start to be a lot different than last year. "I had a rough year basketball-wise," he said. "At last something good, something positive's starting to happen for me. I'm very enthusiastic. Things are rolling."

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