Trinity’s Nazon remains close to her little sister
Jordan (left) and Taylor Nazon, a senior guard for Trinity, attempt to keep a typical sisterly relationship despite Jordan's disabilities. Jordan suffered brain damage as infant while battling leukemia. | George M. Wilcox~Sun-Times Media
Saturday Bowling: at Reavis sectional at El-Mar Lanes , Burbank, 9 a.m.
Bowling: at Reavis sectional at El-Mar Lanes , Burbank, 9 a.m.
Wednesday Basketball: at Young, 7 p.m.
Basketball: at Young, 7 p.m.
Updated: March 1, 2013 7:31PM
Jordan and Taylor Nazon appear to have a relationship typical of many little sisters and big sisters.
They go on walks together, listen to music in each other’s bedrooms and spend time polishing their nails.
But in Jordan’s life, few things are typical. Every day is a challenge for the 16-year-old sister of Taylor, a senior guard at Trinity who signed in November to play next season for Loyola.
Jordan attends nearly every one of Taylor’s games with her parents, Jeune and Adrienne. Jordan lives with physical and mental disabilities that require her to have additional care at home when she isn’t at school.
When Jordan was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Chemotherapy caused brain damage. Jordan also suffers from epilepsy.
“All we know is taking care of Jordan,” Taylor said. “There are things we have to do every day. It’s not a burden.”
Taylor, who turned 18 last month, attends a different school than her younger sister. Jordan is a sophomore at Morgan Park, which is much closer to the family’s home in Chicago’s Beverly neighborhood.
The Nazons’ older daughter Ashley, 24, also went to Morgan Park and now studies law at Florida A&M. Taylor talks to Ashley regularly, usually through Skype or FaceTime. Ashley keeps an extra room in her apartment in case one of her sisters visits.
Taylor and Jordan are best friends. One drawback to the basketball season is that Taylor can be away from her sister all day while negotiating a schedule crammed with school, practices and games.
“I leave around 5:30 (a.m.) and sometimes I don’t return until 10 o’clock (p.m.), and she’s sleeping,” Taylor said. “When I’m the one home, she comes to my room and we’ll listen to music and work on puzzles.”
“(Jordan) knows when Taylor is not around,” Adrienne said. “She’ll ask where she is and she’ll ask when is Taylor’s game?”
Location played a factor behind Taylor’s decision to sign with the Ramblers.
“I definitely wanted to make sure I was close to home,” Taylor said. “We have a lot of health issues in the family and it’s not just Jordan. I’m from a very tight-knit family.”
That’s a change in attitude from when Taylor was first being recruited.
“Last year, her junior year, she started saying she was not sure she wanted to be that far away,” mother Adrienne said. “(Jordan) was not the only reason, but it contributed.”
Nazon signed with Loyola Nov. 15 and will play with club teammate Tiana Karopulos from Andrew. Both guards compete in the offseason for Chicago X-citement and coach Xavier Walton. Loyola coach Eric Simpson also signed 6-foot-3 Cate Soane of Glenbard West.
“Taylor is a hard-nosed competitor that has been a lineup staple for a dominant Trinity program for the last three years,” Simpson said in a statement released on signing day. “She is a true combo guard that is comfortable as the primary ball-handler or playing off the ball, has the ability to pressure the basketball on the perimeter and will be comfortable playing an up-tempo brand of basketball.”
Former Trinity star Monica Albano also plays at Loyola, but is in her final season of eligibility.
Taylor was the Freshman of the Year in the GCAC Red and is averaging 16 ppg for Trinity (19-3) this season. The Blazers defend their title in the GCAC Red tournament this week.
“What Taylor has brought mostly to Trinity is her spirit and independence. Taylor and her family are truly special,” Trinity coach Ed Stritzel said. “Jordan is so precious to the Nazon family that it makes me appreciate my family even more seeing the love that family displays to Jordan.
“The family chose long travels (to River Forest) each day despite the huge hurdles they have had at home, but they never wavered. I can honestly say I’ve never heard the family complain once about distance and to me that’s truly remarkable. The Nazon family has put their stamp on Trinity and we’re a better school for knowing them.”