Jordan Horn can only recall so much of the actual game.
The celebration after Tuesday’s win for North Dakota State in the Summit League tournament championship game? That part is what the 20-year-old sophomore vividly remembers.
“That’s something you dream about as a kid,” Horn said of rushing onto the court with his teammates before cutting down the court’s nets after topping Omaha. “That was an unreal feeling.”
Horn and his new teammates find out Sunday evening which team they’ll play in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Last season, Horn was a member of the Siena College program, and Horn was one of several players to transfer out of the program after former head coach Jimmy Patsos’ resignation.
Horn, though, didn’t leave primarily because of Patsos’ departure. A St. Paul, Minnesota native, Horn said his transfer had more to do with a desire to head closer to home for his remaining college years, largely so he could be closer to his grandmother, who raised him and has battled leukemia for years.
“It’s gotten worse, so me being closer to home makes thing easier,” Horn said in a recent phone interview. “The biggest thing for me was to get home and make sure my grandma was OK.”
Horn’s grandmother made it to a few games this season for North Dakota State, a program that is 18-15 on the season. Horn received an NCAA waiver to play immediately for the Bison — partially, Horn said, because of his grandmother’s situation — and he’s averaged 4.3 points per game in his first season with his new program.
“It was a lot to adjust to, and it was a huge year of learning for me, both physically and mentally,” Horn said. “But my main thing was just staying positive through it all and helping the team win any way I can.”
At Siena, Horn was one of the few bright spots on a team that went 8-24 in the 2017-18 season before this past season’s 17-16 finish for the Saints. Horn averaged 7.9 points per game and made 13 starts during his season at Siena.
“That was a great year for me,” Horn said. “I met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun.”
Horn said he has kept in close touch with his former Siena teammates. He said he communicates on a daily basis with former Siena teammate Roman Penn — who transferred to Drake — and checks in regularly with former roommate Manny Camper among other current Saints.
“I was always wishing them luck,” Horn said of the Saints who he watched throughout the 2018-19 season on ESPN+. “I never lost touch with any of those guys.”
Horn heard from some of his former teammates after Tuesday’s championship win for North Dakota State. He was impressed, too, that fans of the Siena program reached out to him on social media to congratulate him.
“Siena’s always — I’ll never forget those fans. They were so loyal to us throughout that [8-24] season,” Horn said. “They were reaching to me even those I wasn’t a Saint this year, and that meant a lot to me.”
Horn said he doesn’t think it’s fully set in yet that he’s soon to play in the NCAA tournament he grew up watching. He expects that to happen when North Dakota State’s matchup is revealed Sunday during the selection show.
“It’ll be a dream come true,” Horn said.