Two freezing cold showers, a quick Starbucks run, and a shootaround practice have become a routine for Jordan McCabe on game days before a late tip-off at the Thomas & Mack Center.
For the Runnin’ Rebels guard, the day begins with a 9 a.m. wake-up time followed by a cold shower.
“I’m on 34 days in a row with a freezing cold shower in the morning,” Jordan said. “It’s actually the last thing I wanna do when I get up but I do it so it wakes me up and gets me a little energized for the day.”
A cold shower won’t give Jordan all the energy he needs for a long day, so he heads to Starbucks to order a quadruple shot espresso, blonde with sweet cream white mocha and cinnamon dulchè.
After a quick coffee stop, the No. 18 ranked player in the nation in assist/turnover ratio, heads to Mendenhall (the Runnin’ Rebels practice facility) around 10 a.m. There, McCabe starts with stretching and any rehab he may need before the game to get his body ready.
“I’ll come upstairs with the managers and we’ll get a light workout in before our team shootaround,” McCabe said. “We have a team shootaround at 1 p.m. So I’ll go at noon to Thomas & Mack to get in some light shooting and a little bit of movement, that’ll get me ready for shootaround where we go through the other teams’ plays for an hour.”
A pregame meal follows the team’s shootaround and at 2 p.m. McCabe goes back to his apartment and eats while he watches his favorite show at the time, right now it’s HBO’s Euphoria.
“I’m all caught up now. I binged watched the first season in record time,” McCabe said.
From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. McCabe takes a pregame nap before he jumps back into a cold shower to wake up.
“After the nap, I’ll watch a little bit of film, Chris Paul, a little bit of NBA, maybe a college game just to get back into the basketball mindset,” McCabe said.
Two hours before tip-off, the guard heads to the arena to get taped and begin his individual pregame drills and shooting. After 20 minutes of that, he’ll say hi to one of his favorite workers at the Mack, Gloria before getting ready for pregame drills with the team.
During this time, Jordan mentions that during the season he likes listening to rap music, specifically Lil Baby, before a game.
After being asked if he listens to NBA Youngboy like the rest of the team, McCabe said, “I do listen to him, they’ve forced that upon me. I’ve always liked him but it’s like a cult following in our locker room. So whether or not I wanted to, I know all the songs.”
Now back to the routine, with 60 minutes winding down on the clock, the Rebels take the court and begin with 10 minutes of stretching, 10 minutes of dribbling for guards, and 10 minutes of specific guard shooting drills.
The team then heads to the locker room to discuss game plans before taking the court once again for layup lines as fans begin arriving at the arena.
“It’s where I generally get all my dunks out of the way before anyone gets in there and sees me dunking,” McCabe jokes. “That’s why no one has ever seen it, I do it before people get in there.”
After McCabe gets his “dunks” in, the team heads to the locker room to go over any last-minute game plans. Then, the team runs out for introductions which includes a pregame video montage of the team with Nipsey’s “Last Time That I Checc’d” song playing, which is McCabe’s favorite part of a home game.
When introductions end, McCabe said, “we get ready and go beat whoever is in front of us that night.”
As far as after the game, McCabe said, “so we win right and everyone is happy. I’ll wrap some ice on my knees, then me and my girlfriend, if she’s in town, will go directly to Angry Chicks. Crumbl Cookie, if it’s open, we go there too. We get those two terrible things for you and that’s how we celebrate.”
“We go back to the apartment, eat that and watch my Yellowstone or Euphoria. I generally don’t get to bed too early on game days, especially a late one when my adrenaline is still going. It’s usually around 12 or 1 a.m. when I get to bed.”
For away games, the days are similar, except the team lives out of the hotel for the day and a half they are in that particular opponent’s city.
The team will leave on their plane the evening before and as far as who Jordan sits by on the plane ride, McCabe said, “I always find myself too close to Keshon [Gilbert], that’s pretty much my life at this point, he’s always right there and we’re always kinda together to some extent.”
During the plane ride, Jordan will watch a movie or read but notes that it’s the best version of himself when he actually reads on the plane. After landing in a new city, the team will go out to eat and head to the hotel to get to bed.
“Keshon is my roommate on the road, we’ll typically go out to dinner if it’s not set up at the hotel,” McCabe said. “My favorite is when we go to BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Colorado.”
For away games, the team typically trades off between the red jerseys and the black jerseys; McCabe states all the jerseys are cool but the black jerseys are his personal favorite.
The Runnin’ Rebels rolled out their black jerseys against Colorado State last week where a packed house of Ram fans were screaming all game long. Playing in an environment like that on the road raised the question of how players are able to stay calm under all that pressure and noise, for Jordan, it’s about focusing on the game.
“Two minutes into the game I’m completely settled in,” McCabe said. “Every game I get a certain level of anxiety, but as a competitor you always deal with that…you gotta learn how to deal with it.”
McCabe is a fan-favorite, especially at away games, where a lot of fans’ comments are directed at him most of the time, he may hear it but he never lets it get to him.
“At Colorado State, one guy was like ‘how do you leave the house with that haircut?’ and I thought my haircut was fine,” McCabe said. “I mean it had been a little grown out but he kept saying it and he wanted me to look, but I didn’t.”
“I get a lot of short comments but it’s a part of playing on the road and it’s kinda fun.”
The comments, good and bad, will always be a part of the game. Which, ignoring the comments, has become part of his routine during games.
Having that consistency of a routine on and off the court has helped McCabe, as he is having one of his best college basketball seasons to date.
The starting point guard is averaging 6.9 points, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. McCabe is ranked second in the Mountain West Conference in assist/turnover ratio and has grown into his role as a playmaker on the court.
He has grown into his role as a leader on the court, keeping the offense moving by calling plays and most notably making crazy insane no-look passes, which is something you just have to see for yourself.
Catch Jordan McCabe and the Runnin’ Rebels take on Air Force on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at the Thomas & Mack Center for a 7 p.m. tip-off. Students can get their tickets for free at unlvtickets.com.