Jordan and Taylor Nazon seem 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 from Trinity who signed in November to play next season for Loyola.
Taylor, who turned 18 last month, goes to 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.
Staying close to home was a factor, but not the factor, behind Taylor’s decision to go to college in the area.
“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.”
Jordan attends nearly every one of Taylor’s games with her parents, Jeune and Adrienne. But Jordan lives with physical and mental disabilities that require her to have additional care at home when she isn’t going to school.
When Jordan was 18 months old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Chemotherapy caused brain damage and 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.”
Jordan’s verbal skills vary, but knows when Taylor is home or not home.
“(Jordan) knows when Taylor is not around,” Adrienne said. “She’ll ask where she is and she’ll ask when is Taylor’s game?”
The Nazons have an older daughter, Ashley, 24, who is attending law school at Florida A&M and went to Morgan Park. Taylor talks to Ashley regularly, usually through Skype or FaceTime. Ashley keeps an extra room in her apartment in case one of her sisters feels like visiting.
In the next several months, Taylor will be preparing to go off to college. It’s too tough to predict how Jordan will react with Taylor gone. The sisters are best friends. During basketball season, when Taylor can be gone all day due to school, practices and for games, Taylor admits to feeling down when she has to be away from Jordan for so long.
“I leave around 5:30 and sometimes I don’t return until 10 o’clock, 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.”
A few of their favorite movies to watch together are “Alvin and the Chipmunks” and “Daddy Day Care.”
Taylor has tried to take Jordan to a movie theater, but Jordan gets restless. It is hard for Jordan to focus on watching a movie that long.
When Taylor was first recruited, geography was not a big factor regarding her college decision.
“Last year, her junior year, she started saying she ‘was not sure she wanted to be that far away,’” her mother Adrienne
said. “(Jordan) was not the only reason, but it contributed.”
Taylor will follow former Trinity star Monica Albano to Loyola, although they will not play together. Albano is a senior this season for the Ramblers.
Nazon signed with Loyola Nov. 15 and will play with a club teammate, Andrew’s Tiana Karopulos. Both guards compete in the offseason for Chicago X-citement and coach Xavier Walton. One other Chicago area signee by Loyola coach Eric Simpson was 6-foot-3 Cate Soane of Glenbard West.
In a statement on signing day, Simpson said, “Taylor is a hard-nosed competitor that has been a lineup staple for a dominant Trinity program for the last three years. 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.”
Taylor was the Freshman of the Year in the GCAC Red and is averaging 16 ppg for No. 5 Trinity (19-3) this season. The Blazers compete in the GCAC Red tournament this week while trying to defend its conference title.
“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 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.”