Photo courtesy of Jimmy Lafakis/The Butler Collegian
By David Cordova
During the summer, there’s always those suburban kids that come out to the inner-city to prove themselves against the kids from the ‘hood. Especially, in New York City. In venues like the Dyckman or IS8, it’s always time to show and prove.
Paul Jorgensen has always done that wherever he’s went. The 6-foot-5 redshirt junior guard from Butler University has been through a long journey, but now he’s where he wants to be. Playing on a grand stage and in a great conference in the Big East Conference.
When asked about what motivates him to do great things on the court, Jorgensen replied, “I guess, just people who didn’t believe in me growing up and now that I’m in the Big East, people didn’t even know if I was gonna play at a high-level Division I, so that motivates me to keep working hard and just keep working hard.”
Jorgensen hails from New City, New York, which is located in Rockland County. But as a youth, he always came out to the city to showcase his skills against the best that the tai-state had to offer in various AAU events and playground tournaments.
When asked about how the competition is in Rockland County in comparison to the city game, he replied, “It’s good, I mean, but when I grew up, I grew up playing in New York City. My dad always told me if you really want to play basketball, you got to go down and play in New York City, so I started playing with New Heights, I started going to Dyckman, IS8, all those games down in New York City.”
Case in point: May 31, 2013. Jorgensen came out to play at the Tri-State Classic in Harlem in an event called Alimoe Day, which was dedicated to the late, great street ball legend, Tyron “Alimoe” Evans, who had passed away earlier that year.
In the game, Jorgensen came out and wowed the crowd with crossover moves and made seven straight baskets, earning him the nickname, “The Prince Harry of Harlem,” which was given to him by famed emcee, David “Cha Ching” Teele.
When asked about his exploits in the park on W. 145th Street and Lenox Avenue that day, he replied, “That was a great day, I remember it like it was yesterday, I just kind of made a couple of buckets, had a couple nice moves and the rest is history. I guess I had a nice nickname to go along with that for a long time.”
In high school, Jorgensen played at Don Bosco Prepatory School in Ramsey, New Jersey, where he was one of the Garden State’s best players. He averaged 17.6 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals as a junior and then 17.8 points, five rebounds and 3.5 assists per game as a senior, while also leading the Ironmen to a 24-5 record and a berth in the North Jersey, Non Public A sectional tournament. Also, he was named North Jersey Player of the Year by the Newark Star-Ledger and was also selected to play in the regional game of the prestigious Jordan Brand Classic.
When asked about his days at Don Bosco Prep, Jorgensen replied, “That was a great four years, won a lot of games, made a lot of good friends, learned how to play the game the right way, had a good coach in Kevin Diverio, a great assistant in Scott Moody. I learned how to play the game the right way.”
Then, in September 2013, he committed to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., which played in the Atlantic-10 Conference, which turned out to be a learning experience for him. In Jorgensen’s freshman year, he averaged 3.6 points per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 4.9 points and 2.1 assists per game, as the Colonials won the NIT championship. In his two years there, the Colonials had a 50-23 record, but unfortunately, Jorgensen had limited minutes in his time there.
“Personally, I didn’t play as much as I wanted. Some games more than others.” said Jorgensen about his time at George Washington.
Following the NIT championship, Jorgensen decided to move on and look for greener pastures. Those pastures were in Indianapolis, Indiana, as he would transfer to Butler University, which played in the Big East Conference, a step up from the Atlantic-10.
“Definitely, now, I’ve got a bigger role on Butler, and I’m really blessed to be in this situation that I am and I’m grateful to be in it.” said Jorgensen.
When asked about what led to his decision to transfer and play for the Bulldogs, he replied, “The Big East for sure. I always dreamed that I’d play in the Big East, I didn’t know it was going to be in a school in Indiana. But, you know, when they called me, after I transferred [from George Washington], it was an opportunity I had to take. And, it’s a great school academically. The academics are great, the people are great, overall, it’s a great school.”
So far, the move has paid off for Jorgensen, as he is averaging 10.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in 33 games this season for the Bulldogs, who have compiled a 20-13 overall record, and a 9-9 record in Big East Conference play.
And one of the best things about the Butler experience, is he gets to play his home games in Hinkle Fieldhouse, which is Indiana’s basketball cathedral. The old Fieldhouse, which was built in 1928, seats 9,100 spectators, and has had plenty of historic moments from Butler games and Indiana’s rich high school history. It was even featured in the classic 1986 film, “Hoosiers.”
When asked about how he felt about playing in the historic venue, Jorgensen replied, “It’s amazing. You’ve got to come out if you’ve got a chance. Hinkle Fieldhouse is nothing like you’ve ever seen, fans are wild, no matter what time. Saturday, 12 o’clock in the noon, or a Tuesday late game. It’s going to be sold out, and they’re passionate and they love the Bulldogs.”
And on playing in the Big East: “The Big East is good, it’s my first year playing in the Big East, so I’m trying to be more consistent, I’ve had some good games and bad games, but the most important thing is we’re winning, and right now, that’s especially the most important thing. But the Big East is a tough game. Every game, you’ve got talented players. For me, I’m just trying to work on being consistent and get to the next level.”
Tomorrow, the Bulldogs will be playing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Little Caesar’s Arena in Detroit, Michigan against a good Arkansas team. If they play well, there’s no doubt that Butler can make a deep run in the Big Dance.
As for Jorgensen? “For me, just keep playing as hard as I can, and take this thing as I can.”
Highlights of Paul Jorgensen:
Courtesy of Inside Streetball.
Courtesy of Fox Sports.
Courtesy of In The Lab News.