Butler junior Paul Jorgensen’s journey from the street courts of the city to the historic halls of Hinkle
Paul Jorgensen brings a New York state of mind into Hinkle Fieldhouse.
“I think we’re Indiana’s team but I want to make it New York’s team sooner or later, too,” the New City, NY native said with a smile.
Growing up just outside New York City, it was a different brand of basketball.
“I was raised with more dribble, more And One style, crossovers, get the crowd crazy, and that was the thing, if you crossed someone up everyone is going, “Ohhhh!,” but out here, it’s make the simple pass, make the jump shot, get points on the board, play defense. It’s more fundamentally sound. So, it’s different.”
Playing on street courts in Queens and the Bronx, the junior guard developed a Bulldog mentality.
“I think all my life, personally, I’ve been going through adversity. When I was growing up in New York I would always go down to courts in Queens and the Bronx, mostly the underdog, no one knew about me. So I had a chip on my shoulder, I had to have an edge just to show everyone I could play. So that has stuck with me the whole way up."
The gritty sharp-shooter became known as “The Prince Harry of Harlem.”
“It’s a funny nickname, it’s cool,” Jorgensen said with a laugh. “I tried to keep it quiet because I wanted to make my own identity out here but it stuck with me the whole way.”
One YouTube video of a teenage Jorgensen playing in an All-Star game got tens of thousands of views on “Inside Streetball.”
“When I was making these shots, you notice everyone, there’s no help side defense anymore,” Jorgensen said while watching the video again. “That’s when it got easy, there’s no help side, so I didn’t have to worry about anything, I just went to go play.”
It’s been an unpredictable journey for the transfer from George Washington that has now come full circle.
“This legendary program with all the history it has, the fact that it’s in the Big East now. I grew up watching the Big East, grew up going to the Garden, going to see Louisville, going to see Pittsburgh play, battling it out, and that was a dream of mine. So, when the opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer.”
And while it’s a long way from the streets of the City to the halls of Hinkle, the game remains the same.
“I think the great thing about basketball, and sports in general, when you’re on the court or on the field, that’s where the game takes over. And that’s the beautiful thing about sports, where you come from and the background you came from, I don’t think it matters as much because I think sports speaks one language. That’s the beautiful thing about it. Of course I’ve had a completely different upbringing than Kelan (Martin) or Sean (McDermott) growing up in Indiana and Kentucky, growing up in New York I did something totally different. But when you’re on the court, basketball is basketball every place in the world, so that’s the great thing about it.”