By BRIAN FITZSIMMONSSpecial to ZAGSBLOGSPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Fans flocked to the 2013 Spalding Hoophall Classic on Sunday afternoon hoping to witness the immense talents of Indiana-bound forward Noah Vonleh.
Well, the New Hampton School (N.H.) senior wasn’t his usual dominant self thanks to foul trouble, but many college coaches still had a golden opportunity to scout two undecided prospects: senior point guard Travis Jorgenson and junior forward Tory Miller.
Even though the Huskies wilted in the waning minutes of a wildly entertaining, 55-47 loss to Andrew Wiggins and Huntington Prep (W.V.), Jorgenson certainly increased his stock among a bevy of Division I coaches. The 6-foot, 165-pound floor general registered 13 points, four rebounds and four assists, helping an undersized New Hampton team trade punches with one of the top programs in America until late in the fourth quarter.
With the 6-foot-9 Vonleh strapped to the bench for all of 16 minutes, the Huskies held the high-octane Express to 36.4 percent from the floor and forced 12 turnovers. Jorgenson was a big reason for such pressure.
“I think we played well and they played well,” said Jorgenson, who committed to his native Missouri in Sept. 2011 but then decommitted this past October. “A couple bounces didn’t go our way, so give them credit.”
Jorgenson has visited Creighton, Georgia Tech and Boston College, and he said Tennessee and Purdue just recently became involved. Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin was in attendance at the game for both Jorgenson and committed point guard Travon Landry of Huntington.
“I like the relationship with Creighton,” he said. “I like the way they play, fast tempo. I love BC, because they’ve been getting better every year, and all the coaches at Georgia Tech are really nice. I’m just trying to figure out the best situation.”
Meanwhile, Miller claims he is no stranger to hard work, and he proved that sentiment while defending Huntington Prep’s 6-foot-10 Baylor commit Dominic Woodson and 6-foot-9, 290-pound Moses Kingsley, who is headed to Arkansas.
After all, he is the youngest boy of 10 siblings.
“Growing up, I’ve always had to fight somebody for something,” he laughed after notching 10 points and 10 rebounds against Huntington Prep.
Miller holds offers from Arkansas, Colorado State, Minnesota and Nebraska, while maintaining interest from a plethora of high-level schools such as Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.
The 6-foot-8, 245-pound Miller used his bubbly personality to liven up a quiet postgame, acknowledging his strengths but also pointing out his weaknesses.
“I don’t even know where to start with the weaknesses,” he cracked. “The stupid fouls; I’ve got to get to the line more; I have to finish more around the rim. Seriously, though, I’m feeling very confident around the rim. I’m also playing harder.”
Miller remembers his childhood days, watching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal help the Los Angeles Lakers clinch three straight NBA championships from 2000-2002 and the lessons he extracted from the dynamic duo.
“Play hard,” he said. “I mean, I’m no Kobe or anything, but I learned to play hard.”
Miller also realizes he projects to play forward in college, so as he continues to guard opponents bigger and stronger than him, he is trying to adjust.
“That’s the transition I’m trying to make,” he said. “I’m 6-foot-8, and I’m used to going up against guys with much more size. I’m learning, though, and it has, without a doubt, made me tougher.”’
Photo: Brian Fitzsimmons
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.