Australian sharpshooter is a boost for East Grand Forks Sacred Heart
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.--Jordan Tomkinson isn't a shooter who toes up to the 3-point line, trying to reduce the distance of the long-range shot. The East Grand Forks Sacred Heart High School junior prefers setting up a few feet behind the 3-point...
EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn.-Jordan Tomkinson isn't a shooter who toes up to the 3-point line, trying to reduce the distance of the long-range shot.
The East Grand Forks Sacred Heart High School junior prefers setting up a few feet behind the 3-point line before launching.
"In Australia, we used the college 3-point line, which is deeper than the high school line,'' Tomkinson said. "And I like to shoot a step back from behind the line. So people might think I'm shooting deep. But I'm comfortable with that range.''
Tomkinson is two years removed from Australia. He moved to Grand Forks prior to his sophomore year in school when his father, Grant, took a position at UND. After attending Red River High School as a sophomore, Tomkinson transferred to Sacred Heart this season and has flourished.
Heading into Monday night's game against Red Lake County, the 6-foot-2 sharpshooter was averaging 27.2 points and was 44-of-113 (38.9 percent) on 3-point attempts.
The distance of the 3-point shot is just one part of the game to which Tomkinson has had to adapt. Size versus physicality is another difference Tomkinson notices.
"At Red River last year, we had four kids who who were 6-6 or taller,'' said Tomkinson, who speaks with a noticeable Australian accent. "Over there, you never saw that. You weren't as cautious taking the ball to the basket because there wasn't that size.
"Australian basketball may be a little tougher, though. There was more hitting going on. It was a lot more physical.''
There is more to Tomkinson's game than just long-range bombs. He uses a variety of shots around the basket-a running floater, a fadeaway jump shot pushing backwards off one foot, banking hook shots and jump hooks.
"They're used down there (in Australia). Coaches taught me those shots,'' said Tomkinson, who has a high of 44 points in a game and three other 30-point games. "Coaches tell me I have some quirky, unusual shots. You never know what defenses will give you. I'm not a super great jumper. I'm not going over guys, so I have to outsmart them.''
That shot selection is the difference in the game from different parts of the globe, Eagles coach Destry Sterkel said.
"We see those moves, those shots, night in and night out from Jordan,'' Sterkel said. "He has a European, an Australian style of game. It's not as flashy as American basketball. But he understands that a pump fake, good footwork, good fundamentals, will get you good shots.I think that's rubbed off on other players on our team.
"Defenses are throwing a lot of things at Jordan. He's got to move without the ball, run off screens, do things to get open. He's proven he can score from anywhere.''
Still, for Tomkinson, the biggest change he's seen in the atmosphere. In Australia, most of the sport is played in a club rather than a high school.
"You'd only play on Saturdays,'' Tomkinson said. "Other than parents and maybe a few friends, nobody came to watch.
"The energy wasn't the same. It's a lot higher here. You have parents, students, bands at games here. The reaction from fans during a game, that doesn't happen back there. It's a lot more exciting to play basketball here.''