INDIANAPOLIS – Taking away something you love can fuel the desire to reclaim it all the stronger and that seemingly is what has occurred with Butler redshirt junior guard Paul Jorgensen.
After having to sit out last season following his transfer from George Washington, Jorgensen is making up for lost time by having a strong summer. That continued Sunday in the Bulldogs' latest exhibition game in Spain.
Jorgensen scored a team-best 20 points to lead Butler to an easy 85-51 win over Arcos Albacete Basketball Club in Albacete, Spain.
The win was the second straight for the Bulldogs, who are halfway through their 10-day, four-game trip overseas.
“He has stood out early,” new Butler coach LaVall Jordan said of Jorgensen recently. “He is in tremendous condition – maybe the best shape on the team.”
Jorgensen was the only Bulldog player to play more than 21 minutes Sunday and he hit 4 of his five 3-point attempts, which was not an anomaly this summer during workouts and the practices leading up to the trip, according to Jordan.
“He has shot the ball extremely well,” Jordan said. “In scrimmages, his assists-to-turnovers are high.”
Jorgensen pulled down eight rebounds, as Butler jumped on Arocos Albacete early and often.
The Bulldogs took a quick 24-10 lead and eventually stretched that to 52-21 at halftime.
“I thought we came out with really good energy,” Jordan told Butlersports.com following Sunday's victory. “We started the game well defensively and that led to some transition baskets.
“You never know how you are going to respond after a day-long travel and what we had to go through (Saturday). So I was really pleased with the start.”
The fact that Jorgensen has demonstrated a solid assist-to-turnover ration in workouts this summer is a huge bonus for Jordan's program. Butler doesn't return a guard whose primary responsibility was to handle the basketball and run the offense, so the play of Jorgensen will be vital to any success that the Bulldogs have this upcoming season.
“What we learned (in the two exhibition games), especially with our guards,” Jordan said, “was just how to manage the game better. We started well and locked down and now it is time to execute in the middle of it.”
Butler shot 45 percent in Sunday's win, while holding Arcos Albacete to 39 percent shooting, including a meager 25 percent in the opening half.
“(Sunday's game) became a little bit of a track meet,” Jordan said. “Through film study and through our education with our guards on how to manage it and make sure that we are getting the shots that we want and not letting the other team control the pace of the game.”
Sophomore guard Henry Baddley added 13 points on 5 of 6 shooting, while senior forward Kelan Martin chipped in nine points and as many boards.
“They changed up some defenses,” Jordan said of Arcos Albacete, “and tried to speed the game up and we allowed them to do that. That is an area where we will grow.
“We have an attacking mindset, but also need to know when we want to slow down and control things.”
Also contributing in Sunday's win were senior center Tyler Wideman, freshman forward Christian David and redshirt freshman Joey Brunk, who each scored seven points, while Brunk and junior center Nate Fowler added seven rebounds apiece.
Sophomore guard Kamar Baldwin dished out five assists for the Bulldogs.
Butler traveled to the city of Valencia following its game Sunday and is spending a couple days along the Mediterranean coast.
“That has been the most enjoyable part,” Jordan said. “The basketball has, no doubt, been fun, and our guys are learning. But knowing the type of young men we have, they are taking it all in and embracing every opportunity to learn. Guys are really engaged on each opportunity to learn, whether that is on the court or with the tours and experiences.
“That is what we want.”
Butler will play the Valencia All-Stars at the Pabellon Municipal de Godelia Tuesday at 1 p.m. (Eastern).
Butler makes cut with Henry
One of the top 2018 recruits in the Midwest has narrowed his lengthy list of suitors to five and Butler made the list.
Ben Davis High School senior forward Aaron Henry has been offered by a multitude of high-major programs following his strong play on the summer circuit last month, but he announced on Twitter Sunday that he would choose between Butler, Michigan State, Illinois, Xavier and Ohio State.
He took an unofficial visit to Butler earlier this month.
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