Oct. 7, 2014
By Matt Winkeljohn
The Good Word
When Travis Jorgenson got the “All Clear” recently, Georgia Tech’s point guard nearly leaped for joy. It’s been a long time since he tore his right anterior cruciate knee ligament against Dayton last fall and he believes that rehabilitation has strengthened both legs to make him a better leaper.
So he wanted to throw down monster dunks.
OK, that last part is a bit of exaggeration, but Jorgenson’s feelings about returning to practice can hardly be understated. He was ready to levitate.
“I feel like, I’m obviously not a leaper, but I feel like I can jump higher,” he said. “That was one of the best days. Ten months felt so long, and I was so excited to play again.”
In three-plus games last season, Jorgenson’s numbers were modest in 19.5 minutes of playing time per game, as he put up 4.3 points and 2.5 assists.
His scrappy nature was difficult to miss, yet that may not have been the “real” TJ. Fans may be pleasantly surprised to see that he is doubly-upgraded.
“When I’m on the court, I don’t think about it at all. I feel like I’m playing well,” he said of his present state. “Before I tore [the knee ligament], I wasn’t 100 percent anyway. I had a hamstring so I wasn’t moving as well as in preseason practice. I feel really good right now.”
There is some sorting out to do on this roster as Tech aims for its Nov. 14 season opener against Georgia in McCamish Pavilion.
Beyond Jorgenson, Heyward and Heath in the backcourt, freshman Tadric Jackson, a 6-2, 217-pound guard with a Trae Golden-esque penchant for scoring, and junior shooting guard Chris Bolden (6-3) will factor in the mix.
Heyward, who was coming off two knee surgeries last season, and Bolden have each forged trimmer bodies and Bolden is determined to rebound after a disappointing sophomore season followed a surprising freshman campaign.
It won’t be an upset if Jorgenson becomes the player most often called upon by head coach Brian Gregory to trigger the Jackets. The soft-spoken young man from Columbia, Mo., has a knack about him, a tendency to glue teammates together.
He’s medically cleared to do everything although coaches are limiting his repetitions.
“In practice we will have him on a pitch count more or less,” Gregory said. “He’s been really good. His explosiveness is back. His feel for the game is still there. He learned a lot in that season off due to the injury. I like where he’s at right now . . . we were a much different team without him last year, there’s no question.”
Jorgenson is making noise again, albeit with his hustle and grit.
“I’m fully cleared but just trying to work my way in, not pushing too hard [every] day,” he said. “I’m going to try to push the ball, get guys the ball. I don’t know what my vertical is, but I’m moving pretty well. Once I get the soreness out, I think I’ll be quicker laterally, too.”
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