Name | Jordan Tolbert
Height / Weight | 6’-7’’ / 225
Position | Power Forward
Year | Junior
Sophomore Stats | 23 mpg, 54.2% FG, 56.5% FT, 5.5 rpg, 9.9 ppg
Freshman Stats | 23.9 mpg, 52.1% FG, 71.9% FT, 5.7 rpg, 11.5 ppg
One word comes to my mind when watching Tolbert get the ball down in the paint and stuff it home… BEAST! At only 6’-7’’ he plays much bigger than his height because of his strength. During his freshman year it only took a few games for Tech fans to realize the amount of power that Tolbert possessed. When he goes to the hoop, he goes with force that very few can actually stop. Because of this he started to gain recognition from other Big 12 teams and coaches during his frosh campaign. It is an incredible sign of respect when the opposing team’s defense is instructed to focus their frontcourt players strictly on Tolbert. But, the downfall for Tolbert is that now he is being targeted by the other guys. It has been a challenge for him to get the easy open looks down low he was getting his freshman year.
Last season was rough on Tolbert in many different ways; though his sophomore slump can be attributed from a multitude of events. Before last season even began his father passed away after suffering a heart attack. More on this tragic story can be found by clicking on the following link to an excellent write-up by Nick Kosmider when he was with the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal… “Jordan Tolbert rediscovering heart for the game in wake of tragic loss”. Trying to cope with his loss along with other teams focusing their frontcourt attention on him was not easy. Tolbert actually dropped in rebounds per game and points per game from his star freshman debut. To most fans he didn’t seem as aggressive down in the post, but I believe the extra attention from defenders he was receiving hindered his ability more than a lack of effort on his part. As the season went on the Tolbert of old started to emerge. The last half of the year he started pulling down more rebounds and putting more shots in the bucket. It gives confidence he is back on track to have a wonderful junior year.
We all know Tolbert is going to be a monster in the paint this season. He usually starts games at the 4 spot, but gets a heavy load of minutes at the 5 spot because of his dominating strength at the post. I actually love it when Jaye Crockett is playing the 4 and Tolbert is at the 5. Our team could be very dynamic at the post positions with both these guys playing together on the court because it would stretch the floor tremendously. Tolbert is not a traditional center, but he does play better with his back to the basket. He needs to improve his mid-range face-up game and he will be unstoppable. Also, Tolbert needs to learn to avoid foul trouble. He would have been in the games for much longer last year if he wasn’t always getting whistled for violations. He averaged 3 fouls per game; this will definitely need to go down. Tolbert is a main ingredient to the recipe that Tubby Smith and staff will be cooking up to have a winning season. He is one of our best players, and many fans think he is our best player. He needs to be on the court as much as needed without the influence of fouls being the determining factor for sitting him on the bench late in the game. Coach Smith, maturity, and experience will be in his favor to help cut down on his fouling troubles.
Jordan Tolbert will be a beast at the post, and I expect his numbers to go up from his freshman and sophomore years. He has the skills to finish at the rim and box out for boards with anybody competing against him in the Big 12. I'm excited to watch him play and see what he will do… Wreck ‘em Tech!
VTMers I need your help. I'll be doing a few more player spotlights leading to the upcoming season (Jaye Crockett is the only other one currently on my list)... who else would you like to see have a player spotlight write-up?