MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Common sense tells you it shouldn't have happened. He's 5-8 with his shoes on. He weighs 140 pounds soaking wet. Football got most of the attention at his high school.
Make of those things what you will. Just know that none of them mattered in the end.
On Wednesday night, Jan. 2, Penn State Harrisburg's Jordan Gatchell (Manheim, Pa. / Manheim Central) took a fairly routine free throw attempt and made it unforgettable. Sinking the foul shot late in the first half of the Lions' game against Lebanon Valley, the senior point guard became just the fourth player in program-history to score 1,000 points for his career.
For those who know the young man, it really shouldn't come as a surprise. The Manheim native has been torching the net for years. As a senior at Manheim Central, he eclipsed the 1,000 point mark. He's still the second-leading scorer in school-history. In 2007-2008, he led the Lancaster-Lebanon Boys' Basketball League in scoring, averaging and incredible 22.6 points per game.
At Penn State Harrisburg, he's had to change his style. Gatchell became a floor general, running the the Lions' up-tempo offense and dishing-out assists with relative ease. Perhaps most impressive about his achievement is the fact that he did it while creating shots for fellow members of the Blue and White's 1,000 point club in Kenton Alston and Steve Jones.
Gatchell played three years with Alston, the school's all-time leading-scorer, and two with Jones. With both men now gone, he's taken on a much bigger role offensively and currently leads the team with a scoring average of 12.5 points per game.
Soft-spoken and a natural attention-deflector, Gatchell isn't one to toot his own horn. On the bus ride home from LVC, he chatted briefly with team manager Martika Porr. After being congratulated on his accomplishment, the team captain responded in true Jordan Gatchell style.
"Thanks," he said. "Did the girls win?"
Gatchell and the Lions will next be in action this Saturday, Jan. 5 when they host North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) foe SUNYIT.