Torin Dorn feels good about the way he’s shooting the basketball. So good, the N.C. State guard is not worried about jinxing it.
“I’m just relaxed right now,” Dorn said. “I’m in a confident place with my shot.”
As well Dorn should be with the Wolfpack (5-2) slated to take on Boston University (4-3) on Saturday afternoon (4:30 p.m., Fox Sports Carolinas) at PNC Arena.
Dorn is making 64 percent (48 of 75) of all his shots and the sophomore from Charlotte has made 12 of his past 17 3-point attempts. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t considered a strong outside shooter when he transferred from the Charlotte 49ers after his freshman season in 2014-15.
Dorn’s FG percentage ranks fourth in the ACC and tops among guards. He’s second on the team in scoring (17.3 points per game) and third in rebounding (6.4). His 3-point percentage for the season, 56.5 (13 of 23), ranks fifth in the ACC.
Dorn was expected to do a little bit of everything for the Wolfpack this season. He sat out last season after transferring and was a fixture on the end of the bench with Dennis Smith Jr. and Terry Henderson.
But while Smith (knee) and Henderson (ankle) were recovering from injuries, Dorn was able to make the most of his time off.
“Here’s a guy that plays hard and has a great attitude and gets better and better,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “Surprise, surprise!”
Dorn focused on fixing his jumper. He actually missed his first 3-point shot of the season and his second and five of his first six. But since the second game of the Paradise Jam tournament in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Dorn has been on fire from 3.
Here’s a guy that plays hard and has a great attitude and gets better and better.
Mark Gottfried on Torin Dorn
Dorn’s improved outside touch didn’t come by accident.
“He put in lot of work, I give him a lot of credit,” senior guard Terry Henderson said. “It’s not surprising to see.”
Dorn led the 49ers in scoring (12.0 points per game) as a freshman. He made 34.2 percent of his 3s (27 of 79) and 56.6 percent of his 2-pointers (120 of 212) at Charlotte.
But Dorn wanted to improve his 3-point numbers. He worked with assistant coach Rob Moxley on his form last year. Dorn adjusted his release point to get more arc on his shot.
“My release point was a little too low, a little too flat,” Dorn said.
So Dorn worked on getting his elbow higher. And then he worked some more.
“Torin is always in the gym,” Gottfried said. “He works at it.”
There was no set routine or minimum number of shots.
“I would just shoot until I felt good,” Dorn said. “Sometimes that was 200, sometimes that was 500, sometimes it was more.
“I think that all of those hours in the gym paid off.”
Yes, but not from the very beginning of the season, at least not from the 3-point line. Dorn is super athletic at 6-6 and 205 pounds and can use his strength to get a rebound on one end of the floor and his speed to get to the rim at the other end. He is pretty crafty with a Euro-step around the basket, too.
But a 1-of-6 start from the 3-point line inspired a pep talk with his dad, Torin Sr., a star football player at North Carolina and the NFL in the 1990s.
When the elder Dorn taught his son how to play basketball, he started with a popular shooting drill. You start one step away from the basket and shoot with one hand. You pick a spot on the front of the rim and drop the ball over the rim into the net. Take a step back and repeat.
Dorn recently went back to the drill his father taught him. He finished up practice on Thursday with a series of one-handed follow-through shots from different spots on the floor.
“It has been like I’m a kid again, shooting in the backyard,” Dorn said.
He has made it look that easy, even if it hasn’t been.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio
Boston at N.C. state
When: 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh
TV: Fox Sports Carolinas