O’Rourke’s basketball shooting has SF State off and rolling

With a game as unique as his name, San Francisco State University’s Phoenix O’Rourke is making huge strides in his senior season.

Averaging more than 27 minutes per contest, O’Rourke has been a key contributor to the early success the Gators have enjoyed. Off to a 5-2 overall record and perfect 3-0 mark in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the Gators have hopes of finishing atop the league.

In order to do that, they’ll rely heavily upon their senior shooting guard to help make that happen.

O’Rourke, a San Mateo native and graduate of Serra High School, has enjoyed his career playing close to home at S.F. State.

After turning down opportunities to play at the likes of Cal State East Bay and Dominican, O’Rourke decided he wanted to play for the Gators.

“It’s real close to home,” O’Rourke said. “It’s extremely beneficial for my family, who enjoys watching me play, and I get to go home whenever I want. There’s no real downside at all.”

There has been no real downside to O’Rourke’s play this season either. He is amongst the nation’s leaders with a 3.83 assist-to-turnover ratio. During the Gators’ first seven games, O’Rourke has compiled totals of 23 assists and just six turnovers. In addition, he is shooting a robust 38 percent from beyond the arc.

He was named to the all-tournament team at the Notre Dame de Namur Thanksgiving Classic in Belmont, where he led the Gators to a 2-0 tournament record. He leads the team with 11 steals thus far, and 3-point field goals made with 17. He also finds himself moving up the S.F. State all-time ranks as he is currently third on the career list with 135 3-pointers made.

With a vast array of attributes on the court, shooting from long distance and facilitating the offense are not what he considers to be the most significant parts of his game.

O’Rourke points out his awareness as the commodity that sets him apart from other players.

“I feel my basketball IQ is the No. 1 thing I count on the most when I am on the court,” O’Rourke said. “I’ll be the first to tell you I am not the greatest ball-handler out there; however, I try to make up for that with my anticipation and mindfulness of what’s happening around me at all times.”

Majoring in business marketing, O’Rourke is unsure of what his plans are when he graduates from S.F. State.

“I’d love the chance to play overseas,” he said. “However, that’s much easier said than done. It would be nice to travel and play basketball for a living.”

If he is not given that chance, O’Rourke has his mind set on becoming a San Francisco police officer.

“I know it has nothing to do with my major, but joining law enforcement has always been something I have been interested in. If that does not happen, I guess I will have to find something more to do with my major.”

Whatever it may be, if O’Rourke puts forth the effort he has for the Gators in his four years, he will be successful regardless of the career choice he decides upon.

Phoenix rising

9.7 Points per game Phoenix O’Rourke is averaging this season

19 Field goals O’Rourke has made

17 3-pointers O’Rourke has made

38% O’Rourke’s 3-point percentage (17-of-45)

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