For a teen moving from Las Vegas, rural Pahrump can be quite a culture shock.
For transfer student Antonio Fortin, that was his reality last year.
“My mom bought some land out here and told me we were moving,” Fortin said. “When I first came out to Pahrump I was kind of in shock and I was confused at first. I mean there isn’t much to do out here.”
Fortin is a transfer basketball player from Arbor View High School, which is one of the top academic and athletic schools in Las Vegas. As a sophomore, he had to sit out a year to comply with Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association rules so this is his first year playing for the Trojans as a junior.
Fortin has given his team an offensive shot in the arm. He currently averages 15 points per game with a career high this year of 32 points, which he said he shot in the Hawthorne tourney in December.
As a freshman, Fortin made the junior varsity squad at his old school.
He said he has been playing basketball since he was five-years-old and that basketball was his life.
When he was nine or 10, he started playing his first competition basketball.
“I started playing club ball in middle school and now have been on the same club team for the past five years,” he said.
For Fortin there is no break from basketball, it is something he plays all year long and he said because he is home schooled it allows him to spend more time in Las Vegas playing ball.
“I have more flexibility in my schedule and it is easier to come out to Las Vegas for games and practice,” Fortin said. “My goal is someday to play college ball and play ball overseas.”
He said when he plays the game it is nothing but fun.
“I play with confidence,” he said. “I am so confident that I feel I can get to the basket every time regardless of who Pahrump plays. When we play bigger teams I try to find a way to the basket and I play hard to the last minute.”
He says the last couple of years have been good for him.
“I have really matured as a player in the past two years,” Fortin said. “But there is room for growth.”
Fortin prides himself in being a ball handler.
“My ball handling skills lead to better things,” he said. “It definitely is my best aspect of my game.”
His team attitude comes through in the games. During the Western game, he drove the ball down in the fourth quarter and there were only two defenders ahead of him and one other teammate, Cory Bergan, who was down the court from him. Fortin could have kept the ball himself and easily gone in for the layup, but instead passed the ball to Bergan, who made the layup.
“Everyone has a part on this team, not just one person,” Fortin said. “Everyone plays a role on the team.”
His coach, John Toomer, likes the way Fortin adds to the team.
“Tony has been a great addition to our team,” Toomer said. “He is a team player and works very hard to make the rest of the team better.”
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org