Tucker Eenigenburg possesses all the prerequisite skills to be a good junior college basketball player.
The 6-foot-3 Bakersfield College sophomore is a solid ballhandler and efficient passer. He is also a smart, steady defender.
But the one thing that sets Eenigenburg apart and makes him an outstanding player, instead of just a good one, is his exceptional ability to shoot the ball.
The former Stockdale High standout is one of the best 3-point and free-throw shooters in the state.
A year ago, Eenigenburg’s deadly long-range shooting helped BC win a second-straight Western State Conference South championship.
The Renegades’ season ended with a narrow defeat in the first round of the state playoffs.
This year, Eenigenburg hopes to lead talent-laden BC to another league title and postseason berth. He's currently averaging 15.3 points per game, while hitting 39 percent from 3-point territory (23 of 59) and 100 percent from the free-throw line (26 of 26). The Renegades stand at 6-4 on the year, heading into next week's Allan Hancock Holiday Classic in Santa Maria.
“We lost some sophomores who were very crucial to our success last year but we have five returners, each one very talented, so I’m really excited for what we’re about to do this year,” Eenigenburg said.
Eenigenburg, who was born in Dallas, Texas, grew up wanting to be a gridiron star like his father, a former Texas A&M football player.
But after moving to Bakersfield from Chicago just prior to starting eighth grade, Eenigenburg decided that he would rather spend his time in a climate-controlled gym shooting hoops rather than blocking and tackling in the scorching outdoor heat.
Eenigenburg spent his first two years of high school basketball working tirelessly on his jump shot while playing for the Mustangs’ frosh-soph and JV teams.
“My freshman year, I really started working on shooting with one hand instead of two,” Eenigenburg said. “My frosh-soph coach really helped me out with my shooting. But honestly, it was a lot on my own. I would just go out in my driveway and work and work and work and try and get that stroke down.”
Proof that Eenigenburg’s new shooting technique was working came after his freshman year when he scored 52 points in a Bakersfield Christian JV summer league game. By the time he entered his junior year, Eenigenburg had perfected his stroke and was one of the top players for a Stockdale squad that finished with a 20-7 record.
Eenigenburg suffered a catastrophic knee injury during the summer prior to his senior year of high school. However, he worked hard to rehab the injury as quickly as possible and missed only one game that year.
Despite not being 100 percent healthy, Eenigenburg played very well and was named second team All-Area.
Eenigenburg was recruited by Fresno City college, but after a two-week summer visit there he decided instead to enroll at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa.
He tried out and made the Lions’ basketball team, but before he could play any games had to have surgery for a shoulder injury that occurred snowboarding earlier that spring.
After a semester at Vanguard, Eenigenburg decided to come back to Bakersfield and focused on getting healthy so that he could return to the basketball court.
That return came last year when he made the BC team and averaged 10.4 points per game.
Eenigenburg ranked No. 1 on the Renegades in 3-point shooting (39.2 percent) and free-throw shooting (94.1 percent).
For his efforts, Eenigenburg was selected First Team All-Western State Conference South.
This year, Eenigenburg hopes for an even better season.
“My confidence is a lot more than it was coming into last year,” Eenigenburg said. “I think I’ve gotten a lot better at creating my shots. I’ve developed some different weapons in my arsenal. I’ve been working on refining all the things I did well last year and expanding on them.” ￼