Backdoor Cuts: Hoya bench keeps it cool

February 11, 2010

The Georgetown men’s basketball team bench has been criticized all year. It contributes less than 25 percent of minutes played each game and only averages nine points per game. Apart from Hollis Thompson, our bench players are applauded when they manage to give the starters a rest without messing things up. How can the seventh best squad in the country have a bench that seemingly contributes nothing?

First of all, the Hoyas have an amazing starting five. Every starter is capable of scoring 20 points on any given night, which makes having a good bench less important. But maybe the bench isn’t as bad as we think it is.

It’s easy to look at box scores and judge a team, but paper only says so much. In any sport, a team’s success isn’t solely based on skill. The intangibles are also important. Chemistry and overall attitude play a huge role in a team’s success. Georgetown students witnessed this first-hand last year when a team loaded with talent couldn’t put it together, eventually crashing because of bad chemistry. This year, the chemistry is completely different and every player brings a positive attitude to the court and the locker room—the bench is an integral part of that change.

The prime example of how the bench affects the team is Henry Sims. Sims averages eight minutes a game, but has seen those numbers dwindle since Big East play started, usually only coming on to the court during garbage time. Fortunately, he hasn’t let the lack of playing time affect him. Instead, he is embracing his role, cheering his teammates on and getting the crowd pumped up. Last week during warm-ups for the Villanova game, Sims was so thankful to all the students who showed up for the game that he ran into the student section and danced with fans, inciting a frenzy that lasted for the whole game. When Sims came into the game in the last minute, fans showered him with cheers, wanting to see him succeed.

Sims’s playful attitude also helps his teammates stay loose during the brutal Big East season. The social networking site Twitter has provided the 6-foot-10 center with plenty of ways to joke around with his teammates. MajesticOne30, as he is known on the website, loves making fun of his teammates, saying Jason Clark “lives heavily on his mood rings” and “owns several pair of Victoria Secrets ‘PINK’ sweatpants.”

Sims’s attitude has seemed to rub off on his younger teammates as well. The rest of the bench has embraced their role, cheering on the starters while waiting for JTIII to call their names. They too elicit cheers from the fans when they step onto the court.

This playful atmosphere was something that the team really missed last season.

Although it is easy for everyone to be happy when the team is winning, the positive chemistry has helped the most after painful losses. Every loss this season has been followed by an emphatic win—a huge improvement over last year’s seemingly endless string of defeats. As the season goes on and the bench continues to get criticized, remember that basketball is more than just a game of numbers; the bench might just be our secret weapon.

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Nice one brother!
Miss you. Let’s plan a time to catch up soon.
We’ve got a 2nd baby girl coming next week. We’re adjusting to TX quite well but miss our NYC family. Thinking of you lately and hoping to reconnect soon.
Your Older Brother,