In 2008, before Henry Sims suited up for the Hoyas, an article on ESPN.com had this to say about the newly recruited center:
“The upside on this Georgetown commit is limitless. Right now he’s still a work in progress. He has a long and raw body that needs strength and development. He can shoot the jumper out to 16 feet. If he continues to work hard and learn the fundamentals (especially how to finish) of the game, he could be special.”
Nowadays, you won’t hear anyone describe Sims’s past on-court performance as “special.”
In fact, Sims’s play during his first two years at Georgetown doesn’t deserve any feedback that remotely resembles a compliment. Last season, for example, he averaged a meager 1.4 points and 1.4 rebounds per game and spent a little under seven minutes per game on the court.
As a result, I may be the only person on the Hilltop who hasn’t abandoned the Henry Sims bandwagon. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if his performance this season is as dismal as last year’s was. But I still believe that Sims can be special. He’s an agile, athletic, 6-foot-10-inch center with a wingspan that puts Stretch Armstrong to shame.
He can jump out of a roof and run the floor as well as most big men in the Big East. He possesses the ideal center’s body. Watch him play and you’ll see that Henry Sims is just as talented as most other players on the court. His movements are fluid. His jump shot is smooth. At his peak, Henry Sims can be a stud.
So what’s the problem? What is wrong with Henry Sims two years into his career?
Some fans believe Sims isn’t good enough to compete in spite of his build and talent. Others say he lacks the confidence needed to compete at this level. This is total, albeit plausible, conjecture—at times, Sims is tense on the court, which can lead to his mistakes.
But in reality, the issue is simply one of timing. For the last two seasons, time has not been on Sims’s side. In Greg Monroe’s shadow, for example, Sims’s playing time was inconsistent and coaches relegated him to the backup center position.
Now that Monroe has departed for Detroit’s pastures, however, his 34.9 minutes per game are up for grabs. The presumed starting center Julian Vaughn will pick up some of them, as will sophomore swingman Hollis Thompson. But Georgetown needs another big body to step up—and while freshmen Nate Lubick and Moses Ayegba may get their shot, Sims has the upper-hand since he has a two-year head start at playing the Princeton offense. In a complicated system like that, that extra time counts for a lot. Sims is ready to make his next two years really count.
“My first two [years], a learning experience, that’s definitely what they were. And yeah, they will definitely be different,” Sims said. “The next two years, I expect for myself a much harder work ethic and [to] be more focused.”
Sims has also had the privilege to play with and against Monroe for the last two years in games, but more so during practice.
“Whenever you get a chance to play against a lottery pick every practice, in and out, you don’t have any choice but to get better,” Sims said.
Sims is big, he’s talented, and maybe this year, he can finally prove to everyone that he is as good as expected and worth the wait. Maybe this year, there will be a new word that Hoya fans will use to describe his performance.