NEW YORK — Two weeks ago, Ra’Mond Hines was a student manager for the Georgetown men’s basketball team (15-17, 7-11 Big East). Wednesday night, he played at Madison Square Garden.
The six-foot, four-inch sophomore walk-on stepped on a court in a Georgetown uniform for the first time during the final seconds of the Hoyas’ 70-53 victory over DePaul (9-22, 3-15 Big East) in the First Round of the Big East Tournament. Though Hines had been suiting up with the team since the March 1 game against Marquette, he had not logged any playing time until Wednesday night.
“We had a lead with a minute left,” said Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III. “Let’s put him in the game. Let’s throw him in the Garden.”
Hines’ unlikely journey to playing at the Garden began when Thompson approached the young manager about suiting up with the team as a precaution before the Marquette game due to injuries and illnesses that sidelined sophomore forward Paul White and junior forward Akoy Agau for the season, senior center Bradley Hayes for six games, and sophomore forward Trey Mourning for one game.
With only eight healthy scholarship players remaining on the roster, Thompson turned to Hines, a Washington, D.C. native, who had last played as a shooting guard for Gonzaga Prep, where he played on the varsity team since his sophomore year. Gonzaga Prep is the same high school Thompson graduated himself.
“I’ve been around Georgetown for a very long time,” said a smiling Hines after the game. “I started off as a manager, and I got to know Coach Thompson, and he knew I played basketball at Gonzaga. And so from there it started off as just working in practice, playing defense here and there. And then, finally, one time he asked me to suit up, and that’s how it all started.”
“You’ve got to have him just in case,” said Thompson.
“God bless him, he works hard. Gotta remind him he’s a manager.” He chuckled.
“Our numbers kept dropping, kept dropping, kept dropping, and we needed bodies to practice,” Thompson continued.
Hines, who decided to put basketball aside to focus on academics at Georgetown, had never envisioned playing on the world’s greatest stage. The sophomore is currently pursuing an Economics and Government double major, along with an English minor.
“Coming out of high school, it was a lot about academics for me, so that’s why I picked Georgetown,” explained Hines. “It was a solely academic decision. That’s why it just makes it all funny, because I didn’t think I would come to Georgetown and suit up and be at Madison Square Garden.”
Still, when his name was called in the final minute against DePaul, Hines showed no signs of emotion. A blank No. 10 jersey calmly took the floor and focused on closing out the win. With his name and number not listed on the team’s official roster, he didn’t even receive a proper introduction from the public address announcer. But that didn’t matter to Hines.
“It was a big moment,” reflected Hines. “But I think, after playing basketball for so long, and being on a big stage before, it felt kind of at home a little bit.”
With the return of Hayes and Mourning, Hines’ brief career as a collegiate athlete may already be over. However, he isn’t worried. In fact, he’s thankful.
“God works in mysterious ways,” said Hines with another wide grin. “It’s crazy how it all worked out. Just coming to the school just to be a student, and finally being asked to be manager, and going from there to practicing with the team, then being asked to suit up, and then finally, Madison Square Garden, on the court. It was just a crazy series of events.”