Men’s basketball shows importance of the bench

It is safe to say the Loras men’s basketball team has some consistently impressive performers. Senior Mirko Grcic leads the Duhawks with 8.3 rebounds per game in addition to averaging 17.2 points per game. He recently joined Loras’ 1,000 Points Club in a matchup with Wartburg last week. Junior Justin VanWambeke leads the Duhawks in scoring with 20 points per game and assists with 3.4 per game.

While these two Duhawks continually amount for a large percentage of the team’s points, it’s important to have a deep field of talent on the team. There’s five players on the court at a time and even more waiting to get in the game. Having the ability to call on the bench to step up when needed is a crucial element to the Duhawks’ success.

In Loras’ 23 games this season, the team has averaged 19 bench points per game. As a whole, the Duhawks are averaging 74.3 points per game. That means that 25.6 percent of Loras’ scoring effort comes from their reinforcements off the bench.

Freshmen Demond George, Michael Mims and Danny Quinn are three Duhawks who have played big roles off the bench this season. The trio rank right behind the team’s leading scorers in points per game despite not getting as many minutes. George averages 7.1 points per game while Quinn and Mims follow with 5.1 and 4.6 points, respectively. The fact that they can score in less amount of playing time shows how skilled they really are.

It doesn’t stop with scoring, however. Quinn ranks fourth on the team in rebounds with 5 per game. Mims ranks fourth in assists with 1.6 per game. Finally, George is tied with VanWambeke to lead the team in steals with 1.6 per game.

Their impressive performances have even earned Mims and George the opportunity to join the starting lineup in some games. Mims has recorded two starts this season while George has 10. Quinn has appeared in all 23 games this year.

Whether they are first on the court or first off the bench, head coach Greg Gorton is pleased with their level of play this season. In a postgame press conference after a victory over Buena Vista on Saturday, Gorton had this to say about bench play:

“(Our bench) is so important because when Justin (VanWambeke) and Mirko (Grcic) are really good, we still need a third and fourth guy to step up.”

In addition to coach, fellow Duhawks have also recognized the significance of having a strong roster.

“There are times when our starting five starts out slow. It’s so important for us to have the players off the bench come in and provide a spark. George, Mims and Quinn have something unique in them in which they play with so much heart and intensity which is what we need,” Grcic said.

While these three Duhawks have stood out on the bench this season, every member of the team plays a certain role. No matter who sees the most action on the court, the relationship the team has is responsible for their success.

“To be honest, the whole bench plays a role, even the ones who don’t get in the game. They provide the energy and insight during the game which helps us players and coaches tremendously,” Grcic added.
Look for these Duhawks as they play their final regular season contest on Saturday at home against Simpson. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.

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