Five Types Of Bench Players In The NCAA Tournament

Bench players rarely get the glory of a game-winning shot.  Yet the TV cameras often point to the bench and show the faces, dry from sweat, but dripping with emotion. There are specific types of bench players, no two the same.  Some are better at basketball, some are more camera-friendly and some don’t belong anywhere near a basketball court.

5. The (Bitter) Sixth Man

This is a guy who could probably start on most other teams.  In fact, he might think he’s good enough to start on his own team, but his coach won’t give him a break.

He’ll come off the bench and get significant minutes mid-game – he’ll probably even earn more minutes than one or more of the starters, but when crunch time comes around and the starting five return, this is the guy who will return to the bench.

Sure, he might be a class act and be annoying, but you know deep down he’s upset.

Example: DeAndre Liggins, Kentucky

4. Foul Trouble Guy

Big men accumulate fouls.  In a college game that only allows five fouls in a game, centers and power forwards often find themselves on the bench with too many fouls.  Teams need to keep a stable of big guys just to keep size on the floor.

Look down the bench of a college basketball game.  Any player whose head sticks above the others could see their playing time vary between 30 mins and DNP depending on the starting center’s self-discipline in a given game.

Example: Khyle Marshall, Butler University

3. The Enforcer

This guy could take two forms. The first guy is the one you want on your side in a fight.  Often doubling as the Foul Trouble Guy, The Enforcer is a beast who scares the bejesus out of the opposing team.

The second guy scares nobody. He’s the guy who keeps the Towel-Whipping Guy in line, for fear of the team earning a Technical — and he is often a veteran who is a coach among the players.  None of the players mess with him and he helps keep his team in line. He takes his job very seriously, for he likely earned the bench at least a warning in his more exuberant years.

Example: No one knows his name, he’s just the veteran senior you see on TV pulling all the young guns back

2. Towel-Whipping Guy

Your team just went on a 12-2 run.  The opposing team is dribbling the ball up court — but where are the cameras?  They’re turned to the bench where inevitably there is a guy who is whipping a towel around with a goofy grin on his face.

Say the Towel-Whipping Guy is watching the other team hit the game-clinching free throws.  Now it’s really his time to shine, last game of the season, he’s got to get one more appearance on TV.  So that same towel he’s been whipping around is now covering his face in the universal sign of despair.

Sure, fans watching on TV think he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and his teammates love him, but maybe he’s just an idiot willing to do anything to get his mug on TVs across the country.

Example: VCU’s entire bench when they beat Kansas

1. The Walk-On

This is a guy that could only dream of a scholarship on his club team.  When The Walk-On enters a game, he has the crowd behind him, willing him to put up a shot.  Finally, when he puts up the shot the crowd erupts and drowns out the clang as it hits off the front-rim.

Example: Ersin Levent, University of Maryland; Emerson Kampen, Butler

Special thanks to Jeff Krummel for his work on this post

Follow me on Twitter: @collinberglund

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