KOBE Paras and other Creighton freshmen have mostly watched from the bench as the Bluejays got off to a hot 10-0 start.
But they’re no ordinary benchwarmers or spectators at all, especially for the stars of the team.
Paras has played just a total of 47 minutes in 10 games while fellow former high school star Davion Mintz has seen five minutes less of court time. Yet they have made a significant impact with their animated sideline celebrations, according to the Creighton starters.
“Every time we score, they’re doing a celebration on the sideline. It’s really hyping us up,” senior guard Maurice Watson told Omaha World-Herald’s Jon Nyatawa.
“I really don’t think those guys get enough credit for what they do on the sideline,” he added of the positivity Paras and company bring with their spontaneous celebratory acts.
For his part, Paras said the starters are paying back their efforts with some encouraging words — like ‘you got this’ or ‘just keep playing hard’ after missed shots or other botched plays — as they adjust from being stars in high school to bench players, at least for now.
Meantime, Paras is going all out in lifting the team morale in any way he can.
“It’s great that what we do from the bench can spread to everyone. I want to be there for my team. I want to be there for my team. Every timeout, I’m going to sprint out on the court. High-five them. Just bring energy,” he said.
But that’s not all Paras and the rowdy Creighton freshmen are up to these days. Nyatawa shared that the Filipino guard was running sprints after practice on Sunday (Monday, Manila time) to work on his conditioning.
The Filipino guard is also working on all aspects of his game, from shooting, rebounding, to playing defense and becoming a leader on the court.
In other words, the freshmen bench mob may look like they’re having too much fun at courtside but they’re all business in trying to stay sharp as they wait patiently for their opportunity — something Creighton coach Greg McDermott has been preaching to them.
“Make sure you’ve prepared yourself in case your number’s called,” said McDermott.