Tim Tebow and Georgia State’s winning streak

This will appear in Saturday’s paper, but I thought I’d go ahead and post it now:

“Tim Tebow” is one of the reasons behind Georgia State’s seven-game winning streak in basketball.

Coach Ron Hunter said without “Tebow,” the Panthers wouldn’t have a chance to tie the school’s longest win streak when it visits Utah Valley on Saturday.

Hunter’s “Tebow” isn’t the one who signs off on Twitter as GB2 (God Bless and Go Broncos), but there are some similarities.

His Tebow is James Fields, good-naturedly described by Hunter as one of the least athletic guards he has ever played. But, like the NFL’s Tebow whose perceived lack of skill is offset by 7-1 record as a starter, Fields has a certain quality his coach loves.

“He can’t shoot, he can’t pass, he’s not really athletic, he just knows how to win,” Hunter said, half-jokingly. “Everyone laughs [when I call him that], but that’s who he is. Since he’s been back, we’re 7-1 and I’m not ashamed to say I’ll call him that every time. I’ll call him out, ‘It’s Tim Tebow time.’ I love him. I swear I love the kid.”

During preseason planning, Hunter thought Fields would come off the bench and play a maximum of 12 minutes a game. Hunter’s assumption was partially based on Fields’ career averages of 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds per game his first three seasons, mostly spent as a reserve under former coach Rod Barnes.

But then practice started and Hunter began to notice that, in various competitions, whichever team Fields was on always won. Always.

“He’s one of those guys that you realize you can’t win without him,” Hunter said.

Fields didn’t agree with his coaches “no pass, no shot” description – though one of his teammates smiled without commenting when asked if his coach was accurate — but he did agree that he’s pretty good at winning.

“I’ll do whatever I can do to win,” he said.

Fields played just 16 minutes in the season-opener against Washington before suffering a strained groin. Without Fields, the Panthers lost that game as well as the next two in the three-game event in Seattle.

Fields missed the home-opening win against McNeese State but recuperated and returned for the game at Samford. Put back into the starting lineup, he missed all four of his shots and had just one assist – supporting his coaches’ description — but the Panthers won.

His stats, just like those of Tebow, the current Sports Illustrated cover boy, are somewhat pedestrian. Fields is averaging 8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4 assists per game. But his value lies on the other end of the court: he’s especially good at defense. So much so that Hunter entrusts him to make most of those calls.

During the three-game losing streak, the Panthers allowed 80.3 points per game on 49.2-percent shooting. During the seven-game win streak, the Panthers are allowing 49.4 points on 32.6-percent shooting. Hunter and the players recognize that William and Mary, which they beat 66-34, isn’t to be confused with Washington, which beat them 91-74. But they also recognize that they aren’t just squeaking by opponents. They are beating them by an average of 24.3 points and some of those games were over by halftime, an accomplishment that didn’t occur often during the last three years.

“It’s a whole different style of play,” Fields said. “We are flying up and down. It’s a whole different type of defense.”

Fields has yet to inspired any kind of phenomena like “Tebowing,” in which one celebrates by taking a knee and praying. When Fields shoots a 3-pointer, his coach usually does the opposite of praying – he jokes he starts screaming, “No, No, No.” It happened in the win against Florida International.

Of course, when the shot dropped, Hunter started screaming, “Good shot, good shot, good shot,” prompting everyone on his bench to start laughing.

“He’s just a winner,” guard Jihad Ali said. “He just finds a way to win. He’s always poised. If the game gets close, I look at Fields and he’s prepared to make the next play.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

32 comments Add your comment

STATEment

December 16th, 2011
8:53 am

I have enjoyed watching Fields play over his career. He is the tough nosed type of player we need!

quan

December 16th, 2011
9:23 am

James Fields is amazing. Unbelievable passion for the game, high energy, great decision making, the kid is a true leader. Met his brother this year at the games and I can tell you he is a winner, and comes from good stock. His family should be very proud of him and he will definately make us proud long after he graduates. If he decided to go public, i would be in on his IPO. As far as the nickname, pretty cool but I think it ought to be tenacious D!!

Five for Friday, December 16th

December 16th, 2011
9:27 am

[...] Georgia State Basketball has their own “Tebow”. Read why first year Head Coach Ron Hunter calls James Fields his Tim Tebow. [AJC] [...]

gsu01

December 16th, 2011
9:56 am

I’ll be the first to admit I never truly appreciated his value to this team until this season. I was in Seattle for the season opening tournament at UW. He got hurt in the first game and if we had him for that entire trip then this team is probably 10-1 right now. Great defender and this season he’s showing some game on the offensive end.

[...] Tim Tebow and Georgia State’s winning streak – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

GSUBB

December 16th, 2011
10:15 am

Nice job Doug, really enjoyed this one.

If you ask me, the whole team are winners, with a great leader.

Really excited how the rest of the season plays out. Big test in Utah tomorrow night.

Steve

December 16th, 2011
12:28 pm

Don’t compare him to Tebow. Tebow is VERY athletic…strong and fast. His throwing mechanics aren’t good, but the man is a heck of an athlete.

Panther08

December 16th, 2011
12:34 pm

GREAT read Doug!

JacketFanMarcus

December 16th, 2011
1:05 pm

So why did Georgia State decide to steal Georgia Southern’s acronym – GSU? It’s very confusing to read a headline and know which GSU they are talking about.

Why can’t Georgia State be Ga State, like Tech is Ga Tech????

Another Jacket Fan

December 16th, 2011
1:13 pm

JacketFanMarcus, GA State has been called GSU for at least the 40 years i have been in Atlanta.

Panthersville.com

December 16th, 2011
1:39 pm

Fields did have 15 points against URI….so he’s got to be able to shoot a little ;)

Groundhogday

December 16th, 2011
1:57 pm

[i]So why did Georgia State decide to steal Georgia Southern’s acronym – GSU?[i]

Georgia State achieved university status in 1969…….Georgia Southern in 1990.
Google “GSU” and see which comes up first.

Flash

December 16th, 2011
2:02 pm

Enough people all ready A lot of people pray everyday that play sports dam Tim tebow should pray he is getting a chance to play .Wow what a blessing Brady and the boys has a blessing for him on sunday a royal ass whipping.

Itsmeagain

December 16th, 2011
2:15 pm

Actually jacketfanmarcus, Georgia southern literally stole it from GSU. Georgia State University had been considered GSU since I believe 1969 when it became a university. When southern decided it was going to become a university, they had the option of becoming “University of South Georgia” bit instead decided to opt for Georgia southern university. They know what they were getting into at the time and are now dealing with that consequence.

Doug Roberson

December 16th, 2011
2:25 pm

Earlier I had a note on top of that blog saying I posted this story early for GSU Super fan Mr. Bray. I took that down because I realized it could be seen as me poking fun. The intent was the opposite. I actually admire his fervor for his school and its teams. So, just wanted to clarify that.

Nick Bray

December 16th, 2011
2:51 pm

No harm Doug. All in good fun. I asked and you delivered hah…

itsmeagain

December 16th, 2011
3:39 pm

Bray… You have his attention… See if you can get a link back to the blog on the top of the main sports page:]

Stateside

December 16th, 2011
5:19 pm

Enter your comments here

Stateside

December 16th, 2011
5:20 pm

Hmm…something funny going on here…I just want to comment!

GeorgiaState1913

December 16th, 2011
5:30 pm

During games, I always hear people calling James Fields “Boom” or something along those lines. I’m guessing this is a nickname that goes way back?

Who Cares?

December 16th, 2011
5:40 pm

@itsmeagain………………is your sole purpose in life to always post comments about the fact Georgia State should be the only GSU? Sure – Ga State has been a university longer, but nobody cares. When Ga Southern “stole” it, they actually made it a house hold name in this state for anyone that followed football. I don’t recall ever hearing about people in 1976 talking about “GSU” sports.

Nick Bray

December 16th, 2011
5:52 pm

A household name? If it is a household name then why does every Southern fan feel the need to shove it down our throats they are GSU?

This is 2011 not 1976. GSU is in Atlanta and Southern is a ditch somewhere in South GA…

itsmeagain

December 16th, 2011
6:02 pm

@who cares

You’re on a Georgia State blog complaining that nobody knows who your school is and demanding that people refer to you as GSU… A blog in the largest city in the southeasts largest newspaper runs a blog on us (as GSU) and you’re telling me nobody calls us GSU? Logic is clearly not your strong suit…

Who Cares?

December 16th, 2011
6:08 pm

When did I complain nobody knows who my school is? And who even said I went to Southern? Reading is clearly not your strong suit…….

Nick Bray

December 17th, 2011
1:07 am

So stop bringing up pointless information about pointless schools. Solves that problem…

Nick Bray

December 17th, 2011
1:07 am

Plus you just called them Southern after saying they were GSU. I thank you for proving my point…

GSU_MEX_ALUM

December 17th, 2011
12:32 pm

If anyone wants to watch the game tonight go to WolverineGreen.com and you can watch a live stream!

Go Panthers!

jweaver

December 17th, 2011
4:48 pm

Definitely tuning in to this one. http://www.uvu.edu/uvutv/

Can’t wait to welcome the GA Sots to downtown on Thursday!

SouthernSucks!!

December 17th, 2011
6:26 pm

HAHAHAHAHAHA GEORGIA SOUTHERN SUCKS!!!! LOSERS!!!!!

AgentOrange

December 17th, 2011
9:58 pm

GSU Football rules!!!

GSUUSOCCER

December 18th, 2011
12:21 am

@jacketfanmarcus People also refer to Georgia Tech as GT, just like they refer to Georgia State as GSU…I figured a GT fan who might possibly even be a grad could figure that out.

No name stealing here, just using our given name & initials…pretty common sense stuff

Nick Bray

December 18th, 2011
3:53 am

Eight wins in a row! Southern- you are next on the menu…