An inside look at Washington basketball’s junior forward from New Zealand.
Moving from a starting role to coming off the bench can impact a player; they could find themselves disillusioned with the game, unsure of who is holding what against them. They can also become disillusioned with the team, finding themselves wishing they could play for someone else, perhaps a school who could use their talents in a bigger role. What a coach would hope happens after moving someone to the bench is that they understand the decision, accept their new role, and continue to put in work.
Enter Sam Timmins.
Coming into this Huskies season, Timmins hadn’t had much experience coming off the bench. In his freshman year, he started over half of the games for then-coach Lorenzo Romar. The following year, he started all 34 under Coach Mike Hopkins’ regime. This year, that’s changed.
Timmins effectively played himself out of a starting role during the early stages of the non-conference schedule. In the five games he started this season, Timmins averaged two personal fouls and scored less than a point in 9.8 minutes per game. Between this and the emerging talent of Hameir Wright – Wright had 4.0 points, 4.4 boards, 2.4 blocks over the same five games coming off of the bench – it’s quite easy to see why there was a change in the Huskies lineup, with Timmins now starting the game off of the court.
We’ve all had our own private frustrations with Sam Timmins. During the televised broadcast of the opening game of conference play against Washington State, Lamar Hurd of the PAC-12 Network had this to say following a missed layup,
"“You’re 6’11! Forget about the left handed layup, you have got to dunk that ball! You’re 6’11, dunk on somebody”"
This past road trip seemed to help turn over a new leaf for the junior forward. Following the Washington State game, a game that saw Timmins not find the bottom of the basket even once and, save for a a single rebound, had an entirely empty stat sheet at the end of the night, he may seemed to have found himself. Timmins tallied four points, seven boards, two steals, and four blocks against Utah. He did so on two of three shooting from the field, with all of this coming in eleven minutes off of the bench. This was an absolute textbook case of wanting it more and putting in the effort to give his team a better chance at winning.
His next game at Colorado didn’t boast quite as remarkable of a statsheet – four points, one rebound, and an assist in 15 minutes – but this is still a step in the right direction for the big man. Now, those numbers look great, but it’s also very easy to simply see he’s playing better basketball-
Coach Mike Hopkins said in a press conference, “I said this at the beginning of the year, that we have six, seven, maybe even eight guys who could actually start for our team”. Until one of those precious spots opens up on the starting lineup, Sam Timmins will look to continue to impress off the bench for the Huskies.