When the 2017-18 campaign ended for the Binghamton men’s basketball team, it was unclear what direction the program would take. With former forwards Willie Rodriguez, ‘18, and Bobby Ahearn, ‘18, graduating and pursuing professional basketball careers abroad as well as former guard Fard Muhammad rather abruptly transferring, BU head coach Tommy Dempsey was left with a core of two — senior forward Thomas Bruce and graduate student guard J.C. Show.
Show, a 6-foot-3-inch Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania native, has been instant offense since transferring to Binghamton two years ago. After averaging 13.3 points per game while only appearing in 12 contests in his inaugural season, Show followed up with 13.8 points per game while improving both his free throw percentage and 3-point percentage as the team’s starting point guard. Although he has typically taken over the team’s playmaking duties throughout his career, Show expects to see more time at the two due to the addition of freshman guard Sam Sessoms.
“Talking with Coach Dempsey, I will be playing a little more off the ball,” Show said. “If I need to play off the ball … I’m just going to go out there and listen to the coaching staff and do what they ask me to do, and do it to the best of my ability.”
Sessoms, along with junior guard Richard Caldwell, Jr. and graduate student forward Chancellor Barnard, headline the new faces Show will be sharing the hardwood with. Considering the tumultuous season the team had last year, a new group of Bearcats in the locker room and on the court already appears to have had positive effects on the veteran guard.
“It’s great to be putting something together with these guys and take it one day at a time,” Show said. “With a lot of new guys, you get back to the basics and you focus on a day-by-day approach. There’s more excitement and energy. There’s a lot of people that are either new to the team or college basketball at the Division I level in general.”
With a lackluster 2-14 record in conference last year, there is certainly no shortage of areas of improvement for this team. In the absence of glass eaters such as Ahearn and Bruce, who is recovering from a concussion, Show is well aware that he will have to shoulder a heavier load in the rebounding department. Even though he only averaged 3.7 boards per game last year, the shorthanded frontcourt will undoubtedly look to Show to corral long rebounds for the time being.
“As far as areas we need to improve, I would say our rebounding,” Show said. “We’re going to be a little undersized until some of the bigger guys get back, so we have to make a concerted effort not just relying on the guys playing the post positions, but also as guards, we need to get involved on the defensive glass especially.”
Although struggle would be an understatement to describe how BU performed in America East play last year, the team did pick up quality victories in the nonconference portion of the schedule. Wins over Colgate and Army featured Show commanding the offense as he posted 19 points and 16 points, respectively. Even though those programs do not even come close to matching up to the national powerhouses such as Michigan and Notre Dame, whom the Bearcats are set to face off with later in the season, Show is focused on one game and one game only until then.
“Anytime you get the chance to play on national television and play against a high major school like that, it’s an opportunity,” Show said. “But, I’m dead serious, we’re focused on getting ready for the first game because we want to be in a good position win-loss wise when we get to play those games. So, if we look straight to those, then we’re going to miss opportunities before that.”
Despite drastic changes in the starting lineup, as well as the general makeup of the team, it will definitely be interesting to witness how the team responds. As the captain of this squad, Show seems unwilling to let anything come in the way of Binghamton’s success on the court.
“At the end of the day, we are all here because we want to help Binghamton win basketball games,” Show said. “Nothing else comes before that. As long as we keep that mindset, we’ll be fine.”