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Senior Week Highlight Reel: Tyler Adams

From making shots to calling the shots, the big man's role has evolved.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The narrative wherein a heavily recruited prospect improves the game of everyone around him, earns accolades for his leadership and wins the hearts of fans seems entirely too predictable. Except when it's not. Tyler Adams' story is unique, and there aren't too many places where it could have happened like it did at Georgetown. In an era where the self-interest of schools and the NCAA is dehumanizing amateur sports, his career is a fantastic example of how this basketball program gets college athletics right.

This senior class' first experience as representatives of the school was a goodwill trip to China in the summer of 2011. Our alma mater is heralded for its focus on diplomacy and international relations, but people are usually talking about the SFS...not our basketball team. It was the experience of a lifetime, though perhaps not in the way the administration intended.

Welcome to Georgetown, here's your first lesson: the people who are on your side will be the first ones at your side. No matter what. Adams was wearing a walking boot and still made it across the floor in three seconds flat, right alongside his teammates. The team instinctively had each other's backs - nobody needed to look at the person in the next chair before running onto the court. There has been no further need for chair-wielding, but that elemental solidarity has persisted throughout their time on the Hilltop. The connections that exist between teammates are evident, and it's why we become invested on a level beyond wins and losses. (It's why you're reading this.)


The team was unified by their experience. The level of trust that was forged would have taken much longer to develop under normal circumstances. Of course, trusting your friends can sometimes lead to interesting life decisions in college. Like when Jabril Trawick convinced Adams that a leaping slam OVER the 6'9" center's head was a completely reasonable plan for the annual Dunk Contest at Midnight Madness.


Having recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him in Asia, Adams appeared in a half dozen games his freshman year. We've gotten used to him looking impressively suave in a suit on the sidelines, but did you know that he scored 8 points and collected 6 rebounds against NJIT?

Only days later the school announced that he would be sidelined due to a heart condition. When asked about a potential return date, JTIII reminded the media that his health was paramount and that a timeline for getting back to the court was "irrelevant". Uncertainty about his status persisted through the beginning of the next season, when Coach Thompson ultimately announced that for health reasons Adams would not be on the active roster.

He would, however, retain his academic scholarship and remain a part of the team. That commitment has included every single game, practice, field trip, meeting and promotional appearance (4:30). The students and fans understand how lucky we are that he decided to stay.


No qualifiers should be used to describe Adams' role over the past four years. He has accomplished what is expected of players, our seniors: he has made the team better. He has worked hard, he has supported his teammates and he has become a leader. None of this has been done in a way that demanded attention, a fact that unto itself speaks to his level of maturity. On the individual level, that is how Georgetown Basketball measures success. It is how John Thompson Jr. defined his goals and how his son is carrying on the legacy.

In case you needed one more bit of proof of what a wise young man he is, his path to the Hilltop followed in the footsteps of Greg Monroe: Adams had originally committed to Duke before re-opening his recruitment and deciding to join the Hoyas. The coaching staff pursued him because they believed he would be an asset to the program. They were correct. Adams knows our game as well as anyone and has seen how hard the guys work. If things don't turn out as planned, he will sit down and talk it over. He's more familiar with that situation than anyone.


When one of his fellow players does something incredible, he's the first to his feet to share in the excitement, offer congratulations, and occasionally corral rogue freshmen from leaping onto the court. Attendees of the Rutgers game back in 2013 were treated to a spectacular high-kicking performance (top left) that rivals the abilities of our cheerleading squad. No judgments here - Otto Porter's emphatic put-back deserved to be celebrated.


Think of how much fans know about this team's performances, struggles, strengths and weaknesses over any given four year period. Now consider just how much more Tyler Adams has absorbed during his tenure of practices, film sessions and games. That comprehensive knowledge, combined with his ability to frame it from his perspective as a player, is invaluable.

In a recent interview with the Georgetown Voice, he described the second-coach role that he has taken on with members of his own class, saying, "With [senior forward] Mikael [Hopkins], we hang out a lot so I'm always giving him pointers, even when we're outside the gym, which probably annoys him a bit." He certainly gets right up in his face after Komrade rejected this shot against Indiana. And if that's congratulations, I wouldn't want to see what it looks like when Hopkins doesn't listen...


The younger members of the squad respect his authority as well. Remember Isaac Copeland's monstrous dunk last month? (Yes, I'm gratuitously posting this again. Deal with it.) In a post-game interview, the freshman credits Adams with encouraging him to finish strong to the basket instead of giving the defenders an opportunity to adjust for the outside shot. Ike is an athletic kid, but knowing that one of your peers believes you are capable of that can go a long way. That counsel could be given only because trust had been earned.


His dedication to helping his team succeed is incomparable, and never loses sight of the fact that the game is simple - it's all about getting the ball through the hoop. Adams' influence is the reason those points were scored, even though you won't see it in the box score. On any given night, if they're taking the shots because he's calling the shots, that's the definition of teamwork.

If Tyler truly has an interest in coaching, I hope this year isn't the last we see of him on our sidelines. Georgetown Forever, right?

Thank you, seniors. We'll miss you. And Hoya Saxa.