Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Jericho Sims heats up as March Madness gets underway

Jack Myer

For senior forward Jericho Sims, the all-important month of March seems to have brought new life.

Prior to this month, Sims averaged 8.2 points per game. Since flipping the calendar, Sims is averaging 11.7 points per contest, including a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds in Thursday’s win over No. 16 Oklahoma. After the standout performance, Sims credited his team for making him a priority on offense.

“I think the guys really do a good job (getting me involved) in the really big games down the stretch getting closer to the (NCAA) Tournament,” Sims said following the win on Mar. 4. “If I can stay in the game and not foul out, … I think that’s good for us.”

Despite Texas’ guard-oriented offense, Sims is integral on the floor from the opening tip. The Longhorns often run a simple pick and roll on their opening possession, trying to get Sims going with an easy look.

More often than not, the play runs like clockwork and Sims gets an easy slam dunk.

“We make an emphasis of getting him the ball inside early and often,” sophomore forward Kai Jones said on a Monday teleconference. “There aren’t many people, I think, that can deal with (his) force.”

Sims displays some of the most eye-popping feats on a roster chock-full of athletic players. The 6-foot-10-inch senior is an anchor for the Texas defense, with an innate ability to cover guards once switched onto them.

“I think it’s all about team defense,” Sims said following the Oklahoma game on Mar. 4. “It takes everyone. No one guy can go out there and just guard them (the opponent) by themselves. “

Coming to Texas as a top-100 high school recruit from Minnesota, Sims was a quiet freshman who needed development. As a senior, he’s still very soft-spoken, but his growth over the past four years is evident in his play on the court.

“He was just always in a shell his freshman year,” senior guard Matt Coleman said in a Monday teleconference. “I think as he got older, he became a lot more confident. … He's still like that, but he has grown a lot from freshman year to now.”

Despite his athleticism, Sims has struggled at times to make the expected impact. He struggles constantly with foul trouble, forcing him to sit on the bench for extended periods of time, and often doesn’t record 10 shot attempts in a game.

Over the course of his career, in games that Sims has recorded at least 10 shot attempts, he averages 14.5 points. When he does not hit the double-digit mark, his average drops to 6.2 points. Head coach Shaka Smart said Sims has tried to improve in these areas over his career.

“That’s a huge key when he gets two fouls early in the game,” Smart said following the Oklahoma game on Mar. 4. “It's a little bit of a dark cloud because it affects the rotation and being able to get him in and keep him in. … Over the course of his career, it's not always been easy to get him 10 shot attempts.”

Despite the shot attempt number, Sims appears to be rounding into shape at just the right time for the Longhorns. The rest of the Texas team knows they will need his contributions in postseason play.

“He’s coming into his own,” junior guard Courtney Ramey following the Oklahoma game on Mar. 4. “We need that for our team. It makes it harder for other teams to prepare for us and guard us.”

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About the Contributor
Matthew Boncosky, Sports Editor
Matthew is a senior studying journalism and previously covered football, men’s basketball, volleyball and swimming and diving. He is the "undisputed" ping pong champion of the basement.
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Jericho Sims heats up as March Madness gets underway