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Jones, Timmermans enjoy final home experience

Matt Lozar | Friday, March 5, 2004

After three years of being role players for the Irish, it was fitting to watch seniors Torrian Jones and Tom Timmermans leave their home court to a standing ovation on Senior Night.It was an opportunity for Jones and Timmermans to get the acknowledgement they deserve from all the fans that have watched this duo develop into leaders for the Irish in their senior season. For three years, Jones and Timmermans were the ones Irish coach Mike Brey sent into the game to get the seniors on their last night at the Joyce Center.Thursday night, it was their turn to watch from the bench as the final seconds ticked away.”I just got to see my career culminate and come to an end,” Jones said. “I got to watch us win on our home floor in my last game.”It makes everything I did here worthwhile.”That’s the message Brey wants his younger players, who aren’t getting 30-plus minutes each night, to hear and remember when things aren’t going as well as one hopes.Timmermans had practice battles with quality players – Troy Murphy, Harold Swanagan and Ryan Humphery. Jones’ list is comparable – David Graves, Matt Carroll and Dan Miller. Jones and Timmermans sat on the bench watching the stars of previous Notre Dame teams lead the Irish to NCAA Tournaments. The duo, now as seniors, is trying to lead the Irish on a late-season run at being selected for their fourth NCAA Tournament bid in as many years.Unlike past years, Brey isn’t looking at his seniors to score a combined 35 points per game and be the ones who must make the shots down the stretch. These seniors know and understand their roles for the Irish.Thursday night Jones did what he did best – shut down an opponent’s leading scorer as he held Georgetown’s Gerald Riley to 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Jones, who said he wouldn’t come out of his offensive game, did take 11 shots in trying to make his last home game a memorable one. His coach wasn’t surprised after the game.”He knew he had me hostage tonight,” Brey joked.Timmermans maintained his inside presence on defense – pulling down eight rebounds – and sat in the middle of the Georgetown zone, passing out of the high post to the open man. Just looking at the box score doesn’t reveal what Jones and Timmermans mean to the Irish. That’s not what these two seniors have been about in their careers. Jones and Timmermans understand playing in-your-face defense, battling down low for the rebound and getting on the floor for a loose ball is how they help the Irish win. “I told the younger guys in the locker room that you should look at these guys, some of you guys that aren’t playing, these are guys that have paid their dues and it’s all working for them as a part of a very good team,” Brey said. You don’t see guys like that, I’m really proud of how they’ve handled their careers. Now they are taking advantage of a bigger opportunity and really deliver.” The fans recognize how hard these seniors have worked in their careers while wearing a Notre Dame uniform. Timmermans feels the crowd’s standing ovation when Brey called a timeout to remove him from the game shows he “finally has that respect that I’ve worked for over the last four years.”Jones thanked the same appreciative fans for a memorable four years and told the student body, “We’re making a run at the NCAA Tournament, and we need you behind us the entire way.”Then Jones and Timmermans went into the front row of the students, interlocked arms and swayed to the alma meter.Thursday night was their time to have the spotlight shine on them. And they deserved it.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Matt Lozar at [email protected]