Over the course of the next week, I will be unveiling profiles of the Gold Bombers. The Gold Bombers is the self given nickname of the Gold Team in practice. Each day in practice, we divide the team into Black and Gold with the Black team made up of the starters and those currently in the rotation and the Gold Team being everybody else. The Gold Team serves as a pseudo scout team for us during practice and they take a lot of pride in their role. They may not play very much, but they work hard every day to make the starters better, and are a great group of guys. The current incarnation of the Gold Bombers is: Eric McClellan, Nate Watkins, AJ Astroth, James Siakam, Carter Josephs, Andris Kehris, and Alex Gendelman. I'll start off my series on the Gold Bombers with a profile on their leader: Nate Watkins.
Nate is the undisputed leader of the Gold Bombers. He bleeds gold and would do anything to keep up the integrity of the Gold Bombers or G4L (Gold For Life) Squad. Nate is the executive authority on who gets membership into the Bombers, and monitors all Bomber activity. He makes sure that there are no traitors in the mist thinking about jumping ship onto the Black team on any given day. The members of the team that go from Black to Gold and back, don't gain membership into this elite unit of walk-ons, transfers, and others. It is a motley crew of characters but nobody talks their role on the Gold Team more seriously than Nate Watkins.
While other players on the team are busy preparing for the Archie Goodwin's and Nerlens Noels of the world, Nate studies the tendencies of opposing walk ons who get playing time, and seeks to emulate them. Jarrod Polson of Kentucky has proven to be a potent inspiration for Nate this year. A walk-on actually playing major minutes, it's something Nate aspires to. He also looks at guys like Kikko Haydar from Arkansas and Skylar McBee from Tennessee, to see what his future holds. Nate makes no qualms about his dreams of playing in the NBA one day. He has a high basketball IQ, a semi-consistent jumpshot, and weighs about 180 pounds. Scouts are drooling over the potential he's shown in shootarounds and pre-game warmups.
While Nate dreams of going to the NBA, he also has a dream of being the Club Trillion leader. For those of you who don't know what Club Trillion is, it's a collection of walk-ons and end of the bench players across the country who compete for who can enter the most games with their only recorded statistic being minutes played. It is called a trillion because, the player has 1 in the minutes column then all zeroes, and the name was coined by former Ohio State walk-on Mark Titus who is like a God to Nate.
Nate is currently in the top 30 of the Club Trillion rankings, but well behind the leader: Baxter Price of Mississippi State. Due to injuries and suspensions, Miss St's available players have dwindled for each game, so Baxter has been playing minutes but not recording stats (he hates to shoot). On February 23rd, Nate got to compete with Baxter in the last 2 minutes of our game vs Miss St. Nate dominated the match-up clearly intimidating Price. It was the first step in Nate's conquest of the Club Trillion leaderboard, and what makes him so perfect as captain of the Gold Bombers.