The Manager’s Playbook

Photo by Brighton Kamen

A cursory glance at the basketball court during a collegiate game indicates ten players and a handful of referees. On the benches, coaches yell out adjustments while assistants dutifully prepare a whiteboard for planning.

But in this chaos, a set of important figures can be forgotten all too easily.

After all, not every person on the Tech women’s basketball team plays on the court. For every practice and game, there are two student managers refilling water, looking after the referees, preparing the locker rooms or making sure the lights come on.

“It’s a little more than a glorified towel holder,” said Jacob Greenspan, a second-year BIOL from Marietta, Ga. Greenspan was involved in the Tech basketball program last year as part of the practice squad until he became a student manager, while Quincey Lowery, first-year graduate ME, joined in the fall of 2016.

“When I tell people I’m a student manager, the first thing they’ll say [is], ‘So are you like the towel boy or the water boy?’ and stuff like that,” Lowery said. “That’s kind of what I thought it’d be like, because I know had friends who did managing in high school, and that’s kind of what they had to do. But it’s a lot more than just passing out towels or giving water. … We have to set
up practice, and we do a lot of running around on game day, making sure the [referees] have everything they need, getting the locker room set up for the away team, and different things of that nature as well.”

Lowery, whose background before coming to Tech was in football and track, had always wanted to learn about basketball and maybe become a coach someday.

“I saw the flier in the [student] union and emailed JP [Josh Pastner]. Shortly after, I had an interview and kind of just wanted to feel like a part of the university since I was a new student here, and I’ve been here ever since,” Lowery said. “My biggest concern before coming to the part of the team, I mentioned to JP, was feeling like a part of the team. They definitely make you feel like you are part of the team as well. I know like after the game, we’ll all high-five.”

With nearly 30 scheduled games per season and time commitments of around 12 hours per week, the student managers keep the team running smoothly from behind the scenes.

“Typically, we arrive around an hour before practice and set up the court,” Lowery said. “Whether it’s basketballs, pads for practice, for [practicing] hitting the players, getting the lights turned on, getting the music ready for practice. Also, we pull out the couch’s board for Coach Jo [Tech women’s basketball coach MaChelle Joseph] as well as get her water and anything else the players might need for practice.”

While practices may be a time commitment, home games are all-day affairs and away games can take up two entire days, meaning that sometimes the student managers have to miss class. The key to balancing a hectic Tech schedule with managing a basketball team, Greenspan said, is time management skills.

“I feel like as a manager I’ve really developed my time management. …You gotta start early. You can’t let the work pile up, because managing does take a significant amount of time,” Greenspan said.

“Basketball-wise, I’ve been able to pick up a few things — a few strategy things, like how to cover a triple-switch. I had no idea what a triple-switch was before this,” Greenspan added.

Still, the job is not without its perks. Greenspan most enjoys just being around basketball, and his favorite moment of the season so far was Tech winning the Junkanoo Jam in Bimini, Bahamas against Dayton and Missouri, while Lowery’s favorite moments were winning games against u[sic]GA and Syracuse and the whole team participating in the mannequin challenge, Greenspan and Lowery included.

“I’m just grateful to be a part of the team,” said Lowery. “I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it, because of the time constraints between the intense work at Georgia Tech, but I’m working on balancing everything out, just getting work done early. It’s exciting to be a part of this team. When you see these girls play, you feel like you’re on the court with them. So when we’re at the games, we’re right behind the bench, right there, cheering them on.”

For the rest of the season, they’ll do just that. Although their names will be scarcely mentioned, Greenspan and Lowery are members of the team.