In all likelihood, the 2012–2013 season will be most widely remembered for three things: Season-long chaos near the top of polls due to a rash of upsets, a litany of buzzer-beaters and some truly epic celebrations from several teams’ bench-warmers.
While it’s nothing new for the bench to go nuts for a big play on the court, this season has represented the high-water mark when it comes to creativity after ex-Seton Hall player Peter Dill “started” the bench celebration revolution two years ago. Which team’s bench celebrations did we deem the best and most memorable?
Honorable Mention #1: Feed Me More!
“Feed me!” has become an overused celebration. What’s more, those who do the move look like they’re begrudgingly eating.
Kansas’ Rio Adams, on the other hand, looked like a starving man feasting on his first meal in a week during the Jayhawks’ 88-73 victory over Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament. And he looked like he was enjoying every bite.
Honorable Mention #2: A Cyclone of Celebration
There’s nothing quite like a comeback from a 12-point deficit with one’s tournament hopes on the line to spur a one-of-a-kind dance move.
When Will Clyburn’s 3-pointer tied ISU’s Big 12 tournament game with Oklahoma at 60 — a game that the Cyclones would eventually win, 73–66 — the whole bench exploded in delight. Of particular amusement was the high-stepper near the corner. Trust us, you can’t miss him if you tried.
Honorable Mention #3: Get Low
San Diego State fell to Florida Gulf Coast in the Round of 32 but Aztecs guard Chase Tapley left the tournament with his dancing shoes on. After an alley-oop of their own, Tapley was seen on the sideline in a defensive stance while swinging his arms up and down like a mad man.
#5: Dork-tacular 3-Goggles
We’re just as sick of the 3-goggles celebration as most other fans. But during Butler’s 68–56 win over Bucknell in the Round of 64, Bulldogs reserve Andrew Smeathers briefly made us forget about that.
There’s something so delightfully giddy and dorky about Smeathers’ take on the widely-used celebration. Big ups to the cameraman for capturing the moment when he did.
#4: The OU Air Band Experience
Ain’t no celebration quite like a coordinated celebration, especially if it involves air guitars.
When Oklahoma’s Romero Osby hit a trey to make it 48–36 against archrival Texas on January 21, it wasn’t enough for the Sooners to merely hold up three fingers in acknowledgement. Instead they took those three fingers, pretended it was the headstock of a guitar and started whaling away.
#3: Eagles on the Court, Chickens on the Dance Floor
Florida Gulf Coast is bucking a lot of conventions in this NCAA tournament. The Eagles are the first No. 15 seed to ever advance to the Sweet Sixteen. And against San Diego State in the Round of 32, they celebrated big plays and the big win with … the Chicken Dance.
Okay, so it is supposed to be an eagle. But at first glance it looks more like the dance that you used to do at birthday parties as a kid.
#2: Gonzaga’s Guitar Maestro
Freshman walk-on Rem Bakamus only saw 22 minutes of game time this season for Gonzaga. Yet chances are excellent that he’ll show up on highlight packages for the Bulldogs based solely on his air guitar performance in the Zags’ December game against Illinois.
Just as OU would do a month-and-a-half later, Bakmus took three fingers on his left hand, pretended it was a guitar’s headstock and started shredding an air solo. He even simulated having a guitar pick in his right hand. As hilarious as this moment was for Bakmus, he’s no doubt hoping for more playing time and less air guitar time in 2013–2014.
#1: Medieval Times
Between the two of them, Villanova freshmen Henry Lowe and Patrick Farrell saw the floor for just six minutes this season. They did, however, combine on our pick for the best celebration of 2012–2013.
After a big shot in the Wildcats’ 67–57 upset of then-No. 5 Georgetown on March 6, the pair of first years went into “medieval mode.” Farrell grabbed an air spy glass and directed it toward the court, while ‘Nova comrade in arms Lowe pulled back an air bow-and-arrow and “fired at will.”
When you spend all but six minutes of the season sitting on the bench, you have time to come up with things like this.