We all know Tommy Lloyd as one of the best recruiters in this sport. He has brought international talent to Gonzaga from all across the globe. He also manages substitutions and is Mark Few’s right hand man in terms of in-game adjustments. But what you may not know is possible superstition late in games. Some have already noticed that in the final minutes of close games, you won’t find Lloyd in his normal spot at the front of the bench. Instead, he’ll be behind the bench watching the game from the corner of the court. Here’s the most recent example from Joel Ayayi’s dagger against Washington.
JOEL AYAYI. DAGGER. pic.twitter.com/7xL71jRYGb— CBB Talk (@CBBSuperFan) December 9, 2019
I have researched all big Gonzaga games from the past decade to see where I can find the first example of Tommy walking to the end of the bench and the first time I see it is at the end of the Butler game in 2013. (Don’t watch what happens after this, though)
Every single big moment of the last five years, you will find Tommy Lloyd at the end of the bench. Not only is it fun to see this weird phenomena, but it also gives me an excuse to post and remember some of the biggest moments of the last five seasons.
In order: Rui’s game winner against Duke, Silas Melson tying the game against Florida in PK80, both huge shots against UNCG in the tournament, both huge plays against Ohio State late in the tournament, and Zach Norvell’s dagger vs Florida State last year.
And of course, we would remiss without showing the greatest example of this in Gonzaga history when Jordan Mathews hit the shot heard around the world and Dustin Triano tried to hug Tommy and he forcefully tried to fend him off.
So now we must ask ourselves: why does Tommy Lloyd enjoy the end of the bench in tight situations? Maybe he’s superstitious. He’s been at the end of the bench for all these good moments so now he must be there in order for Gonzaga to win. Perhaps he sees the play developing better from the corner of the court. He could just want to stay away from Mark Few in big moments in case he swears. Or maybe he just really enjoys the bench mob celebrations during big shots. Who knows! All I know is that it’s fascinating to watch and if he’s over there, you know it’s a big moment late in the game.
I would also like to point out that Tommy could not be at the end of the bench in the National Championship game because the bench was below the court. Instead, Tommy had to stand behind his seat in his normal spot, which, when you think about it, may have been the real reason we lost that game.
You may notice that Lloyd doesn’t really react too much when these baskets are actually made. But you know when he does react? When Gonzaga beats Washington. His two biggest fist pumps over the years have been Rui Hachimura’s buzzer beater, where he was uncharacteristically sitting in his chair, and the Joel Ayayi dagger on Sunday. Tommy Lloyd loves beating UW and we love Tommy Lloyd so much for that.