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The Bryon Jansen Story


Jansen in pre-game warmups. (John McDonnell - TWP).

The last time Georgetown played a postseason basketball game, Bryon Jansen was sitting in the stands. With Georgetown's student fan club, the Hoya Blue. Yelling.

"I was going crazy, yeah, jumping up and down," he said.

Did he paint his face?

"Oh, I always had face paint, right under the eyes," he said.

Did he chant "Hoya Saxa?"

"Absolutely, yeah," he said. "Everything they did, I did. I had my blue wristbands and all that."

Which means that yeah, he painted his chest, too. He was the "H" in a bare-chested "Hoyas" during Georgetown's 2007 NCAA tournament run.

"They're gonna make a movie about this guy one day," his now-teammate, Roy Hibbert, said today. "No, seriously," Hibbert insisted.

Hibbert and the Hoyas returned to the postseason today with a 19-point win over Villanova in the Big East quarters, and this time Jansen was on the bench, in uniform, not from the spot of his one moment of college basketball glory. Jansen, who walked on the team this fall, remaining scoreless until a Jan. 30 game at Madison Square Garden, when he banked in a three-pointer to provide the final margin, shooting from a corner spot that he'll never forget.

"I know exactly where it is," he said. "I was looking at it today,"

Some program insiders still refer to Jansen as the all-time leading three-point shooter in MSG history, and teammates are fond of recalling that shot.

"We went crazy," guard Jonathan Wallace said. "Everybody went crazy. He went crazy himself. We were happy for him. Look at what he's came from. You yourself said it: he painted his chest, and then making the team and coming out and hitting the shot in the mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden? It's something that he'll remember for the rest of his life."

Jansen, to briefly go back, was a solid four-year letter winner, defensive MVP and valedictorian at Seattle Christian. He got a few feelers from sub-Division I programs, and considered trying to walk on elsewhere, but settled on a basketball-free career on the Hilltop.

"And it was about two weeks in when I realized, 'I really want to be a part of this program,' " he said today. "I really missed basketball. I love basketball, and when I saw how special the program was they have here, I really felt like I'd regret it if I didn't give it a shot."

So he won an intramural title as a freshman, e-mailed program staffers as a sophomore, soon began helping out with practices and game stats, and was eventually invited to join the post-practice huddle toward the end of last year.

Meantime he still followed the team as a fan, taking buses to all of Georgetown's NCAA tournament games. For the Final Four, that meant sleeping on the floor during a 12-hour ride to Atlanta--" I mean, it's more comfortable than sitting on a chair for 12 hours" he said--and packing a basketball so he could practice his dribbling in the hotel parking lots. Sometimes, his friends from the student fan group would play parking-lot defense.

And then his junior year rolled around, and he became a real walk-on, and instead of cheering from the stands he was actually sitting on the bench. Which didn't mean he wasn't still using his training as a fan.

"I try to cheer just as loud," he said.

"The first guy off the bench cheering when we make plays," DaJuan Summers said.

"One thing about Bryon, he always keeps me positive," Pat Ewing Jr. said. "Last game against Louisville, I had six turnovers and I was really down on myself, and he's sitting there, 'Pat man, you know, you're playing great!' And I'm like, 'Bryon, what are you talking about?' "

Some teammates know about Jansen's chest-painted past; others do not. All have nothing but good to say about him; "the nicest guy you'll ever meet," Hibbert said. Like Hibbert, the 6-foot-6 junior is majoring in government, with minors in economics and theology; he has a 3.85 GPA and is currently looking for summer internships. And his first postseason experience?

"I mean, it just feels right to be a part of this," he said. "That's what it was my freshman year: I didn't feel right. I love Georgetown, I absolutely love Georgetown, but I felt like I wanted to do something more. Everything just feels perfect since I've been here, and I just love to be a part of this."

He sometimes nearly joins the Hoya Blue during their in-game cheers on instinct, "but I resist the temptation," he said. And any face paint?

"When I'm with the team, I'm focused on being a part of the team and making the program look good," he said with a smile. "Not like that. Draw as little attention as possible."

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 13, 2008; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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Next: Should Terps Accept NIT Bid?

Comments

He probably has a jealous a-hole older brother and is friends with an overweight Jon Favreau too.

Posted by: Dave | March 13, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

b-money! doin big things. love u kid.

btw ladies he's single, get at him.

Posted by: D | March 14, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

b-money! doin big things. love u kid.

btw ladies he's single, get at him.

Posted by: D | March 14, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

I kinda wanted to see UVa and UMD in the CBI together, but I didn't imagine a Maryland/NIT post did I?

Posted by: sitruc | March 14, 2008 1:38 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff Steinz. Can't believe this kid's story hasn't been told before

Posted by: thediesel | March 14, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's not that I don't like Byron, but, well to be perfectly honest, I'm just having some trouble getting past the face painting.

Posted by: Ryan | March 14, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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