SIU basketball managers compete in league of their own - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

SIU basketball managers compete in league of their own

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Just like any well-oiled machine, it's the moving parts that you don't see that are working overtime to make sure everything is running right. That's the responsibility of the SIU Basketball team managers, or as they call themselves, the SIU Man Squad.

"In four years, I've gone from scout player, just stat in live practice, filming practice, wiping up sweat, filling water bottles, changing shoes in the locker room for the guys. Really whatever the team needs," said SIU senior basketball manager George Brandon.

"I'm pretty much just an everything guy. Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to do it. Some days, I'm doing stats, some days I'm working camera, some days I'm on the clock. It's just where-ever I'm needed, I'm just there to fill that position, and do what needs to be done," said SIU senior basketball manager Tom Dalton.

Last year, the managers became a crucial part of the team, even filling in spots on the floor at practice when the injuries began to pile up.

"It was a struggle in the beginning, but eventually, you learn and catch on, and do it. And then this year, I've already learned everything from last year, so it's just like second nature," said Dalton.

"I see it as critical, and it being that high in my mind makes it that much more important to get everything. It makes it that much more enjoyable, knowing that it needs to happen, and get everybody where they want to be at the end of the day," said Brandon

But it's not always behind the scenes for the Man Squad. The night before games, the Man Squad takes the floor against the opposing team's managers.

"There's actually a Manager League that goes on, and everything you get, wins/losses, is reported back to the manger games, and you get a ranking in the nation and everything like that," said Dalton.

"Oh yea, that's probably the most important part of it. Getting to go out there and hoop, and gets some buckets yourself," said Brandon.

There's even an Arch Madness tournament for managers at the MVC Tournament in March, but to be victorious on the big stage, the managers have one major rule to success on the floor.

"Life lesson number two, don't play with the SID, get you two losses off the bat," said Brandon.

The manager games are just an added perk for guys that have dedicated their life to basketball.

"It just gives you that much more to focus on, and it helps when you have guys like our team, because they will check in with you every morning, ask how the game went, or hype you up as you're heading out the hotel to go play, and then if it's a home game, they'll show up and watch the game," said Brandon.

And when the manager's game is done, it's back to business for the Man Squad, lending a hand where they see fit.

"If you need help, just ask for it. There's always someone, somewhere, that can help you, or knows someone that can help you get whatever you need to get done, done, said Brandon.

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