Itís time for Dennis Mims to grow up.
Techís sophomore forward, who has developed a nice collection of low post moves this season, has also compiled an equally large collection of stupid, critical technical fouls and emotional outbursts. This is the quandary with Mims: his scoring and rebounding skills keep the Hokies in games and even win games for Tech, but his inability to control himself has arguably cost his team two much-needed wins, maybe three.
Mims got started early on his technical foul collection this year, picking up one in each of Techís first two games. He behaved himself for a while after that, but then in late December, in the midst of a heated home battle with West Virginia, Mims lipped off to WVUís Brooks Berry and got slapped with another technical. Tech lost the game by three points, 61-58.
Mims again went for a long stretch without an explosion, but in Techís recent road loss to St. Bonaventure, he had to be restrained by Tech guard Brian Chase from slugging the Bonniesí Tim Wynn. Referee Duke Edsall cut in and grabbed Mims, who miraculously didnít earn a technical foul with his actions. Tech went on to lose the game 61-54.
And now this. On the road, facing rival GW in a must-win situation, Mims again loses his composure and donates two points plus a ball possession to the opposition with a silly outburst.
The incredible thing is that the WVU and GW technicals were not crimes of passion. Mims didnít lash out during play. Instead, both fouls were earned as he ran his mouth during a lull in the action. In the case of the GW game, Mims had an entire timeout to cool off, but it wasnít enough.
Mimsí four technicals on the season are two-thirds of the team total. The only other technicals the Hokies have are from Rolan Roberts, who picked up one each in the Xavier and UVa games.
Perhaps the next time Mims misbehaves, Coach Ricky Stokes should earn his own technical Ė by yelling at his own player. Stokes benched Mims for a long stretch after one of his early season technicals, but it doesnít appear to have made much of an impression on him.
The thing is, Mims has Stokes by the short hairs, and both men know it. If Stokes pulls Mims from a game or benches him for a game to teach him a lesson, the Hokies, who are short on talent, will probably get blown off the floor. Mims is a difference-maker, and on most nights, heís the best player Tech has on the floor.
But with this loss to GW, Techís slim NIT hopes are all but down the toilet. Tech is 12-13, with four regular-season games remaining, and two of those are against A-10 powers Xavier and Dayton. Now that the question of postseason play has more or less been settled, and the answer is no, perhaps Stokes can take decisive action against Mims if he acts up again.
Because apparently, technical fouls and losing basketball games isnít getting the point across to Dennis like a nice cozy seat on the bench and a tongue-lashing from his coach would.
Will Stewart is the founder and General Manager of HokieCentral.com. He writes the News and Notes section, game previews, and game reports for HC, and he contributes a column when time permits.
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