How Jimmy Sotos grew into Bucknell’s reliable backcourt facilitator

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 23, 2019 at 12:11 am Contact Cameron: [email protected] Jimmy Sotos dons his No. 4 jersey each time he takes the court for Bucknell. But even when he steps off the court and removes it, the number never leaves. It’s followed him from Illinois to Pennsylvania. It’s followed him from a bench role to a starter, and it’s followed him everywhere as ink tattooed on his chest.Sotos got the tattoo in his senior year of high school, after his brother, Christian, had been fiddling around on Adobe Photoshop and designing their four names — Jimmy, Christian, Danny and Tommy — into the figure four. Christian said the tattoo is essentially a family emblem, representing the close relationship between the four brothers. Now a junior at Bucknell, Sotos is stepping into a larger role with the departures of standouts Kimbal MacKenzie and Nate Sestina. He’s coming off a sophomore campaign in which he posted 6.1 assists per game, best in the Patriot League and 18th in the nation. The Chicago area-born guard has always outperformed expectations, starting from when he was a 5-foot-2 high school freshman and breaking down postgame film with his older brothers. Bucknell (2-3) travels to face Syracuse (3-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) on Saturday afternoon in the Carrier Dome.“We always talked about how we knew he had the skill, the drive, the intelligence to play at that level,” Christian said. “It was just a matter of his body catching up.” After his freshman year at James B. Conant (Illinois) High School, Sotos sprouted up three inches. That year, he played on the varsity team with his older brother, Danny, who went on to play at Lake Forest College, a Division III school in Illinois.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhether it was playing an inter-family tournament of “roomball” with a mini hoop or following them to the gym and observing film together, Sotos was able to pick apart pieces of his three older brothers’ games and make them his own.Sotos was smart, quick and an extremely hard-worker, high school coach Tom McCormack said, but his height often prevented him from covering an opponent’s best players early on. But by the end of his senior year of high school, another growth spurt had him listed at 6-foot-3. He committed to Bucknell and immediately made an impact off the bench, averaging 4.8 points while shooting 39.3% from deep as a freshman. In Bucknell’s season-ending tournament loss to Michigan State that year, Sotos scored five points and hauled in seven rebounds in 24 minutes. “It’s motivating when you get the taste of winning like that,” Sotos said. “You get used to winning, so anything less than that is a disappointment and we don’t settle for it.”After a disappointing loss to Colgate in the 2019 Patriot League Championship, Sotos earned the starting point guard spot this season with his elite passing ability. One moment from last year stands out, though.With the score tied at 83 in a Jan. 19 matchup against Lehigh, Sotos went coast-to-coast as the clock ticked down and hit a contested layup with 1.2 seconds remaining, giving Bucknell a 85-83 road victory.Sotos has carried that momentum into this season. Against Hofstra on Nov. 13, Sotos scored a career-high 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting. Through five games, he’s averaging 12 points per contest, second on a balanced Bucknell offense. Even though he’s not the shortest player anymore, he said he still maintains a “bulldog mentality” and a “little man’s complex.” It’s something he learned from his brothers, and he’s reminded of it every time he sees the No. 4 emblem on his chest. His brothers all went on to play Division III, but Sotos always wanted to outdo them.“It’s been a lot of fun watching him recognize the holes in the team and the holes in his game and what his team needed,” Christian said. “There’s been a lot of pride watching him grow up in that way.” Commentslast_img