Greg: The Heart and Sole Senior of M. B-Ball
Greg Ethington doesn’t have time to sit down and think anymore.
He is the sole senior on his squad, and the end of his career at UC Irvine is a week away.
It’s time to just go out on the court and give it all you’ve got.
With the Big West Tournament just days away, the UC Irvine Men’s Basketball team is heading over to the Anaheim Convention Center after being absent the year before.
The team has more control this year, more ambition and an eagerness to grow.
How is 23-year-old Ethington doing his part?
He’s providing the team with a consistent player in the forward and center positions.
‘More than anything [I’m] being a consistent inside player who is not afraid to mix it up inside and play tough defense,’ Ethington said.
Ethington’s stats speak for themselves.
He currently ranks 11th in the Big West in average rebounds; 5.8 this year compared to his last season’s average of 3.2.
Ethington’s new career-high in points is 24, up from last year’s 17, and he is ranked sixth in the Big West for his field-goal percentage of .519.
But it’s never just about him as an individual; it’s about his team.
With his added pressure this season of being the only senior to look to for guidance, Ethington is trying to share as much time and knowledge as he can with his teammates, especially the younger ones.
‘I just tell them to keep working hard and a lot of change will take place,’ Ethington said.
What makes Ethington a distinct figure on this squad is the person he’s become through religion, basketball and his family.
Ethington joined UCI’s basketball team in the 1999-2000 season.
But after one year, he left on a two-year mission to British Columbia, which he served for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The decision to leave was made before he even graduated from high school.
‘If I waited longer I would not go,’ Ethington said. ‘To me, it was much more important to [go on my mission] than play basketball.
Ethington claims that being a Mormon has shaped his personality.
‘I find it to be a defining characteristic of myself. I’m a little bit different from all the guys [on the team],’ Ethington said. ‘I don’t go out to parties or go and get rowdy all the time. It’s kind of helped me enjoy friendships and those relationships even more.’
Perhaps these are reasons why Ethington will miss hearing Jeff Gloger’s comments, watching his teammates throw ice at each other and traveling with them.
Even though Ethington is done with his four years of eligibility as a basketball player, he will continue his education at UCI next year