Feb. 13, 2008
By Jeremy S. Fallis `06
In a year, which has seen roles solidified--Ahmad Nivins's inside game, Tasheed Carr's leadership ability and Rob Ferguson's stoic confidence--Darrin Govens is still doing for what he was recruited: an all-around game.
Sometimes mislabeled as a shooting guard (this year) or even the point guard (last year), he considers himself apart from those two positions, incorporating them into one position in 2008.
"I don't consider myself a shooting guard," says Govens. "I consider myself a combo guard."
How the sophomore Chester-native, the third such Chester player after Jameer Nelson and Dwayne Jones in the past seven years, explains his theory is backed up by his high school play.
"If it's an end-of-game situation where I have to handle the ball, I will," Govens clarifies. "Or if I shoot the ball, I will. That's what I did throughout high school."
Near the end of last year, Govens was called upon to play point guard, but this season he has been primarily in a position to shoot with ballhandling responsibilities.
"I developed a shooting rhythm between the point and the wing." He said.
As for keeping his rhythm, Govens gave an answer that most shooters would with simple confidence.
"I like it and I do my best to keep things going," Govens said.
Recently, Govens has hit a snag in his shooting efficiency. Last year, he started the season with a wrist injury that slowed his progress, but didn't deter him from getting starting minutes. Nevertheless, this year, his season started strong at Syracuse and dipped in recent games, but Govens contintues to receive encouragement from his coaching staff and friends.
"Keep shooting," Govens said. "Keep working hard and keeping your confidence is the key."
The advice and support doesn't stop there from the coaches either.
"I've learned a lot over the last two years from the coaching staff." said Govens. "I have confidence in what they're doing and what we're doing."
That advice and confidence seems to have a trickle-down effect on the Saint Joseph's squad as the seniors helped Govens along. Even fellow classmate Garrett Williamson has helped Govens's success.
"I've learned things from all the players, little thing here and there, " Govens added. "Pat [Calathes], Rob [Ferguson], Tasheed [Carr] have helped, and Garrett has given me some defensive help."
Now that the Atlantic 10 season is upon the Hawks, the important task of knocking off conference opponents is even larger than it has been in recent years. Entering this week, three A-10 teams were ranked; Dayton, Xavier, and Rhode Island. A fourth team, Massachusetts, is up there with those three ranked teams in terms of notoriety and NCAA at-large possibilities. How the Hawks react to their six regular season games against those four teams could very well tell the tale on where Saint Joseph's will be playing in March.
"We know that all those teams, especially UMass are good teams," Govens explained. "Richmond and UMass beat us last year and we need to make our mark on the A-10."
As for last year's disaster at Richmond, which saw the Hawks down by as many as 20 to a team that won just eight games, revenge is certainly on the mind of Govens for tonight's game, but the Spiders aren't the only target.
"I'm looking at revenge on everyone we play in the A-10 [this season], "Govens said. "Some things we didn't do right [in 2007] so we're trying to get that done."
When the Hawks take on the ranked teams, Govens has a simple solution to assert SJU at the top of the league.
"There's only one way to do that," said Govens. "We're going to win."
Winning is the key to the 2008 squad, but there are several challenges ahead in addition to the tough A-10 schedule. Two of the Hawks' best games came at the Palestra this season against Penn State and Drexel. In both games, coach Martelli cleared his bench in the blowouts.
"I love the game. It's nice to be at the packed Palestra for a game," Govens added. "We're winning, we're having fun, guys get off the bench and get to play. We're smiling and enjoying it as a team."
As for the atmosphere at the Palestra, SJU's permanent home for the 2008-09 season, Govens always gets exciting, especially with city rivals Villanova, Penn, Temple and La Salle still left on the schedule.
"It's great," said Govens. "I always liked it, even in high school we played there. To look around at the nice packed house with family, friends is great."
Govens is another local product joining Carr, Williamson, and DJ Rivera, who came to Saint Joseph's in search of not only competitive basketball, but the atmosphere, too. The coaches relay that message to him everyday, while he keeps the reasons why he stayed close to home and attend SJU.
"I`ve learned a lot and hard work and to never give up," Govens said. "I always play hard, work hard. I've gotten a lot of support to get better [from friends] and keeping the St. Joe's tradition and my Chester pride."