He leads the Georgetown University basketball team in scoring. And NBC features him in promotions for the college basketball games it televises. But Hoya freshman Eric (Sleepy) Floyd still carries the extra bags of basketballs, shoes and other paraphernalia when Georgetown is on the road.
"Just because you're exceptional on the court doesn't mean you're going to be treated the same way off the court," said Steve Martin, captain of the Hoyas.
At Georgetown, everything is roleoriented, both on and off the court. On the road, the seniors decide what movies the team watches; the freshmen carry the extra bags. It is s system -- in addition to good players -- that has worked, taking the Hoyas to the No. 11 ranking in the latest Associated Press poll.
The Hoyas, 14 2, can equal the best start in their basketball history by beating St. Francis, Pa., tonight at McDonough Arena (WTTG-TV-5) at 8 o'clock. Coach John Thompson, who played on championship teams at every level from junior high through the NBA, is the man who makes certain it works.
The themes are motivation and sacrifice, the same criteria that Charlie Deacon, Georgetown's director of admissions, says his office's committees use in determining whether to accept minority students who would not otherwise qualify at the Hilltop. Georgetown recently was listed as one of the nation's 25 most difficult schools at which to gain acceptance.
"I like to tell the kids a good basketball player is like a good actor," said Thompson. "You give him the script and he has the talent to act out the part. A basketball player with talent is the same way. If a guy possesses certain abilities and certain talents and you give him the script, then he should be able to act it out.
"Kids run around and you hear them talk to you when they're trying to get into college and they tell you, 'I can do this, but my coach is ruining my game and won't let me do it.' I generally listen and chuckle after they leave. I say thanks, but no thanks.
"That doing your thing is the craziest thing I've ever heard of. You can't do your thing and have four other people doing their thing, too. You're going to have utter chaos Somebody's got to be willing to give up and make certain sacrifices out there."
That philosophy, according to Martin, forms the foundation for the discipline on which Thompson's Georgetown teams are built.
"It's a viewpoint of organization," said Martin. "All people aren't equal. I carried the bags when I was a freshman. John Duren carried them when he was a freshman. It helps you accept a role and a responsibility. It's a role because it's a responsibility a freshman has to do. It's a responsibility because you have to know where the bags are at.
"You move up and accept bigger responsibilities. The whole thing works hand in hand. When Mr. Thompson sees you can accept responsibility off the court, he knows you can accept responsibility on the court. If you find a guy who can't look after a bag in the airport, what is he going to do in the last minute of a game? If a guy can't make a decision for 13 guys, how is he going to make a decision for the team in the final minute of a game?"
These results can be seen on the court, when the upperclassmen readily accept Floyd, when the Hoya defense takes pride in its work as a unit and when one player passes up a 10-foot jumper on a 3-on-1 fast break because a teammate has a better shot.
Such is the case of Tommy Scates, the 6-foot-11, 245-pound center, whose scoring statistics are almost zero and whose value is almost immeasurable.
"Tommy's role is very adequate," Thompson said. "His role is not to score. In football, people don't criticize a lineman because he doesn't score. Just being there, he takes up a lot of space. People (opponents) say I don't have a center. So why is it they cheer when Tommy gets in foul trouble?"
Does the lack of appreciation upset the players?
"No," replied Scates. "We win regardless. So, I don't care."
Duren, who could be a big scorer, says simply of his role: "You do what it takes to win."
Added Martin: "All people aren't equal and they have to accept it. Sleepy Floyd is a better shooter than me so he has to take more shots. Kids today say, 'I want to be me.' But in real life, you have to adapt. If you don't, you'll never make it in the world today."
Martin already has accepted an accounting job when he graduates. Until then, while Floyd shoots, he earns his keep with leadership, defense and rebounding, plus any garbage baskets he can find around the hoop.
The sacrifices probably are most noticeable on Duren and forward Craig (Big Sky) Shelton, who would be high scorers on many other teams. "They're world-class athletes," Thompson said. "People take them for granted."
At Penn Friday, when the Hoyas were practicing for Saturday's game against the Quakers, TV analyst Bucky Waters, the former Duke and West Virginia coach, was amazed that Shelton was the point man in Georgetown's zone press.
That shows the versatility of a player quick enough to play on the ball, yet powerful enough to be virtually unstoppable around the hoop offensively. It is Shelton's first full healthy season and may be one reason why the Hoyas are playing the best team defense in Thompson's tenure.
Another reason is the chemistry. The only starter the Hoyas lost off last season's 23-8 team was guard Derrick Jackson, the team's all-time leading scorer and quickest defender last season. He was replaced by Floyd, who may be as quick, is two inches taller and has arms so long opponents must think they are being attacked by an octopus.
"When you have five guys who want to do their thing, it's a mess," said Martin. "When you have five guys who can role-play, you have a beautiful thing."