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Nathan's Notations


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Last week, during the Weber State University men’s basketball team’s win over Sacramento State University, I noticed something that really impressed me.

What I noticed was about a player who is injured and wasn’t even playing.  Kyle Bullinger is key to the team’s success and is one of the best teammates, even when he’s injured on the bench.

Bullinger dislocated his elbow earlier this season and has been out of action since Dec. 3. Despite not playing, he was easily the most vocal member of the team on the bench during the game against SSU.

I was very impressed with his attitude during the game and how much he seemed to care about the game despite being injured. Multiple times following big plays in the game, Bullinger would stand, clap and yell out things to his teammates. It was clear that he cares about the team, and that he wants to see WSU succeed.

Every time I see him or hear his talk in press conferences, I always get the impression that scoring a lot of points or being a star isn’t what’s important to Bullinger. All he cares about is seeing his team win, and when he’s on the court, he’s shown that he will do whatever he can to help the team.

He is easily the most physical player in the Big Sky Conference.  Throughout last season, and at the start of this season, it was clear that he was the hardest working person on the court. Every game that I’ve seen him in this year, I’ve been amazed at his work ethic and how hard he plays.

I think that when Bullinger comes back, it will make a huge difference for WSU. He will give the team a fierce, physical player down low, who also has the ability to shoot the three and play great defense.

He will also give the Wildcats more of a killer instinct during tight games. He has been through a lot of close tough games and knows what the team needs to do in order to close out games. He will also offer an experienced scoring threat to go along with Damian Lillard.

The Wildcats have done pretty well without Bullinger, but I really would have liked to have seen him in the game against Brigham Young University.  He definitely would have helped the inside game and could have pulled down some tough rebounds for the Wildcats.

I’m not saying that WSU definitely would have won had Bullinger been in the game, but I’m sure it would have been a lot closer.

Despite not having played in over a month, Bullinger has become one of my favorite players. Before he got injured, I loved seeing him outwork everyone on the court and play tough, hard-nosed basketball.

Since his injury, I’ve seen a lot that makes me like him more and more.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy, who cares about his team and puts his teammates first. When I watch him play, I’m reminded of a quote by Herb Brooks, who was the coach of the USA Miracle on Ice hockey team that defeated Russia in the 1980 Olympic games.

Brooks said that when building a strong team, “You’re looking for players whose name on the front of the sweater is more important than the one on the back.”

To Bullinger, the name on the team’s success is clearly more important than his own.

Hopefully, he will be back in the next few weeks and will give the Wildcats the killer instinct and inside boost that they have been lacking for part of the year.

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