A new school year has started, and with six returning seniors, the basketball team faces high expectations. Living in Putney Hall and settling into his school routine, Sam Bohmiller ’17 sits for the first of four interviews conducted throughout the year. Practices with coaches don’t officially begin until Oct. 15, but he and the rest of the team are already hard at work.
BOHMILLER: Expectations for this season are very high. We all know the goal. We all understand what it takes. We know that nothing is given. We’ve got to go out and earn it.
I’ve been a point guard pretty much my whole life. I didn’t really have a choice, being 5’9”, to play any other position.
There are a lot of responsibilities. You’re the one bringing the ball up, putting everybody in the right place, setting up the offense, and making sure it’s run smoothly. You’re the quarterback out there, and it’s your job to be a leader, whether you like it or not. That never came naturally. I’ve never been the loudest guy. I’m pretty reserved, and growing up it took a lot for people to get me to say anything.
But I’ve learned over the years how important leadership is, especially being a point guard. People look to me. When stuff is going wrong, they’re looking to me, and it’s my responsibility to make sure that people don’t get too high, don’t get too low, and keep their eyes focused on the goal.
On the floor, I like to bring everyone in and make sure we’re on the same page. I’ve gained some respect in that people trust me. I’m not going to wow anyone out there in terms of my athleticism or being flashy. I take pride in being solid, taking care of the ball, being a good teammate, being unselfish, making shots when they’re there. Yeah, it’s a tough job, but I’ve embraced it.
The fall is nice to get back into a routine and bring the first-years along. The team is already getting into the full swing of things. But before Oct. 15, we don’t have official practices. We get one meeting as a team with our coach. He lays out expectations, some housekeeping stuff. But that’s it. It’s all on us. So two of our seniors put together a schedule. A typical week will be a mix of pickup games, lifting, conditioning, and skills workouts. It’s demanding, but we think it’s reasonable. We do this in the fall to give the freshmen an idea of the commitment and expectations, and to prepare them for what’s coming.
I have classes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so Thursday I work at AXA Advisors in Wellesley, where I worked this summer. I’ve learned a lot. Financial services is something I would like to do in the future. I like the idea of developing clients and building relationships—just meeting with people and having conversations and putting them in a position where they don’t lose sleep over what their money is doing.
I love finance. I’m one of those guys who tries to read The Wall Street Journal and Morningstar every day. Finance is one of those industries where you learn on your own, and so I’ve been trying to do that. When I’m back from class, I’ll grab lunch at Trim and then take a half-hour or so to sit at my desk and put everything aside. I’ll catch up on the news, on what the market is looking like. I enjoy that half-hour every day.
It’s hard to believe that I’m a senior. It goes by so fast. It feels like I was moving into Forest a week ago. One of the first days I was here, and it might have been during move-in, my mom said to appreciate this, that the people you meet here are going to be the people in your wedding. I was skeptical. I didn’t know anyone. I was at a wedding this past weekend up in Vermont for my cousin, and my mom said it again, because all the people in my cousin’s wedding were college teammates and friends. So I’ve learned to appreciate my relationships, the friends I’ve made, the people I’ve met.
Ranked No. 3 in the country, the men’s basketball team starts the season 4-0.
Bohmiller: It’s easy to get caught up in rankings and accolades. We take note of it, and then we put it on the back burner. We don’t lose sleep over where we’re going to be ranked every week. With our talent, our depth, and our experience, both players and coaching staff, we feel like we can play with anyone in the country.
In terms of game planning, we’ll watch film of our previous game to see what we did well and what we can improve. Then we’ll have another film session on the team that we’re about to play. Our coaches do a great job of knowing opposing guys and what they like to do—if you’ve got a lefty, if you’ve got a shooter, if you know a guy is going to go right and come back left. It’s little things like that. All these games are so competitive, so anything you can do to get a leg up is huge.
I have spent a ton of time on other teams’ websites looking at the rosters and finding out who’s who. I take pride in being one of the smartest players out there, knowing what the other team is going to do before they do, knowing all their habits, their tendencies.
I usually try to get to the game an hour before everyone else. I like to throw the headphones in and go out there by myself, just trying to get mentally prepared. I envision what I’ll be doing in the game and take shots that I might get.
Basketball always helps me manage my time, because you really don’t have that much of it. Practice is typically two and a half hours, but if practice is at 7 p.m., you’re not showing up at 7. You’re walking up to the gym at 6, 6:15, and you’re getting dressed, you’re going to the training room, you’re foam rolling, you’re stretching.
So I know that if I have class till 1, practice at say 6, and I’ve got something to do the next day, then I’ve got to get something done between 1 and 6. I don’t have a choice.
Basketball steers me in the right direction and helps me stay on top of things.
Most of the people that I hang out with are basketball guys, so we share the same schedule. We’re eating together, we’re watching games together. There’s definitely time outside of school and basketball to do stuff. It’s just that you’ve got to balance.
I’m interviewing. I’ve been interviewing at one place, and then I’m having a meeting with someone from AXA in a couple of weeks. I’m trying not to think about it too much. But I feel good about where I’m at right now, so I’m not sending out resumes all over the map and hoping one sticks, which a lot of people do. I think I’ve put myself in a good spot. I like both of these opportunities. Hopefully, it’ll just come down to determining which one is a better fit and makes the most sense for me.
Ranked No. 1, the team improves to 22-1, but as the NEWMAC and NCAA tournaments loom, Bohmiller suddenly must deal with injury.
Bohmiller: I got a concussion. During practice, we were doing a rebounding drill. Someone shot an air ball, and it hit me right in the face. It’s just the way it goes. I missed two games. Then I played the last two, but, unfortunately, I got symptoms again in the last couple of days. So I’m back on the sideline. There is really no timetable right now. You can’t just ice it or take Advil.
There are so many studies on concussions and doctors who have different techniques and preferences. You don’t know what works for each person until you try it. The first couple of days, I was isolated in my room, not watching TV, trying to stay off my phone, and not doing work. And I haven’t been able to go to class too much. But I’ve been able to maintain contact with my professors. They know what’s going on.
I have all the faith in the world that our team will keep it going. I have no worries about losing anything when I’m out.
I accepted a job at a firm called The Bulfinch Group in Needham. It’s definitely a relief, especially now with all the things going on—basketball and trying to make up classes. If I was trying to find a job right now, too, it would be a little overwhelming. So having that is definitely a relief.
Bulfinch does financial advising and planning. They have a thorough interview process. I was proud that I was able to make it through. It’s a small place, and it’s really competitive. I’ll get one-on-one coaching, which I value. I think that will help in my development and put me in a good spot to build my career.
I’m participating in the MCFE program. We’ve got a good group. We’re working with the Red Sox. The idea is to consider ways we can incorporate technology into their Fenway tour. We’re comparing it to some other sports teams, museums, different tour experiences. The Fenway experience is a little—I won’t say old, but there’s a lot of tradition behind Fenway and the Red Sox, so their challenge is to try to modernize the tour to educate kids, keep them engaged, and make it more interactive.
It’s going to be tricky, because the project they’re describing is big, and there’s a ton of material to research and put together. The basketball season goes well into March, but once it’s over, we’ll have more time. To work with the Red Sox is going to be a cool experience.
So we’re getting to March, the most exciting time of the year. Things are going well. I’m excited about where we are as a team and how far we’ve come, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Bohmiller’s injury continues to linger, but the team rolls on, earning a trip to the Final Four in Salem, Virginia. As the final seconds of the title game tick away, a wonderfully chaotic celebration breaks out on the court.
Bohmiller: Winning was a euphoric feeling. You’re running around looking for someone to hug or just jump up and down with, and confetti is flying all over the place. Once we got back to the locker room, everyone is looking at their phone. We all had so many texts, from people who we might have played with in high school or old coaches. It was cool to see who reached out.
I don’t know if it has entirely sunk in yet that we won the national championship. We’re just riding out the high that we felt after the game. It’s a pretty satisfying feeling. I’m still wearing the jersey. The jersey has been washed, but I haven’t taken it off since we got back from Salem. I’m going to try to keep it on as long as I can.
My head is doing better. I feel good now. But it was difficult having to sit out the bulk of the stretch. As a senior you want to be out there. You want to finish what you started, but I was doing whatever I could to help us win. I was watching film and watching the games closely and trying to be another set of eyes to point out what I was seeing, what I thought the guys could do differently. Chris Lowry ’18 started for me. I had total confidence in him. He’s an unbelievable passer, and he has a good understanding of the offense and where people want the ball and what he has to do.
I had expected to be back for the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the symptoms kept lingering. It was my call on whether to play, and I had to be honest with how I was feeling. I wanted to make a smart decision that I wouldn’t regret years down the road.
I ended up dressing for the Final Four games. Even though I wasn’t going to play much, I was still excited to warm up with the guys, put on the jersey, be out there, and feel like I was part of the team again.
I guess from here on out I’ll just try to enjoy whatever time we’ve got left at Babson. I’ll be out of here before I know it. I’ll miss going to Dunkin’ with friends, going to class, going to the gym, hanging out. Six of us on the team have been here for four years. We’ve grown together.
I don’t see me being able to give the game up entirely. Basketball has been such a prominent part of my life. A couple of our assistants said that they think I’d make a good coach. Maybe it’s something I’ll look into someday.
I feel like the championship is the cherry on top. I’ve had an awesome four years, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Basketball wise, academic wise, socially, I couldn’t ask for anything better. All the people I met, all the experiences we’ve had, have been unbelievable. It’s going to be pretty cool looking back.