The Monmouth Bench Mob has been one of the biggest stories in college basketball to this point in the season, as the Hawks’ deep reserves get highly creative in celebrating the successes of their teammates. And Sunday was no different, as King Rice’s team held off Rutgers 73-67 for their fifth win over a team from a high-major conference this season (all either on the road or on a neutral court).
The Bench Mob celebrated big plays throughout the game, from “playing” baseball after one three-pointer to getting on the floor and hitting the bench press after a teammate finished a basket while being fouled (there was also the reenactment of Santa with his reindeer and the dance from “Thriller”).
But their top celebration Sunday afternoon was their reenactment of a scene from “Star Wars,” a good move given the fact that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hit theaters this weekend. The “Star Wars” celebration can be seen in the link above.
As for Santa and his reindeer, that celebration is below.
Videos courtesy of Big Ten Network
Pegged by many as a contender in the MAAC before the season began, King Rice’s Monmouth Hawks managed to make a splash nationally during the first month of the season.
Currently 5-3 on the year, the Hawks won their season opener at UCLA (which has since beaten Kentucky) and finished third at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando. While the play of guys such as Justin Robinson and Je’lon Hornbeak has been a big reason for the increased attention, so has the antics of the Monmouth Bench Mob.
With a Twitter account and multiple television appearances, the Monmouth bench’s celebrations have added buzz to the Hawks’ games. And it’s something that the school has looked to take advantage of in advance of their home opener against Wagner Sunday afternoon. The rise in popularity led to the school making T-shirts in both white and navy blue that include a few of the Monmouth bench’s best celebrations.
According to Joshua Newman of the Asbury Park Press, the school is looking into the possibility of trademarking the phrase “THE BEST BENCH IN BASKETBALL,” which is part of the Monmouth bench Twitter bio. There have also been moves to capitalize on the bench’s newfound fame in the ticket sales department, with Monmouth pushing ticket sales to the section directly across from the team bench in the aftermath of their run at the AdvoCare Invitational.
To capitalize on the these opportunities is a smart move by the school’s marketing department, especially with the team playing as it has. Had Monmouth been a team that struggled in games, the antics of their bench would be largely dismissed. But when you’ve got wins over UCLA, Notre Dame and USC to your credit, people who may not have known much about the team outside of what the reserves are doing to celebrate big plays may take note of the players making things happen on the court.