Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Bishop returns to the court with sights set for the top of the A-10

Sage Russell | Assistant Photo Editor
Senior guard James Bishop slices past an opponent during a game against VCU last season.

James Bishop has already reserved his spot in the GW history books.

After three years with the program, the fifth-year senior guard is 12th in program history with 1,518 points. His performance last year, the first under Head Coach Chris Caputo, was the program’s most prolific since SirValiant Brown’s 1999-2000 24.6 season, one of the most notable in program history, with Bishop scoring 691 total points and 21.6 points per game.

But Bishop doesn’t think he’s hit his ceiling. After spending the offseason in the weight room and film room, Bishop hopes he can use improved reads and basketball IQ to reach an even higher level.

“I just want to improve my reads, knowing basketball and knowing the game, and then just being a better defender,” Bishop said.

It’s this tenacity that makes Bishop such a successful player. Transferring from LSU following the 2019-20 season, he averaged 19.1 points per game as a sophomore during the COVID-shortened season. The next season saw a step back for Bishop, with his points per game decreasing to 16.7, while shooting a paltry 38.7 percent from a field.

Bishop said he arrives to the Smith Center about six hours before games, opting not to leave between practice and the beginning of the game.

“We’ll practice, I’ll eat and then I’ll just sit downstairs,” Bishop said.

Bishop said this year’s team builds chemistry on the court through practice and watching film, developing an awareness for one another’s tendencies. He said the team plays at a fast pace, transitioning quickly.

“I think we just got a lot of versatility,” Bishop said. “We got a lot of people that can do different things.”

Bishop said off the court, the team will share meals at local restaurants, frequenting Tonic for weekend brunch.

“If it’s breakfast time, I’ll get pancakes,” Bishop said.

The 2022 offseason brought significant change to the program. Officials fired Head Coach Jamion Christian and guards Joe Bamisile and Brayon Freeman, who had shared the backcourt with Bishop, transferred out.

In his senior year, the first under Caputo’s tutelage, Bishop finally broke out from a great player to a game-breaker. He averaged 21.6 points per game, not only good for first in the A-10 but 12th in the country. His shooting percentage jumped from a career low to a career high of .429, while attempting the most shots of his career.

Notably, he recorded 165 assists, embracing a playmaker role. He averaged 5.2 assists per game in the season, making him the first A-10 player since 2003 to record more than 20 points and five assists per game. His 5.2 assists per game were good for third in the A-10 and 34th in the country.

Bishop’s play earned him First Team All-Conference honors, though he lost the Player of the Year race to VCU guard Ace Baldwin Jr., who averaged 12.7 points and 5.8 assists per game.

“I think he could have been player of the year last year,” Caputo said of Bishop’s season.

Caputo said Bishop’s transition to playing more primarily at the point is something he is particularly proud of after being more of a shooting guard his first seasons with the team. The departure of Bamisile and Freeman left a hole that Bishop was able to fill.

“James, when we got here, people said he wasn’t a point guard,” Caputo said. “And then he played the point and just had such an incredible year last year.”

On a team with 11 newcomers, Bishop has taken on a leadership role, providing a positive example to his teammates on and off the court, citing it as something he wants to focus on this season.

“I think the guys look at me for leadership and the coaches, too,” Bishop said. “So I definitely have been appointed a leader, and I’m just trying to do my best.”

Caputo, too, commended Bishop’s leadership.

“He really leads by example,” Caputo said. “He’s an extremely hard worker with a serious-minded approach.”

Yet despite the achievements he earned last season, it’s clear that there is more for Bishop to accomplish: a winning season and a championship.

“You’re an all-conference level player now, can you be a winning player in our conference?” Caputo said.

The Revs have not finished with a winning record in his three years on the team, their best finish coming in last year’s 16-16 campaign when the team went 10-8 against A-10 opponents.

In his final season playing collegiate basketball, Bishop is eager to lead his team to more tangible success.

“The goal is always to win,” Bishop said.

Erika Filter contributed reporting. 

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