Husker ‘bench mob’ ups its profile after ESPN highlights team celebrations

Husker ‘bench mob’ ups its profile after ESPN highlights team celebrations
World-Herald News Service

They’ve danced the Macarena, kicked like the Rockettes and even bobsledded.

The elaborate celebrations by the Husker basketball team’s “bench mob” is pumping up players and fans, and drawing lots of national attention.

The profile of the mob — which consists of the team’s reserves — jumped following Tuesday’s win over Indiana when ESPN and others shared video on social media of the high jinks.

The video on ESPN’s Twitter account had been viewed nearly 3 million times as of Thursday afternoon.

Some fans of opposing teams think the courtside fun is over the top, but plenty of Husker backers say the antics are a three-pointer for team spirit, as NU enjoys one of its best seasons in recent years.

“They are cheering their teammates on,” said fan Jennifer Synder of Lincoln. “It gets the arena pumped.”

Senior guard Malcolm Laws said that’s why his fellow bench mob members break out their routines after a big Husker basket. He said the celebrations keep the reserves plugged into the game and provide a chance for them to root in a fun way.

He said teammates on the court say they love the celebrations and suggest ideas for routines.

“It brings us closer together,’’ Laws said.

And Nebraska coach Tim Miles is a fan, Laws said. The coach will smile at the guys on the bench after a celebration or deliver a thumbs-up.

When the team is watching game film, Laws said, Miles will sometimes hit rewind so all the players can see a replay of the mob imitating a pro wrestling move or pretending to lift weights.

Laws said bench mob members talk shortly before game time about what routines they’re planning. Sometimes a bench mob member will cue the celebration with a countdown. Sometimes they just follow the lead of the first guy who jumps from his seat.

Along with Laws, the mob includes forward Jack McVeigh, guard Johnny Trueblood, forward Tanner Borchardt, guard Thorir Thorbjarnarson and guard Justin Costello.

The Huskers have tied the school record for most conference victories, and Tuesday’s win over Indiana allowed Nebraska to hold on to fourth place in the Big Ten.

The bench mob has drawn some barbs on Twitter, like this one from an Indiana backer: “I’m officially rooting against Nebraska the rest of the season because of the nonsense by the bench guys.”

But then came this reply: “I imagine you would have ZERO issue with #BenchMob had IU won.”

Twitter is even providing some suggestions for the mob’s next routines, like red rover, arm wrestling and hopscotch.

So what’s next from the mob?

“We definitely have a lot of stuff in our bag,” Laws said. “Stay tuned.”