NEWTON, Mass. -- Tommy Amaker doesn’t like the word “expectations.” To the Harvard coach, expectations are an external thing, something other people apply to his team.
Amaker prefers to refer to his team’s high “standards.” And when it comes to sophomore shooting guard Laurent Rivard, those standards are very, very high.
“I get disappointed,” Amaker said in the postgame interview room Thursday, after the No. 23 Crimson beat Boston College 67-46 at Conte Forum. “I make him upset because every time he shoots it I think he’s gonna make it. And I get mad at him whenever he misses anything, which isn’t fair or right, but that’s how much confidence and faith I have in him.”
Amaker was flanked at the postgame interview table by junior point guard Brandyn Curry and Rivard. After Rivard answered a question about how Harvard made its big 29-13 run to close the first half, overcoming a nine-point deficit and building a nine-point lead, a reporter went back to Amaker’s statement.
“Laurent, coach said he expects you to make every shot” he said. “What about you, do you expect to make every shot?”
“I try,” he said, drawing laughs from Amaker and Curry. “He’s tough on me sometimes, but every time I shoot it obviously I try to make it.”
“He’s a terrific shooter,” Amaker chimed in. “We’ve always tried to tease him a little bit about, we think that he’s the second-best shooter in this town and the first happens to be Ray Allen.
“I think he’s a tremendous shooter. … We use the Celtics as somewhat of an example that they always find Ray Allen and we need to kind of adopt that philosophy a little bit that we’re always gonna find Laurent. When he’s open, we need to find him.”
The reporter came back with a question about finding a rhythm off the bench, and Rivard had an answer ready.
“He always says, ‘Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready,’” Rivard said, motioning with his head toward Amaker.
“You’re listening,” Amaker said, a fresh smile spreading across his face, “you’re listening.” Curry laughed at the exchange.
“So I stay prepared on the bench, so when I come in there’s no difference in me,” Rivard continued, following through on the thought like he follows through on a shot.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder was certainly ready when called upon Thursday. After Harvard started slowly, Rivard exploded for 15 points, on 6-for-10 shooting including 3-for-6 from 3-point distance, in 15 first-half minutes off the bench.
Though he played another 13 minutes in the second half, Rivard took just two shots (both 3s) and made one.
He finished with a game-high 18 points and one heck of a comparison from his coach. To be just a season and change into a collegiate career and already be compared, however jokingly, to the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made?
Talk about high standards.
Jack McCluskey is an editor for ESPN.com and a frequent contributor to ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter @jack_mccluskey.