There was never a doubt in Tim Brackney’s mind that he belonged on the court. Like most freshmen, Brackney learned quickly that he would first have to pay his dues, watching and learning the game from his elder teammates before earning a shot at playing time. Though confident he could step in immediately and contribute, he accepted his role on the team. With a good attitude and desire to improve, Brackney seemed to be following the blueprint to hardwood success at UR. But right off the block Brackney’s collegiate career hit a snag. Just weeks before the season opener, the 6-foot-1 combo guard was playing defense during practice when a deflected pass awkwardly nicked his right hand. Hospital X-rays revealed Brackney had broken his thumb and doctors projected he would be out four to six weeks. Already working in overdrive to master Head Coach Mike Neer’s system, Brackney simply couldn’t get a good grasp on things just by observing from the sidelines.”It’s hard enough when you’re a freshman to pick up the plays, but when you’re not actually running them and you have to watch, it makes it that much harder,” Brackney said.When his thumb finally healed, though, it was already the middle of January and he had quite a bit of catch-up work on his hands. As the Yellowjackets continued to stockpile victories and ascend in the national rankings, it became even tougher for Brackney to carve out a niche for himself, let alone find minutes in a deep and talented backcourt. Encouraging words from teammates sophomore Joe Canty and juniors Ryan Mee and Brendan McAllister, who had all ridden the bench before stepping into meaningful playing time, helped Brackney stay focused and motivated. Seeing his main role as making “sure the guys who get a lot of playing time are ready,” Brackney had come to the realization last week that, with the University Athletic Association title still not secured and NCAA Tournament so soon, he might not get into another game this year.”I just keep thinking up scenarios where I might have to play, like foul trouble or if someone gets hurt,” he said. “Basically I just make sure I’m ready when I’m sitting on the bench if the team needs me.”Against Carnegie Mellon See Brackney, Page 17last Saturday no one was in foul trouble. And no one got hurt. But the team sure did need him.Following news that four players, including the starting backcourt, were suspended for one game, Brackney learned from the coaching staff he would have to play significant minutes in Pittsburgh against the Tartans. It was the opportunity he had waited all year for.Facing a tenacious full court press from Carnegie Mellon, Brackney shared the point guard duties with Mee and McAllister and admittedly struggled at times getting the ball up the floor. But, as the game progressed, uncertainty yielded to confidence and Brackney became more comfortable handling the ball and feeding it to seniors Andy Larkin and Brian Jones and junior Seth Hauben in the post.With neither team able to pull away, the score was knotted with just under a minute to go in the second half. Brackney found himself at the top of the key with the ball and let fly. But the shot was off, and the Tartans quickly grabbed the rebound and then a two-point lead at 70-68.It would have been easy for the untested freshman to get down on himself after missing the jumper, feeling disappointed that he let his team down. But Brackney knew there was no time for that and the Yellowjackets had possession of the ball again.With 27 seconds left on the clock, Brackney rubbed off a screen by Mee and received a pass just a step behind the three-point arc. “I came off the pick and I had a pretty good look at the basket. I didn’t even think about it, I just shot it,” said Brackney, who finished with 11 points in 23 minutes, both career-highs. “As soon as I shot it I knew it was good.”The three put UR ahead for good, as the Yellowjackets went on to win 73-71 and clinched their first conference championship in 13 years. Brackney’s poise and confidence came as no shock to Neer. “Nothing Tim did surprised me,” he said. “Tim has talent and is developing into a good player. Clearly this was a tough situation and he revealed that he’s a competitor.”At 25-1, Neer has no intentions of drastically shaking up his rotation heading into the NCAAs. But, should the right situation present itself during a game, he would not hesitate to send Brackney to the scorer’s table again. On Saturday Brackney hit his first big shot in a Yellowjacket jersey. He’s confident it won’t be his last.

Gaza solidarity encampment: Live updates

The Campus Times is live tracking the Gaza solidarity encampment on Wilson Quad and the administrative response to it. Read our updates here.

Dinner for Peace was an unconventional way of protesting for Palestine

The dinner showcased aspects of Palestinian culture. It was a unique way of protesting against the genocide, against the Israeli occupation, against the university’s involvement with the genocide.

Riseup with Riseman

“I decided to make one for fun — really poor quality — and I put it on my Instagram just to see how people would react," Riseman said.