Working Out the Cramps

Dec. 20, 2010

By Matt Winkeljohn
Sting Daily

Watching Glen Rice Jr. walk into the Zelnak Center Monday with his head bobbing as he sang . . . something . . . there was the image of a young man with rhythm. He plays for a team that may be finding rhythm, too. Georgia Tech played its best game of the season in beating Richmond 67-54 Saturday in the Battle at Atlantis, in the Bahamas.

The body of Iman Shumpert, though, is out of whack.

He scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half of that game, but battled cramps in the second half. Cramping has been a recurring – if rarely predictable – issue for Shumpert for years, and Tech officials have not been able to bring the problem under control.

Even though he’s hydrating as much or more than his teammates and trying to be wise about it, Shumpert’s cramping problem continues to come and go and nothing, not even intravenous fluids, seem a surefire safeguard against it.

“We’ve tried a lot of different remedies,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “It’s something that’s bothered him since high school. There’s some [medication] that helps him, but he’s just not as good. While it might help with cramps, it takes him off his game a little bit. If he doesn’t take the medication, he’s alert and plays well in the first half, but in the second half he has a cramping problem.”

Shumpert is Tech’s leader in points (15.2). rebounding (5.2) and assists (30) while leading Tech in scoring in five of 10 games, and rebounding in five as well. So missing him sure hasn’t helped. The Jackets were able to overcome his frequent absence in the second half against Richmond, but missed him when he struggled badly with cramping in the second half against Georgia, a one-point loss.

“I do the same thing before games as far as getting liquid. I don’t drink pop, try to stay away from juices. It’s all Gatorade and water . . . bananas like crazy,” he said. “It’s just random times. A lot of times when the [weather] changes, I’ll cramp up. It’s winter here, and we go to the Bahamas and it was warm. I sweat a lot, and I guess I’m just losing fluids too fast.”

Hewitt is anticipating a significant change in weather before Tech’s next game, Wednesday at Sienna (N.Y.).

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