The average height of a male college basketball player stands roughly at 6’6″ and Mines’ men’s basketball team is no different, as seven of their fourteen player are listed at or above that height. Yet you must lower your gaze nearly a full foot to locate Mines’ starting guard Chris Goutama. Listed at only 5’8″, Goutama is the shortest player to put on an Oredigger uniform since the turn of the century. But that does not slow down the senior from San Ramon, California, who used all 128 inches to sink the game winning shot over Fort Lewis’ 6’6″ center Matt Morris in last week’s 66-65 victory.
Yet what he may lack in size, he makes up for in speed. A team with a very balanced scoring attack (only two players average more than 10 points per game), the 2012 Orediggers resemble the Post-Carmelo Anthony Denver Nuggets. And if Mines can be compared to the Nuggets, than Goutama is the Oredigger’s Ty Lawson. Slicing in and out and under defenses this season, Goutama’s stats tell the story. Through fifteen games this year, Goutama leads the team in both assists (44) and assists per game (2.9) and is second in steals (23) and steals per game (1.5). And as a starting point guard for the first time in his career, Goutama has led Mines to the highest assist to turnover ratio in the RMAC at 1.05.
This year, after already beating the top-ranked team in the nation, Goutama looks to help guide the defending RMAC Champion Orediggers to a deep postseason run. For his efforts and success throughout his career at Mines, Goutama is this week’s Athlete of the Week.
[Oredigger] How did you end up at Mines?
[Goutama] I played at a junior college (West Valley College) in San Jose a couple years ago. I knew I wanted to do engineering and I just sent my gamefilm to [Head] Coach [Pryor] Orser. I guess he liked it and wanted me to come out. I had never really heard of this place until then.
How is Mines different from West Valley?
It’s definitely a way different school. The junior college had smart kids, but then some kids who, well, didn’t really care. Here everyone cares.
What is the nerdiest thing the team does?
Well, I’m not really sure if it’s nerdy, but we all listen to country music in the locker room.
Favorite basketball memory?
Besides the game winner [at Ft. Lewis], it would be winning the RMAC regular season championship last year and cutting down the nets.
Favorite basketball play?
My favorite’s the pick and roll with all its options. I can shoot or drive or give my teammates the opportunity to score.
Favorite NBA team?
Golden State Warriors. It’s definitely a rebuilding year.
Favorite NFL team?
The 49ers. We were at Fort Lewis when they were playing the Saints. I kept watching the news feeds on Gordo’s (teammate Gordon Galloway) iPhone. It was crazy. I say they win the Superbowl by seven or ten.
I don’t play any other sports, but my teammates just got me into “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.” I’ve never played a shooter game before, and now I play it too much. And I also like watching movies.
What’s your favorite movie?
If I had to choose one, I would say “Love and Basketball” with Omar Epps. Oh and “Space Jam.” And put “White Men Can’t Jump” down, too.
What has been your favorite class at Mines?
Probably Steel with [Prof. Joe] Crocker.
Least favorite class?
Probably Prob. Stats. I just didn’t like the class.
What is your dream job?
My dream job is to get a job back in California and move back home. I’d do anything with hands on construction or heavy civil. When I grew up, I was fascinated with big structures like the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco skyline, so I’ve always had an interest in it.
What advice would you give yourself if you were to start over at Mines?
If you need help, go get help.