Feb. 27, 2009
By Charles Bare
Special to GoHolyCross.com
On Jan. 15, 2005, Pat Doherty finally had a chance to show what he could really do. As a true freshman, he had seen action in Holy Cross' first 14 games of the season, but had a limited role as a back-up to starting point guard Torey Thomas. Then, eight minutes into a game against Colgate at the Hart Center, Thomas went down with a shoulder injury.
Doherty went on to total 14 points, five assists and four rebounds in 29 minutes of action against the Raiders, while hitting three of four three-point shots in a 74-64 victory for the Crusaders. He then started nine of Holy Cross' next 10 games, scoring in double-figures three more times and helping the team to a win in each contest. Doherty went on to average 6.8 points and 2.8 assists in conference action, and was named the 2005 Patriot League Rookie of the Year.
Unfortunately, for someone who had his first chance to shine due to another player's injury, Doherty has gone on to be nagged by numerous injuries of his own over the next four years. He played the first five games of the 2005-2006 campaign after being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, but was unable to go on and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season as a medical redshirt.
Doherty then started strong in 2006-2007, before breaking a bone in his hand during practice and missing six games. He did come back from that injury to serve as the Crusaders' sixth man down the stretch, helping the team to the 2007 Patriot League title, and was in the starting lineup for the first 12 games of the 2007-2008 season. But during a victory at San Francisco, Doherty suffered an injury to his achilles, which forced him to miss four more games and play a limited role for the rest of the year. That same injury kept him out for the first 14 games this season.
"It has been real frustrating over the last four years with all of the injuries I have had," said Doherty. "But I was always able to get back on the court and give it everything I have, and that is all I can do."
Since returning to the court in early January, Doherty has led the Crusaders to a 10-3 mark in Patriot League play, while handing out 49 assists with just 25 turnovers in conference games. Even though he spends most of his time on the court as the team's top ball handler and play-maker, he has still shown the ability to score, putting up 18 points in the Jan. 17 victory at Bucknell.
"It has been great to get back on the court and just do what I can to help the team win," said Doherty. "I know that I am good to go now, so I just go out every day and play as hard as I can in practice and in games."
Even though he has dealt with much uncertainty throughout his career due to injuries, one constant during Doherty's time on Mount St. James has been the support of his family. His father, James, is a Holy Cross graduate, as are several other members of his family. Having those relatives around has helped him through all the adversity he has faced.
"My family has been there for me since day one, when I first set foot on the Holy Cross campus" said Doherty. "Their support has been just so unbelievable. My older sister, Grace, was in school here during my first two years on campus, and the last two years my younger brother, Jack, has been here. It has been great to have them around. And my parents make it to every game, and have been really supportive. Without my family, I am not sure if I would have been able to get through everything I have faced."
Now that he is back on the court and has only a few games left in his collegiate career, Doherty remains focused on helping the team improve every day. The ultimate goal for him and his teammates is to make a run to the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
"We are going into our last regular season game on Saturday against Lehigh looking to close out the season strong, and go into the Patriot League playoffs at our best," said Doherty. "In the Patriot League, it comes down to three games at the end of the year. I think we have done a good job this season of getting better consistently, and hopefully we can finish that off Saturday and go into the Patriot League Tournament strong."
As someone who has already been part of the 2007 team which advanced to the NCAA Tournament and the 2005 squad which took part in the National Invitation Tournament, Doherty believes the 2009 Crusaders have what it takes to make it to the postseason once again.
"If we can just put everything together, we can get to the NCAA Tournament," said Doherty. "That is something I would like to end my career with, and I think this team is capable of it. We are a well balanced team, and if we play up to our ability, we will give ourselves the opportunity to get back to the NCAA Tournament."