Jim Supple didn't start his first varsity game. But among the next sixty nine consecutive starts, he established himself as one of Georgetown's most consistent offensive options. In 70 games, he scored in every one of them.
Supple averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds at St. Peter's Prep, but played above his height at center in high school. Moved to forward in college, he broke Dennis Cesar's freshman mark with 44 points in a game and averaged 24.6 for the Hoya yearlings in 1966. As a sophomore, Supple scored in double figures 15 times in 23 games, with a season high of 23 versus Boston College. When he was on the floor, Supple's outside shooting and ability to scrap inside for rebounding (averaging nearly six a game over his career) were valuable to the Hoyas' winning cause; conversely, he was often tagged with
foul trouble for his tough-minded play and fouled out of one out of every 4.4 games he was in.
With the graduations of Steve Sullivan, Frank Hollendoner, and Neil Heskin in 1967, what remained was a small team, forcing the 6-4 Supple to play inside more often. He scored double figures in another 16 games, including the last even games of the season. A pair of 20+ games against NYU and Fairleigh Dickinson were season highs. Despite leading the team in scoring in just one game, he finished third in scoring and in rebounding for his junior season, and was elected captain for the 1968-69 team.
Supple turned in more consistent play in 1968-69, with 18 double figure games out of 23. Trailing Charlie Adrion in the count for leading scorer, Supple turned on the offense following Adrion's season ending injury in February 1969. Supple averaged 20 points a game down the stretch and led the Hoyas in scoring in six of his final seven games as a collegian, finishing with a 16.5 season average.
As was the case in each of Supple's three years, post-exam basketball was not kind to Jack Magee's Hoyas. From 1967 though 1969, fan frustration peaked every February: Georgetown was a combined 6-18 in the last eight games of the season, 1-13 on the road.
Supple's scoring ability led to an 11th round selection by the NBA's Cincinnati Royals, who were sufficiently impressed with the Georgetown grad's skills that they signed him to $12,500 contract after training camp, 25 percent over the minimum NBA salary at that time. (Extrapolated in today's NBA minimums, this is the equivalent of a $516,000 first year contract.) According to The HOYA, the contract was rescinded only a week later, as two other draftees had negotiated no-cut contracts with the club. (Each of those draftees, Purdue guard Herm Gilliam and Xavier center Luther Rackley, joined the
Royals that year and had NBA careers of seven and five years, respectively.)
Per the article, Supple did not get the money, and his chances of joining another NBA club were dealt a blow when he was selected in another draft, that of the U.S. Army.
Today, Jim Supple is a Georgetown parent of three, with a son who was captain of the Georgetown baseball team in 2005.