If it was possible for a career 1,000 point, 600 rebound player to be overlooked in his career, Robert Churchwell fits the bill. A consistent, reliable option at the small forward who started 128 consecutive games, the center-dominant Georgetown offenses of the early 1990's only showed a glimpse of Churchwell's potential.
An All-Met forward at Gonzaga, Churchwell succeeded Jaren Jackson at the small forward position and was named to the Big East All-Rookie team for a 8.4 point, 4.8 rebound effort--not a bad rebound figure, considering the two ahead of him were Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo. Churchwell shot 47% in Big East games, including a 10 for 11 effort versus Providence and eight double figure games in conference action.
His 1991-92 season was a mirror of the prior season--the same number of starts, a season total of only six more field goals than 1991 (120 vs. 114) and a net change of one rebound from his 153 board total the year before. A runner- up to Alonzo Mourning in rebounding, Churchwell's shooting often took a back seat to his rebounding--despite averaging 49% from the field and 38% from three point range (a very favorable statistic for GU teams of this day), Churchwell just didn't get many shots.
He averaged only one shot per 3:32 of on-court play.
Churchwell continued his productivity in 1992-93. Second on the team in scoring and third in rebounding, he led the Hoyas in scoring in six games, including a career high 25 versus Connecticut, a 16 point, 11 rebound effort against Miami, and a 15 point effort against Miami (OH) in the NIT with 6 for 7 shooting. For 1993-94, he scored in double figures 15 times, with 24 against UNLV and 19 against Boston College as season highs.
Among the most interesting statistics of Robert Churchwell's career is his outside shooting. Averaging 37% from three point range, Churchwell only averaged one three point attempt per game over his career. Had John Thompson emphasized the three point shot as his son has done, Robert Churchwell's impact would have been even more pronounced. Instead, his scoring was overshadowed in what was the later years of Alonzo Mourning and early years of Othella Harrington.
Robert Churchwell finished his career 15th in scoring and 12th in rebounding, and played one season in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors as well as three years in the CBA, three in Japan, and two in Europe. Today, Churchwell is a teacher and head basketball coach at Harrison High School in Atlanta, with a team nickname that Churchwell knows very well: Harrison calls their teams the Hoyas.