Sports: Basketball teams adjust to closed-door policy

A closed-door policy for practices instituted by new men’s basketball coach Karl Hobbs has caused confusion in an already complicated first week of scheduling in the Smith Center.

According to an athletic official who wished to remain anonymous, Hobbs asked several members of the women’s team, who were jogging around the upper-level track in the Smith Center, to leave the gym during his practice Saturday.

An argument erupted between Hobbs and women’s head coach Joe McKeown later in the day near center court, in which McKeown demanded that Hobbs speak with McKeown before setting rules for the women’s team. The heated, expletive-laced argument ended as Hobbs stormed out of the gym minutes later.

According to the athletic official, Hobbs also would not allow head athletic trainer Chris Hennelly to access the gym during practice. Hennelly denied the claim and declined further comment.

Hobbs said he apologized to his team and to McKeown for his actions during practice and hoped he would get the opportunity to apologize to the women’s team.

“My behavior wasn’t one that a coach should have,” he said. “I’m a young coach that is trying very hard to develop a work ethic with this team, and when you make a mistake you have to apologize for it.”

He added: “I felt awful about what happened today, and I’m hoping coach Joe and his team will give me a second chance.”

McKeown said this was an isolated and insignificant confrontation and declined to comment further. Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said Saturday he was unaware of the incident.

Hobbs said practices are closed because outsiders could create distractions for his players. The team has 10 players on roster, including four freshmen.

“Everything we’re doing is new to the players, and I need their total focus.” Hobbs said. “I don’t want to be distracted, and I don’t want them being distracted.”

Hobbs said there will be opportunities for the public to watch throughout the season. Members of the Colonials Athletic Club were invited to practice and a wine tasting after practice Friday.

Hobbs is not the only one making adjustments during the first week of practice. Both men’s and women’s teams are confronting inconsistent practice time and locations. Shuffled between the Smith Center and the Health and Wellness Center, the teams have vied for practice space with other GW teams.

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