Full Court Press: Closed practices, opening season

So what if men’s basketball practices are closed. Were you gonna go?

The latest move by the men’s basketball coach is hardly new. But his reason is. I’ve heard Karl Hobbs doesn’t want anything distracting his young team during practice.

Here’s my question: What distractions? I’ve been to men’s practices. There aren’t any distractions. There’s hardly any spectators, save a few basketball nuts who want the inside scoop on Greg Collucci’s jumper. I’ve heard Hobbs doesn’t want these nuts watching because he doesn’t want inside information leaked. What inside information?

The truth is, Hobbs brings with him a certain amount of respect from the University of Connecticut, and doesn’t need to to find a way to justify his closed-door policy.

As long as practices remain open for the press, which I’ve been told they will, what’s the problem? Hobbs doesn’t need to make excuses about spies and inside information. He has the authority to close practice because he wants to.

Most students seem to agree with him, anyway. Sixty-eight percent of respondents to a Hatchet Web poll last week said they agree with the policy. Hobbs isn’t doing anything revolutionary here. Most college basketball programs don’t allow the public access to practice.

This goes for little schools in above-average conferences to medium schools in the Atlantic 10 to top schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Practices are closed at UConn and Duke, but they’re also closed at Fordham and Dayton for both men’s and women’s teams. Add GW to the list. Big deal.

Hobbs can’t possibly promise anybody more than 10 wins this season, and certainly not 18, like last season. But that was a season marked by off-court blemishes.

At Midnight Madness, Hobbs dismissed publications that have predicted GW will round out the bottom of the A-10. With only one returning starter, four freshmen, two expected walk-ons and a slim lineup, those publications are probably right. So what he can promise is a season free of turmoil. Hobbs is concerned with playing respectable ball, win or lose.

Closing practice is the right decision, and it shows just how serious Hobbs is about turning the men’s basketball team around, regardless of wins and losses. And in light of last year’s troubles, that is probably more than anybody at GW could ask for.

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