The Full Nelson: Despite losses, patience will pay off

I don’t know too much about the stock market. Essentially, my knowledge extends to this: you do research on a company, buy low, sell high and turn a pile of change into piles of cash. Sounds pretty good.

Well, I’m here to sell you a sports stock, and its official title is the GW Men’s Basketball Bandwagon. There aren’t many people on board, so there is plenty of room for you up front, and I’m going to guarantee you a good return.

What do I mean by a good return? When GW gets good – and they will, I’ll explain in a minute – you’re going to want a spot on the bandwagon. But if you hop on board after the team is already successful, it won’t be very rewarding.

That’s the beauty of the loyal Red Sox fan. They’ve suffered so long that when the Sox win a World Series, their fans are going to strip naked and run through the streets wearing only a pair of red socks and a smile so big you won’t notice anything else. The longer you’ve been a fan, the better the rewards.

Now I’m not asking you to wait generations like those loyal New Englanders. I’m only asking you to wait a year and a half. Sure, the team is struggling this year. Their current losing streak is at five games, which is halfway to the 10 game losing streak that marked last season, and GW has not made an NCAA Tournament appearance since the 1998-1999 season. But as my limited stock market expertise tells me, you buy a stock when it’s low, and evidently, GW can’t get much lower. But research shows the future is quite bright.

In two years, T.J Thompson is going to be a senior point guard. Nothing sounds sweeter off the tongue to a basketball program than “senior point guard.” Thompson’s already shown he’s a capable leader, and there have been flashes of excellence (see his 24 point performance vs. T.J Ford’s No. 2 Longhorns). Put a team around him, give him three years of experience, and he’ll go places.

Karl Hobbs, a four-year point guard himself while at Connecticut in the early 1980s, will surely guide Thompson in the right direction. And as a top recruiter, Hobbs has begun placing the players around Thompson for the team to excel.

With Hobbs’ first full recruiting class, GW went from small and athletic to tall and athletic. Being the strapping 5-foot-8-inch young man that I am, I can tell you with great regret and sorrow that taller is always better in sports.

These tall, athletic freshmen are going to get a lot of playing time this year and next; they’ll also add more muscle and mass to their lanky frames. In two years, guys like Omar Williams, Mike Hall and Pops-Mensah Bonsu are going to be solid players that can rebound, score, bang with bigger boys and run the floor.

Seeing what Hobbs did at Connecticut, recruiting guys like Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton and Khalid El-Amin, you can only assume more quality players are going to join GW in the next two years. With a senior point guard spreading the wealth, GW will win the Atlantic 10 in the 2004-2005 season. And even if they lose in the A-10 tourney, they’ll get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Trust me, they’ll be good enough. I guarantee it.

So buy some GW Men’s Basketball Bandwagon stock, folks. Get on now and follow this team as it develops. They’re going to lose games and make mistakes, but such is the case with any young team. If you keep watching, the mistakes are going to diminish and the wins are going to increase.

This Saturday, the men begin a four-game home stand against Massachusetts. Then they’ll host St. Joseph’s, Duquesne and Xavier over the next week and a half. I love the Smith Center because it’s like an old barn. It’s so small that when you fill it up and the crowd gets going, the noise is deafening. Over this home stand, fill it up people. Go crazy. Get loud. Chant bull**** after every bad call. You’ve seen Hobbs. He loves it.

Keep going to the games and going crazy when you’re there, and in two years you’ll feel the rewards of getting on the bandwagon early. In two years, when they’re surprising everyone else, you can say you knew it all along. In two years, after I’ve already graduated, I’ll watch all you freshmen and sophomores with jealousy as you go to an NCAA tournament game.

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