Hobbs and staff sign two recruits

Four years into coach Karl Hobbs’ tenure, the GW men’s basketball program is developing a distinct identity.

The Colonials signed high school players Robert Diggs and Montrel McDonald to letters of intent last week, bringing in two recruits who appear to fit the coaching staff’s mold. Both are versatile and athletic and have the ability to play several positions, Hobbs said. Next season will be the first featuring a GW roster filled completely with players Hobbs and his staff has recruited.

When evaluating recruits, Hobbs said the goal is not to find players who have hit their athletic peak. Instead, the coach said he must find players with the potential to grow into the Colonials’ system. Hobbs has hinted that potential, not polish, is an attribute he often looks for.

Especially because highly touted recruits, specifically big men, are not easily attainable at GW, a school without a large arena or gaudy training facilities.

“We see (Wake Forest University’s 291-pound center) Eric Williams,” Hobbs said. “We can’t get an Eric Williams to go to GW. We have to see an Omar Williams, and say how good can this guy be in a year or two years from now?”

Due to their modern facilities, Hobbs cited Rhode Island, Temple, Massachusetts, Richmond and Xavier as schools that have a distinct advantage recruiting-wise. For this reason, Hobbs said the Colonials try to avoid directly competing for players with any of those schools.

“We can’t compete with those schools on an even level if we try and recruit the same kind of guys,” Hobbs said. “Particularly if those players visit those schools first or second because they give the perception that when you go and visit and see those facilities, it gives the impression that they’re on a bigger level than we are. Young kids are very impressionable.”

The 2004-05 class truly fits the Colonials style of play, Hobbs said. The pair will fill the spots left open by senior T.J. Thompson, who will graduate next spring, and Tamal Forchion, who transferred to West Georgia State University in June.

Diggs is a 6-foot-8 inch, 180-pound forward from Brandywine, Md. Last year, in his junior season at Gwynn Park High School, he averaged 16.5 points, nine rebounds and two blocks per game. Marylandprephoops.com rated him the No. 1 wing forward in Maryland last season.

“He’s a very smooth operator,” Hobbs said. “Actually I think he’s one of the top players in the area. I think he’s a cross between Omar Williams and Mike Hall. Terrific shooter for a guy his size, and he truly wants to be a great player.”

Diggs was widely recruited. Before choosing GW, he looked at Pennsylvania State University, Hobbs said.

The second recruit is McDonald, a 6-foot-7-inch, 175-pound swingman from Fort Worth, Tex. He is currently in a post-graduate year at Bridgton Academy in Bridgton, Maine. In his senior season at O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth, he averaged 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4.5 blocks and four assists per game.

“He’s a lefty who has the chance to be one of the best athletes (GW) has ever seen,” Hobbs said.

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