Carl Elliott remembers the first time he came to GW to watch the men’s basketball team. Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Omar Williams and Mike Hall were freshmen and they were facing Old Dominion University at Smith Center. Elliott was sitting under the basket next to his mother Debra Cook when Karl Hobbs started screaming in his direction.
“That’s why we need you!” Hobbs yelled.
Elliott, now a senior, was confused. He gazed in every direction searching for the person Hobbs was speaking to.
“I was looking around and saying ‘Who is this guy talking to?'” Elliott said.
Hobbs pointed at Elliott and said, “I’m talking to you!”
“Right from there, I knew it was going to be a crazy experience when I finally got on campus,” Elliott recalled.
Calling Elliott’s experience “crazy” is a gross understatement. His four years here have been littered with shots that will forever be inked in GW lore. Elliott said his favorite came at Dayton in 2005, when he hit a half court prayer that gave GW sole possession of first place in the now defunct Atlantic 10 West division. That shot came in the first year a Hobbs-led Colonial squad qualified for the NCAA tournament.
Last March, Elliott helped GW to a 16-0 conference finish with an improbable tip-in at the buzzer against Charlotte. This moment closed out his junior season, but in truth, it should have ended his career in Foggy Bottom. He was meant to come in with the class of 2006 but sub-par SATs required Elliott to spend a year at Worchester Academy in Massachusetts. The year away from Foggy Bottom left him itching to help this team win.
That’s why it seemed strange when Elliott scored eight points in his Smith Center finale against Duquesne Saturday.
It was an odd sight to see him miss five of seven shots in his last game in a building where he’s lost five games in a storied college career. “Big shot” Elliott wanted to go out bigger than this and he thinks he can.
“I definitely want to play a couple more games and get to the NCAA tournament,” Elliott said hours before he left for the A-10 tournament in Atlantic City, N.J. “I think these guys are focused enough to help me do that. So, we’re going to do that.”
The make-it-or-break-it attitude that Elliott always displays is a result of his coach. Hobbs has been extra hard on Elliott because they are similar players: guards with a court vision who will do anything, be it dish out assists or score 25 points, to help their team to a victory. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native is the only player who Hobbs said has never had a bad practice day at GW. Hobbs also said he is confident that Elliott will land on an NBA roster.
“(Hobbs) is definitely harder on all guards, regardless of who it is,” Elliott said. “That’s definitely helped me grow as a player. Demanding perfection. I think that really helped me.”
The strangest part of Elliott’s story has nothing to do with basketball. The 6-foot-4 guard was a recruited football player out of high school and last year, during GW’s record-setting season, Hobbs said that Elliott may want to consider a career in football.
“If they call me to go to the combine, I’ll go,” Elliott said.
But who could call him? Who even knows that he plays football?
“I think some people know,” Elliott said. “If I got a call to go, I’d go. I’ll do whatever position they want me to play.”
“I haven’t considered that but if it happens, I’ll roll with it,” Elliott said.
– Andrew Alberg contributed to this report.