And just like that, 34 years of GW men’s basketball in the post-season is over.
For GW freshmen, the men’s basketball team’s 2007-2008 season may seem disappointing just because the Colonials’ final record, 9-17 and 5-11 in the A-10, was a poor one.
But those who have followed the team for years know that this year was even worse than just a bad record. It is the worst since the infamous 1-27 record during the 1988-1989 season.
Coach Karl Hobbs, now finished with his seventh season in Foggy Bottom, said after a 67-63 loss to Massachusetts Saturday evening that he is disappointed with how this year played out. He said he thought last year was for rebuilding after the squad from two seasons ago lost four starters from a 27-3 team that was ranked No. 6 in the nation.
But, Hobbs said, this year ended up being the rebuilding year. He called the team young and inexperienced, which is true considering the squad had only one senior who had been recruited out of high school and only two players who started consistently last year.
What Hobbs had not anticipated was losing point guard Travis King for the entire season. King suffered a knee injury last August and it was determined in November that he would not be able to play. The Colonials did not have a back-up point guard on the squad and were forced to substitute a number of different players into that role, with most proving futile.
“I said we’d be a work in progress from day one,” Hobbs said after the UMass game. “There was a constant reinventing ourselves. We had to constantly make adjustments. Starting out without Travis (was really difficult). It was a point guard by committee for a while.”
Hobbs initially turned to senior Maureece Rice. The shooting guard struggled in that role and because of still unspecified violations of team rules, Rice was kicked off the team last week.
After also trying players such as junior Wynton Witherspoon, a forward, and freshman Miles Beatty, another shooting guard, at the point and trudging through a streak of seven straight conference losses, Hobbs finally decided to give walk-on Johnny Lee a chance to run the floor.
The second-year player, who is 5-foot-8 and a crowd favorite, proved to be the right piece, as the Colonials finally won on the road at St. Bonaventure in its eleventh try while reeling off four victories in five games. Lee also had a career-high 14 points in a 66-56 loss at then-No. 9/11 (AP, ESPN/USA Today) Xavier.
“Johnny made the most of it,” Hobbs said of Lee’s tenure as point guard. “We became a different team with him. He made some tremendous decisions with the basketball. We don’t get 63 points (against UMass) without him. He really was fun to coach. He evolved.”
Whether Lee will have the opportunity to aid his team next season as much as he did during this one is still to be seen, but with King returning to the team it is unlikely Lee will start in the point guard position. That is just one of many issues Hobbs and his staff will have to address before next season begins. Hobbs said he is aware that he and his coaching squad have a lot of decisions to make between now and October.
He said, “We have to reevaluate everything we’ve done this year.”