In one of his post-game interviews last season, GW men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs spoke about wanting to bring players of high character into his program. The Colonials were in the midst of a tumultuous season that would ultimately see the dismissal of three players for undisclosed team rules violations.
With incoming freshman Matt Allbritton, Hobbs seems to be practicing what he preaches.
“Matt is real honest and he reads his Bible everyday,” said his father, David, a minister. “He’s just a real low-key guy. He’s a great kid to have around the house.”
Allbritton said that much of his character comes from being raised in a Christian household. His father runs a sports-themed ministry in the Dallas area called the Winner’s Edge.
“We relate the Bible to sports and sports to the Bible,” said David Allbritton. “It’s a brand new concept but it’s growing real fast. A lot of people that would never go to church are coming to church and they’re experiencing Christ personally.”
One of the goals of the ministry is to help inner city kids and those struggling with drug addiction. Such outreach is nothing new to Allbritton, who said he hopes to bring his ethics to his new team and community. His family’s involvement with his father’s ministry has taken him on mission trips around the globe to about 30 countries, from Egypt to New Zealand. He said his time spent aiding impoverished children in Ethiopia and Kenya has had a profound impact on him.
“Feeding the poor kids was definitely quite an experience, one that has definitely changed me and how I view life,” he said. “I mean these kids don’t have anything basically over there. Seeing the kids is just a life-changing experience.”
His path to GW began when assistant coach Greg Collucci attended one of his high school’s playoff games last season. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard had been considering offers from Louisiana-Monroe and Eastern Michigan and also drew interest from Butler, South Alabama, and UNLV before signing with GW.
“I talked to coach Hobbs and he was so energetic about getting me,” he said. “I knew I had to visit the school. From there on it was great.”
One of the biggest differences between GW and Garland Christian Academy, his high school, is size. GW is home to about 10,000 undergraduate students, whereas Garland Christian has a student body of roughly 200. Allbritton said it will take some time to adjust to his new surroundings, both socially and athletically. He has been practicing former college and professional players in his area in an effort to become accustomed to the higher level of play.
“The competition is definitely going to be a lot tougher,” he said of the college game. “There’s definitely going to be an adjustment period for me.”
The speed and size of collegiate players might give him problems during games, but it seems unlikely Allbritton will be suspended for “violating team rules” as others have in the past. Knowing that might make Hobbs, and GW fans, sleep easier at night.