With 55 years of GW men’s basketball alumni back in Foggy Bottom for the men’s basketball homecoming game against Charlotte Saturday, head coach Karl Hobbs wanted to make sure to take the opportunity to connect Colonials past with present.
GW’s current and former players got a chance to meet Friday night as part of this weekend’s homecoming festivities, with a number of Colonial greats imparting words of wisdom to the current generation.
“I wanted them to share some of their stories,” Hobbs said. “I wanted them to talk about the pride that they have for this place and I wanted them to share that with our players and it was such a great moment last night.”
“We want to make sure that we keep that connection,” Hobbs added. “We want to make sure that we keep those guys involved because they’re part of the GW family and they established this program.”
For Vaughn Jones, a member of GW’s all-century team who played on three NCAA tournament teams as a Colonial, the meeting Friday night was a chance to talk to sophomore Aaron Ware about playing forward and what it meant to play basketball at GW.
“I spoke to him about playing the same position that I played, I believe he’s a small forward, and just kind of giving him the good old GW talk about what we stand for in terms of excellence and getting back to the NCAA tournament and representing right,” Jones said.
That conversation paid immediate dividends for Ware in Saturday’s win over Charlotte, as the second-year forward attributed part of his 13-point, eight-rebound performance against the 49ers to Jones’ advice.
“What I took away from him is he pretty much plays the same position that I did and he was a great player when he was here. His whole thing, our conversation, was just to play my game,” said Ware, who described the experience of meeting his GW predecessors as “incredible.”
“The first five, 10 minutes of the game I was tending to rush everything,” Ware added. “I was pretty much kicking the ball all over the place, and he told me yesterday to just calm down when I’m playing, to just play my game, and that’s what I ended up doing today.”
Another all-century team member, former GW player and head coach Bob Tallent, said talking to the current team was his favorite part of the weekend’s festivities and that he was impressed with the GW players, calling them “sharp, smart young kids.”
Still, being impressed didn’t stop Tallent from confronting freshman guard Lasan Kromah, a strong three-point shooter who has made only 50 percent of his free throws this year.
“I asked him, how can a guy shoot from 25 feet with people hanging on him and not make a foul shot?” Tallent said. “He told me the reason he didn’t shoot well was because it got quiet when he was shooting foul shots, and I’d never heard that one before.”
For sophomore guard Tony Taylor, having so many former Colonials in attendance Saturday night made GW’s win over Charlotte that much more special.
“We wanna play hard and well every single game, but this was just really specialm that the alumni could come and just watch us play,” he said. “We wanna get back on this winning page and we want to win and hopefully someday we can go to the Sweet 16 like they did.”