Colonials Invasion rocks renovated Smith Center

Strobe lights flickered across the crowd as fog billowed out onto the court. The cheers of GW fans at Colonials Invasion 2010 echoed in the rafters of the Smith Center, but public address announcer David Earl was unimpressed.

“Make them hear it in Georgetown,” he ordered the crowd, which met his challenge by yelling, cheering and stomping as it greeted the 2010-2011 basketball season.

The theme of this year’s Colonials Invasion was “Rock This House,” and the night was dedicated to introducing students, parents and fans to the newly renovated Smith Center, as well as the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

The event was hosted by men’s basketball junior Aaron Ware and women’s basketball junior Sara Mostafa, who kicked off the night with “GW Cribs,” a video tour of the Smith Center shown on the arena’s brand new high-definition video scoreboard. The event also featured highlights from both men’s and women’s games from last season, as well as “Colonial Army 101” videos that featured Colonial Army members teaching popular cheers.

From the moment it started, the goal of the night was clear: Make the Smith Center a tough place for opponents to play.

“We have to get back to making this building an electric place and a special place to play. We have to make it the most difficult place that the opposing teams hate to come and play at,” men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs said.

Mostafa agreed, emphasizing the importance of fan support to the teams.

“When you make a bucket, and the whole crowd starts cheering, that gives you even more adrenaline and gets you really pumped up.”

Creating an electric atmosphere for the fans took a lot of hard work and planning. The night was filled with giveaways and prizes, as well as multiple acts that captured the audience. University President Steven Knapp got in on the act, joining Mostafa and Ware in welcoming fans at the beginning of the night and urging the crowd to make the Smith Center “our house.”

Ariz Matute, the manager of the GW Spirit program, highlighted the effort put into planning the night.

“Every aspect [of Colonial Invasion] was planned months and months in advance: lights, sound, the performances,” he said. “We worked hard and wanted to accomplish a great show.”

Entertainment for Colonials Invasion was provided by Capital Funk as well as the First Ladies Dance Team and the GW Spirit Program. The Chicago Bucket Boys – a group of street performers who play five-gallon buckets with drum sticks – served as the finale Friday night.

The highlight of the evening, though, was the introduction of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Players and coaches were introduced one by one, and Hobbs and women’s basketball coach Mike Bozeman each made short speeches. In his speech, Bozeman promised the crowd his team would begin to restore the tradition of GW women’s basketball, while Hobbs encouraged fans to make the Smith Center one of the most hostile venues in the Atlantic 10.

After being introduced, both teams performed a choreographed dance. The women’s team wore shirts with the GW logo in lights and hyped the crowd with glow sticks. The men’s team players took a more refined approach, wearing dark three-piece suits with red ties and vests and dancing on their own as well as with partners from the First Ladies.

With the spectacle of Colonials Invasion now out of the way, Bozeman said his team was looking forward to getting back to work.

“They’re biting at the bit to get back on the basketball court,” Bozeman said. “I think the excitement [from tonight] will help boost us as we continue preparing for the season.”

The men’s basketball team will open its season with an exhibition game Nov. 6 against Bowie State and its head coach, former GW assistant coach Darrell Brooks. The women’s basketball team will open up versus Wisconsin-Green Bay in the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis Nov. 13. As the teams look ahead, they’re hopeful that Colonial Invasion will create the student fan support they’re looking for.

“We need every single last person on GW’s campus to support us,” Ware said. “I know we’ve been pretty average the last few years, but I promise you this year we will be very good, but we can only go as far as the fans take us.”

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