Greg Collucci: Why the Buff and Blue needs you

Dear GW Basketball Fans,

As the 2010-2011 season quickly approaches, the GW men’s basketball team is preparing with great intensity and effort. The approach to our season, as laid out by Coach Karl Hobbs to both the players and the staff, is one of energy, excitement and enthusiasm.

But we need the support of our student body and our community. With your help and vocal support, the newly renovated Smith Center can become one of the toughest venues for visiting teams to play college basketball. This is a group of players who will make you more proud of this University with every game it plays. Every night, the players will wear their uniform with pride, and stir some of the memories of great GW teams of the past. It is imperative that our players understand the legacy of successful GW basketball, and what it means to play at this University. We firmly believe that they grasp the privilege of playing here, and this will be evident on the court.

The Atlantic 10 Conference has become one of the premier basketball leagues in the country. There are no holes in the schedule for any team in this league. Leading up to conference play, fans will immediately get a sense of where our basketball team is headed.

The 2010 NIT Season Tip-Off tournament will present a great challenge with America East favorite Boston University waiting in the wings to open the season Nov. 16. Following this matchup, No. 6 (AP) Villanova, among others, is a potential second-round opponent. True road tests will include local rival George Mason University, a long trip to Oregon State and a holiday break date with the University of Alabama-Birmingham. The fans at the Smith Center will welcome UNC Wilmington, East Carolina and Ivy League contender Harvard, among others in non-conference action. Atlantic 10 foes that will be visiting the Smith Center include Charlotte, Saint Louis and preseason No. 22 (AP) Temple.

The schedule will provide hurdles and obstacles at every stop. We have put our players in a position to make or break their own destiny. Hopefully, our supporters will give them the extra boost they will need to grind out some tough wins through the course of the season.

Depth will be a key attribute for this version of the men’s basketball team. It is our belief, as a coaching staff, that victories will be credited to different players on different nights. The experience that our players gained against quality competition last season will carry over to this season and be an asset in late-game and away-game situations.

The floor general for our team is Tony Taylor, our 6-foot-1 point guard. He has a great feel for our offense and the other players look to his leadership and knowledge of Hobbs’ system. Joseph Katuka is a senior leader who we will count on for inside scoring and as a physical presence on the offensive and defensive backboard. Sophomore Lasan Kromah, a third-team All-Atlantic 10 Conference preseason selection, will provide a strong defensive contribution and will score on a consistent basis. The freshman class will have time to grow Daymon Warren, a 6-foot-9 redshirt center, and Nemanja Mikic, a 6-foot-8 forward from Serbia will make significant contributions. They will be joined by fellow freshmen Chris Fitzgerald, a 6-foot-8 forward, and 6-foot-2 point guard Dan Guest. The list of contributors is quite long, and trying to pinpoint each player and his abilities on the floor is difficult because the group working as a whole will be the strength of this team.

Fans will be able to enjoy watching this team grow starting with the Nov. 6 preseason exhibition game against the Bowie State Bulldogs led by former GW assistant coach Darrell Brooks, right down to the last regular season game of the season against Dayton. It will be a long journey, but at the end of the day, I am confident that this group of players will meet the goals set forth by Coach Hobbs, and provide some very exciting times in Foggy Bottom! Thank you for supporting us and we look forward to seeing everyone at the games.

-The writer is a men’s basketball assistant coach.

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