Jonathan Davis and John Kopriva admit their dorm room needs more decoration. But more importantly, so does the Smith Center.
While the freshman forwards have hung only a single Michael Jordan poster in their Potomac House room, they care more about hanging championship banners from the arena’s rafters.
Davis and Kopriva will take the court this season as the spawns of what Kopriva referred to as a “new era” in GW basketball. And they’re in it together, whether that means adjusting to first-year head coach Mike Lonergan’s offensive strategy or coping with their new lives as collegiate student-athletes.
“Both of us are hundreds of miles away from home, so it’s not like we can just ditch over and go home real quick,” Kopriva, a Milwaukee, Wis. native, said. “We have to rely on each other. It’s great to have a big group of friends, but it’s special to have one guy where you’re in it for the long run.”
Placed in a room together while taking classes on campus this summer, the two formed such a close bond that staying together for the school year was a logical decision. They have an ease in their nature that comes with close friendship, spending most of their time together and adopting each other’s fashion.
“J.D.’s grandma knit us a scarf and hat with our initials in buff and blue, so those will be broken out pretty soon once it starts snowing,” Kopriva said.
The two living together was once an unlikely scenario. Davis and Kopriva weren’t even supposed be teammates, not to mention roommates.
Last April, the two freshman forwards were on different paths. Davis was headed to GW as a member of one of the strongest recruiting classes of former head coach Karl Hobbs’ career. Kopriva planned to attend the University of Vermont to play for the Catamounts’ then-head coach Lonergan. But their fates collided when the new Director of Athletics, Patrick Nero, released Hobbs, hiring Lonergan away from Burlington.
Kopriva requested to be released from his National Letter of Intent with the Catamounts, and followed Lonergan to GW. Davis was the lone Hobbs freshman recruit to stay in Foggy Bottom.
“I really liked coach Hobbs a lot, but I talked to my parents and we chose the school for everything,” Davis, who is from Simi Valley, Calif., said. “I lived on the West Coast my whole life, so I wanted to venture out and kind of grow up and be a man.”
Sharing a living space isn’t easy for any new freshman and the two Colonials are no different. While both agreed they were generally courteous roommates, Davis and Kopriva made sure to set some ground rules for co-habitation.
“We did fill out a roommate agreement. J.D.’s got to keep his hair products on his side,” Kopriva said.
Lonergan’s leadership is energizing, Davis said, and there’s a goal that the first-year head coach and the rookie roommates have in mind. It drives all of them with a clear passion.
“We want to win the A-10. I’ve never come to a school thinking that we’re going to lose or caring that we’re low in the rankings,” Davis said. “We see that, but it’s just motivation for us to prove people wrong and come out and win.”
Kopriva wants to provide the Colonials with a spark in the paint, speaking of following in the footsteps of fellow big man Jabari Edwards, who has worked with the freshman in workouts and practices.
The two are eager to take the court together, looking to transfer their relationship as roommates and friends into a formidable force on the court.
“It’s going to be us two hopefully creating matchup problems for the other team,” Kopriva said.