Dead Man Walking – The Rise and Decline of GW Basketball in the Hobbs Era
Let’s start with how Hobbs built to our season of glory 2005-2006 that ended with the disastrous Omar Williams story in the Washington Post. As I discuss prep schools, I admit that I haven’t done ehaustive research on their legitimacy and am going on some basic assumptions – sorry if I mischaracterize one or two. I will begin with the key recruiting class of 2002:
Pops Mensa Bonsu – Prep School
Omar Williams – Phony Prep School
Mike Hall – Real H.S.
Ale Kireev – Questionable Prep School
Recruiting class of 2003:
JR Pinnock – Questionable Prep School
Ricky Lucas – Real H.S.
Jaaron Greene – Questionable Prep School
Carl Elliott – Questionable Prep School
Recruiting Class of 2004:
Mo – Phony Prep School
Recruiting Class of 2005:
Rob Diggs – Real H.S.
Noel Wilmore – Real H.S.
Montrell MacDonald – Prep School
Transfers and walk-ons that came through in this era – Dokun Akingbade (redshirted in 2005-2006) and Regis Koundjia.
So our 2005-2006 roster was comprised of these 12: Pops, Mike, Omar, Carl, JR, Mo, Regis, Dokun (redshirt), Kireev, Montrell, Diggs, and Wilmore, plus a couple misc. guys. So leading up to our glorious year Hobbs had recruited a team that had SI professional level players on the team at one time, SEVEN if you count Akingbade and EIGHT if you count Regis who had that kind of talent but didn’t have the chance to develop. Pardon my French – but that was a fucking awesome lineup. The team’s key players included two players who went to phony prep schools, three that went to questionable prep schools, two that went to seemingly legit prep schools, one walkon, one transfer, one key player that went to a legit H.S. and two freshman (who didn’t contribute much in that year) who went to legit H.S.’s.
Hobbs was out there doing what he does best – grabbing talented players, many of whom had questionable academic backgrounds.
Now in another time and place it has been and will be discussed how JK and Hobbs could assemble THAT team and play the schedule that they did that year. Here’s our OOC schedule for that once in a millennium team: Kennesaw State, Norfolk State, Boston U., St. Francis, Maryland (BB&T), Florida International, Morgan State, Maryland Eastern Shore, NC State, and Stony Brook. So you take that team, virtually run the table and get an 8 seed with the “honor” to play UNCW and if you win, over all #1 seed Duke – both in North Carolina.
Then the apocryphal Washington Post story on Omar. Fair/unfair? Why not point out all the other teams that did the same thing? Was this a part of the media bias/conspiracy in favor of Gary Williams and Maryland that was getting eclipsed by Hobbs? Much more discussion on that elsewhere. Whatever, whatever – the result is that GW put the reins on Hobbs after that and now let’s look at the fallout:
Prior to the apocalypse it was pretty set that these were going to be our recruits for 2006:
Damian Hollis (btw he signed in February of 2006 before the Washington Post story), and
Theo Davis or Phil Jones or Jason Love.
Wise, Asarangue, Davis, and Jones all had VERY questionable academic backgrounds and were immediately ditched. Of those players only Wise turned into a legit star – but he is a legit star at Mississippi State now. He would definitely be the best player on our present team (you can look up his stats). Jason Love turned into a very solid player for avier, he’d be one of our better players, but he was a longer shot to come here. Hobbs has to now scramble and signs at the last minute King and Opoku. GW is caught with its pants down, everyone is in an uproar and the decline has begun. We won’t really understand the implications of everything until 2009, but it started here.
You still have enough in the tank for the 2006-2007 season with Carl, Dokun, Mo, Regis, Diggs, good contributions from King and Hollis to make the NCAA’s. Obviously the team is hurt by the early departure of JR. But it was the swan song.
You try to compensate with a couple of transfers – Cheyanne and Wynton.
2007 recruiting class – the first full year under the new rules – here’s what we get (all legit students):
Beatty, Jabari, Katuka, and avier. And frankly I doubt we recruited avier because the story is that his brother DeAngelo who played on Charlotte told him he should come here. But that class was a bust of epic proportions. We go into 2007-2008 full of high epectations. We don’t know yet that our talent level has decreased eponentially. We don’t know yet about the bad apples, personality problems, behavior issues, chemistry problems. I believe in my heart that if Hobbs does well with that team then Wesley Witherspoon comes to GW, instead of Memphis where he is playing 16 minutes per game on a roster with a bunch of NBA players. Instead the team implodes. Witherspoon doesn’t come, instead our 2008 recruits include:
Tony Taylor, Aaron Ware, and Matt Allbritton (all legit H.S. students). And this season, I guess everyone already knows what we have.
So, since the Washington Post story, Hobbs has recruited eactly ZERO players who could at this moment be seen as definite legitimate A-10 players. Remember Hollis doesn’t count because he was already signed. If you missed that, I’ll repeat it – Hobbs has not recruited ONE SINGLE obvious A-10 caliber legit player at GW since the Washington Post story. He 100% positively lost Wise and a prospect big man in 2006 and he 90% lost little Spoon because the team couldn’t play well in the new era.
I look at all of this and conclude that Oscar is right about Hobbs – he’s the same guy he always was. He isn’t allowed to recruit players that he can win with and he isn’t a good enough ’s and o’s coach to win with the players he can now recruit. I put a lot of the blame on JK because he’s in charge and sat there and watched all of this happen. Obviously Hobbs plays a role because he didn’t adjust to his new circumstances. But writing this I guess I better understand (though don’t condone) his bitterness.
So where do we go from here? I do note with interest that of the 4 known recruits for ’09, three are in prep schools and two have been linked/rumored to behavior and character issues/problems. So has the school decided to allow Hobbs more leeway going forward? Is it too late? Probably, in my mind, unless Hobbs can get the big recruit he’s after. If he gets that player and is allowed to recruit from a broader pool, maybe he can turn it around. Of course I’d fire JK no matter what. In any event I hope this post gives the newbies on the board a greater historical perspective and maybe everyone else some more to chew on.