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1/23/2023 2:53 pm  #1

A Long Time Coming

There is a great deal of basketball left to be played this season and as most of us know, GW fans are conditioned to expect the unexpected or even worse, expect the worst.  It's not going out on a limb to suggest that as a GW fan, the challenging days have exceeded the celebratory ones.   Perhaps for no other sustained time in our history has this been more true than during the years since GW won the NIT Championship.  (Certainly, 1-27 epitomizes suffering at its finest but the time it took to dig out of that hole is paltry in comparison.)

Someone rather comically tweeted that GW basketball was back as evidenced by a line to the rest room at Saturday's game.  I'm not sure if we're back, all the way back, or on our way back.  What I do know is this...winning is fun.  Watching good basketball is fun.  Feeling confidence in a coaching staff is fun.  This isn't the "try to avoid the pillow fight" Colonials nor is it the "beat who you're better than while losing to everyone else" Colonials.  Playing STL to the wire.  Winning at Mason.  Knocking off Dayton.  These are big time performances.

Without any exaggeration, when I first looked at GW's conference schedule, my initial thought was that GW could realistically go 0-6 to start conference play.  Not in the "sure you think 0-6 because you always think the worst" sort of way.  I am talking about a very legitimate chance at 0-6.  Nobody could have predicted Loyola's inaugural run in conference play.  Richmond lost a lot but was still going to be a tough out in their arena.  UMASS had mopped the floor with us to end our season last year, and was now being coached by Frank Martin.  St. Louis and Dayton were being picked by some to win the A10.  In between those two came a road game at George Mason where Kim English was steadily improving their program.  If I could have had a 2-4 record back in September for these first 6 games, I would have jumped at it.  Instead, it's 4-2 (with the two losses each being games GW led at halftime).

Conditioned as we are, it's only natural to read a post like the one gwstudent2024 wrote this morning raising the notion of playing down to our competitition and nod in agreement.  It has happened this season and it may certainly happen again.  Maybe this team terribly disappoints from here on in.  That's not what I'd predict or expect but it also misses the point of the here and now.  Right now, we are supporting a team that is fun to watch and is playing well.  This during a season which could easily have been described as a "lost" season until next season's rectruits arrive.  We have (or certainly should have) confidence in CC and a coaching staff who are energetically and skillfully getting the job done.  It hasn't been this much fun since.....Madison Square Garden.

It has in fact been a long time coming.  Whatever was done, not done, said or not said to thrust the past 6 seasons upon us fans, warranted or otherwise, represented a steep form of punishment.  Penance has been served.  It's time to sit back and have some fun. 

Last edited by Gwmayhem (1/23/2023 2:59 pm)


1/23/2023 3:16 pm  #2

Re: A Long Time Coming

Well, we did lose at home to UC San Diego (2 years in D1), crapola Pepperdine, crosstown dishrag American, and got floorwiped by Seattle U. Directionally there was almost nowhere to go but up. Also the conference is complete garbage this year. But watching the in-game coaching, body language of the players, scintillating individual talents such as JBIV, the important maturation and development of BA and Hunter Dean, and the all-around demeanor of the head coach and his staff, is all very encouraging. We're now ranked in the 4-6 range in various conference metrics, and there's some buzz around. I'd like to congratulate TV on her courage in canning JC after I'd advocated for her ouster. This is working out great. Now extend CC, or else prepare a GoFundMe for Larranaga's pacemaker.

Last edited by Mentzinger (1/23/2023 3:19 pm)


1/23/2023 3:16 pm  #3

Re: A Long Time Coming

Oh, and nice nod to David Crosby on the post title.


1/23/2023 3:21 pm  #4

Re: A Long Time Coming

Well said. It has taken some time for the players to buy into CC's system, but they really seem to be getting it now. A masterful defensive effort coupled with magnificent guard play on the offensive end (despite literally no bench) against a much taller and more athletic opponent was indeed a joy to watch. Now we just can't overlook St. Joe's Wednesday night!


1/23/2023 3:23 pm  #5

Re: A Long Time Coming

Maybe I have been conditioned after watching 30+ years of GW basketball that there is always another shoe to drop. Maybe because I have a coaching background, I am acutely aware of how fragile success is in this game and how quickly it can go away. But I am not just ready yet to have fun with this season. As someone much smarter than me once said ... there is a lot of basketball left to be played.

Now none of that should be taken as I don't think things have been surprisingly better this season, that the win over Dayton wasn't great or that I don't think we are headed in the right direction. I didn't get too overly worked up over the OOC losses, so in fairness, I'm not going to get too high on the Conference victories as impressive as they might be. There are a few reasons for that. First, if this were a younger team, there would be some hope for continuity. Unfortunately, we are likely to have very little carry-over from this season to next. In essence, the real rebuild starts in 2023-24 and while we have 3 impressive signings, we are going to need a whole lot more in the form of freshmen and transfers. Second, while we are winning and CC is doing a great job with a short bench, we are an unfortunate injury away from disaster. If we were to lose any of James, Brendan, Max or Ricky for a couple of weeks or the season we would likely fall towards the bottom of the league quickly. Third, even if we remain completely healthy, you begin to worry about the minutes toll being taken on James and Brendan. Close to 37 minutes per night will take its toll over time. CC has no choice here because he literally doesn't have any options but it would be a minor miracle if James and Brendan didn't start to show some fatigue at some point. So it's hard to have fun in the middle when you are acutely aware of all the things that can still go wrong.

But yes, this season is generally more enjoyable than those since ML was forced out. However, we are still a long way from that point.

Last edited by GWRising (1/23/2023 3:26 pm)


1/23/2023 4:02 pm  #6

Re: A Long Time Coming

Thank you Mentz for noticing the thread's title.

Every single point which refutes my post in any way can not be disputed.  We do have some early bad losses.  We are an injury away from a potential disaster.  JB and BA may very well lose some effectiveness due to fatigue.  It's not a stellar, or even average, A10.  Success is fragile and can go away quickly.  All of the above are true.

That said, think about the past 6 seasons (that's 6 friggin years) and think about where this program is right now, this moment.  My point is a very simple ain't a bad time to sit back and smell the roses.

     Thread Starter

1/23/2023 5:16 pm  #7

Re: A Long Time Coming

Good and valid points all.  Can make a strong argument for the "glass half empty" view.  It is true that we are one injury away from disaster, and players such as Ricky and Hunter have a history of injury.  Not to mention Amir, who is a major piece of the puzzle these days.  Further, in terms of wearing down, I probably worry most about Max due to this being his first year as opposed to Bishop and Adams, who both appear to be in top flight condition.   Still, I also reflect on some of the great Temple teams under Chaney, that only went 6 players deep.) Then there is next year, with the losses of  Ricky and Brandon, the likely loss of Bishop, and who knows about Hunter.   As Rising said (and I agree), that the real rebuild starts next season.  Still, and somewhat uncharacteristically for me, I am in the glass half full camp.  Not only do we appear to be on the way to a super frosh class, but the entire portal thing means we no longer have to wait for frosh to develop or for transfers to have to sit for a season before they become eligible.  We can go out and get developed and accomplished players, which I would think would be somewhat easier coming off of what appears at this point to be a very successful season.    This means we can sell the success of the team itself to potential transfers as opposed to the opportunity for immediate playing time.   But by far the biggest reason for optimism is the coaching staff.  It may be a bit premature, but Caputo is showing that he can coach, he can teach (look at the significant improvement of every one of the the returning players), he can develop a game plan, he can adjust during the game, he can recruit (Max, the 3 committed frosh and even Clark and he has set the bar high, not only for incoming players but for those already on the team.   All that, and donuts too.    We should all be indepted to Coach Christian for bringing to GW one of the best backcourts in the nation, along with solid players such as Lindo and Dean, and Caputo certainly inherited a far better team than Christian did, but as Wisconsin Colonial and I were recently discussing, during the post game interviews, Christian would talk about everybody on the team loving each other while Caputo would discuss how he is teaching the intracacies of rebounding or how playing defense  allows the team to run more.    So yes, I am very upbeat about the program so long as this current coaching staff is on board.  Looking forward to some fun years ahead, and it has been a long time since I could say that.

Last edited by Long Suffering Fan (1/23/2023 5:21 pm)


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