Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

GU Could Learn from Detroit’s Work Ethic

It was just rotten luck that I never got a chance to write about the Pistons. I obsessed about the NBA and the Pistons all year and they finally made it deep into the playoffs two weeks after the final issue of the school year.

Well, the NBA is back.

Looking at that fairytale season, where the Pistons were not expected to beat the Nets, let alone the Pacers and then the best of the West, people spoke about the lessons that every team should take from Detroit.

Pundits spoke of the way that basketball was “supposed to be played.” It was said that all teams should look to the Deeeetroit Bas-ket-ball model.

The Hoya basketball team, which opens up Monday against Temple, is no different. While it’d be unrealistic to suggest that the Hoyas will win the NCAA title, the similarities between the two teams give us hope that a little chemistry, a lot of luck and playing the right kind of basketball could lead to a season that is at least fun to watch.

For the Pistons, they entered the season with a relatively lukewarm lineup and Ben Wallace’s flamboyant ‘fro. Grant Hill and Jerry Stackhouse, among other great players to dress in the team’s red, white and blue (and that gross teal for a while) had walked away for more money or a better chance to make it to the playoffs.

A literal band of rejects led by Chauncey Billups (on his fifth team in seven seasons), the Pistons had no real superstars and no seasoned veterans. At best, they were joined midway through the year with the prototypical bad-boy – Rasheed Wallace – who, while passionate, seemed always liable to throw the season away.

But in the end, it was these 15-odd guys that ended up at the same place at the same time, and they became a team.

Over the past few years, the men’s basketball team at Georgetown has seen the same sorts of transition, losing players to other universities and watching its most recent superstar, Mike Sweetney, leave for early entry into the NBA draft.

But somehow, this year’s team ended up together. They have neither the greatest recruits nor the greatest upperclassmen, but they are this year’s team.

And the fans have to accept that.

Just as Michiganders supported the Pistons as they “went to work” all year, the Hoya fans should find a way to muster that same kind of rabid enthusiasm.

It doesn’t take a blue-collar gimmick, either, just a whole-hearted support of the motley crew we’ve got. When Georgetown students get behind the team, the boys on the court have more motivation to succeed. How nice would it be to hear “We’ve got the best fans in the world” spoken from the floor of MCI Center?

The team doesn’t just get behind the fans, either, but also should be able to rally around their coach. A new coach with a phenomenal past can change the way a team plays; we saw it in Detroit and we will see it at Georgetown. The players walked all over Esherick but, as does Larry Brown, John Thompson III commands respect.

It’d be great just to see the team run a play when they come out of a timeout, proving that they listen to and respect their coach. It’d be great to see JTIII run a defense-oriented system to complement his Princeton-style offense.

So many simple things can make a big difference.

I’d love to see someone in blue and gray box out. I’d love to see someone dive for a ball that is soaring out of bounds. I’d love to see us be ferocious on defense. The saying goes that offense wins games and defense wins championships. Well, I’ll bet that defense can win us a game or two.

Regardless of team’s final record, it will be their ability to coalesce as a group that will make this season fun. They may not make it to the tournament, or even the NIT, but it will be their ability to play basketball the way it was meant to be played – moving the ball around, playing as a team and hustling their asses off on defense that will make this season enjoyable. The same kind of enjoyable basketball that Pistons fans saw all season and the rest of the country saw last May and June.

Geoooooorgetown Bas-ket-ball.

Erin Brown is a senior in the School of Foreign Service and a contributing editor for The Hoya. She can be reached at brownthehoya.com. Running the Option appears every Friday.

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