Since the 100th anniversary celebration of Georgetown Basketball and the Hoyas run to the Final Four in 2007 I have longed for G-Town to play in the Wooden Classic. I remember Rich Chvotkin and I discussing the top basketball programs in the modern era at the Ritz-Carlton. Georgetown and UCLA were certainly at the top of the list. I vividly remember the day that John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, came to speak at the Washington Metropolitan summer basketball camp. Since I was a young boy I have idolized John Wooden. His famous book, "They Call Me Coach," which contains his Pyramid of Success, has always been the standard for me on what a coach/teacher should be. Over the last few years I have heard the news that Georgetown now has more applicants from the state of California than any other state. It seems like only yesterday when the news of the Hoyas playing in the Wooden Classic hit the press. I remember the word spread like wildfire, and that my iPhone and Blackberry were buzzing day and night. It was a game and road trip that I would not miss.
Earlier in the week I arrived in Manhattan for the Jimmy V Classic. I thought about how the arrival of the then Lew Alcindor, from New York's Power Memorial High School on the UCLA campus, had helped catapult the school into national basketball prominence. Indeed it set the stage for the arrival of Bill Walton, and all of the famous big men who have attended UCLA. Likewise, when I returned to my old neighborhood in Stuyvesant town, it seemed like only yesterday when I moved to New York, and was able to see Patrick Ewing start his Hall of Fame career with the New York Knicks. Indeed Patrick had also helped to set the stage for Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and the other great big men who have come to the Hilltop in the modern era. Indeed it began a great week for the Hoyas, as Georgetown defeated two top basketball programs in Butler, and the University of Washington.
The day of the Wooden Classic, I got on the road early leaving Westwood for Anaheim. I parked in the lot at the Honda Center waiting for the NCAL Hoyas RV to arrive. I had a great time with friends Drew McGowan, Alan Greene, Roberto Lartigue, Elaine Kulm, and indeed made many new friends with the many CAL Hoyas. I met HU Director Bill Johnson at the Honda Center as we placed flyers on the seats reminding the GU alumni that our post-game party was moving across the street to JT Schmid's. I was very nervous about this game since seeing films of Isaiah Thomas, and the very athletic Washington Huskies. Georgetown surged in the second half to a big win for JT III and the team. It was thrilling to see all of the Georgetown fans in the Honda Center, and to hear the arena echo with the sound of Hoya cheers. My good friend Art Yoon gave me a tour of the UCLA campus, before I left. I have always loved the beautiful UCLA campus. However, nothing can for me compare to walking into Healey Circle, especially during the Holidays. Art and I hit the LA institution Apple Pan, and watched some football before I headed for LAX and the flight home. New York will always be my second home, but on this weekend in California with the many great Hoya alumni, friends, and fans I have found another home in the state of California. Thanks to the many Hoya alumni in California and the West for making the Wooden Classic a truly special Georgetown event! Hoya Saxa! We are Georgetown!
Dr. Thomas A. Wong
Hoya Hoop Club Vice-President & Director of Communications
Proud Member of Generation Ewing