One of my Christmas gifts this year was a nifty coffee table book on the X-Men that ends with a brief bio and description of Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin aka Colossus. As a kid, I read X-Men intensely and found Colossus to be one of the more boring characters developed in the group of fictional mutants. At the same time, there were a number of things about the Colossus of my youth that were admirable -- character qualities that stood out. Colossus was young, strong, disciplined; a reluctant warrior. He might bore, but he could never be a heel; he was without a plausible dark side.
I was thinking about Colossus as I watched Georgetown dominate UConn to kick off the Big East conference schedule on Monday night. The win over the Huskies came after a fairly impressive drubbing of an undisciplined Florida International Union team. The victory reflected a young, coalescing squad that could challenge any team in the Big East. The UConn match, however, exceeded expectations. Georgetown's young team was physical, disciplined, and motivated. And, all the while, the Hoyas are a likable team that will be continually underappreciated because of the Princeton offense. Greg Monroe is the perfect player for the team to form around. Monroe was fearless matching up with Hasheem Thabeet and following Monroe's lead, Thabeet's seven blocks did little to rattle Georgetown -- a sentiment that culminated in DaJuan Summers' confident attacks of the basket late in the second half. The upcoming five game stretch will be the crucible in which this season's team is either forged or broken. Home against a Pitt team that hasn't really been challenged in their undefeated run thus far (although Rutgers played Pitt pretty close yesterday); then to South Bend to take on a mercurial Notre Dame; then home for back to back games against Providence and Syracuse; and then down to Cameron Indoor Stadium to renew rivalries with the second-best team in the ACC. Young, strong, disciplined, reluctant warriors: the Big East's Colossus. Bring 'em on.
One other note: Although he only played six minutes, Jason Clark continues to show that there may be some serious talent on the Hoyas bench. We went to watch Clark play last year in the Catholic High School championship at American University and there was little about that game that prepared me for what Clark has become in G'town's scheme: Clark seems to have effortlessly slid into PE2's role as a defensive disruptor, a hustling player that fills passing lanes, flashes out in transition, and shows enough offensive competence to require attention from opposing defenses. He is my favorite player to watch on the team, for much the same reasons that I loved watching Patrick Ewing Jr. play.