Georgetown's contest to design the Hoyas new court at Verizon Center is over and here is the winner!
Though I would have preferred something more outside the box like a gray parquet floor or the 'Jack the Bulldog' logo at center court like some of the entries contained, this court isn't a radical change from the current court shown below but nonetheless a good improvement:
The "Block G" logo at center court remains from the current floor at Verizon (it might be bigger on this court), but the 'Georgetown' on the baselines in the same wood color of the court is unique and provides a classic, gymnasium feel. The huge coup for the fanbase here, however, is the kente pattern in the paint, an homage to the Allen Iverson-era uniforms that contained the kente cloth pattern on the jerseys and shorts. More on the history of Georgetown and the kente cloth here:
"We tried to treat it [the pattern] to be fashionable as well as derivative and be careful of the idea of meanings behind it," then-Nike designer Ken Black told The Washington Times in 1994. The Hoyas also donned warm-ups with a black-and-white kente pattern all over it.
Upon his arrival in 1972, John Thompson transformed Georgetown from an Eastern College Athletic Conference afterthought into a Big East and national powerhouse by fielding teams made up almost exclusively of black players. Those players soon became the most visible symbol of one of the nation's leading academic institutions.
As Mike DeBonis wrote for Slate in March 2007, "the team's image was especially resonant in black America. Not only was this an all-black team with a black coach, the Hoyas also played in a majority-black city run by a black mayor." The kente cloth trim was another manifestation from that identity.
"We understood it was from Africa but didn't understand the history of it," Williams said. "We just thought it was cool, and it was different. Identity is everything, and maybe that was [Coach Thompson's] way of setting us apart."
And people embraced that style. It was full of swagger, and the Georgetown teams of the mid-1990s won big when they wore them - reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 1995 and Elite Eight in 1996. It's little wonder that Complex Magazine ranked the look No. 1 in its rankings of "The 25 Greatest College Basketball Uniforms of All Time" last March.
In addition to the new court at Verizon, the court at McDonough Gym for the women's team and where the men's team practices has been revamped and incorporates a similar design:
Kudos to Chris Grosse, the Director of Marketing for Georgetown Athletics, for spearheading this effort, and excellent work by Georgetown alum Kevin Rieffel in coming up with the winning design. Here are Kevin's thoughts on the contest and the winning entry:
This was an awesome contest that kept the excitement of Georgetown Basketball going through the spring and into the summer. I personally had a tremendous amount of fun working and discussing the various ideas and features via the blogs and message boards--especially Casual Hoya. There were a lot of great designs discussed and implemented, such as using a gray-wood court, featuring the bulldog or the seal at center court or within the 3-point arc, incorporating the Georgetown or DC skylines on the sidelines or baselines, and depicting Coach Thompson and our favorite players on the court. I submitted a handful of designs to make sure we saw various possible courts and found one that we all can be proud of. The month of sharing the ideas was a terrific way to walk down memory lane, as well as look forward to the future of Georgetown Basketball--which is certainly a bright one!
From an early point in the contest, it was pretty clear that the fans and the good people in McDonough wanted a design that was considered more traditional. Of course the new court design is based on the University's blue and gray tradition dating back to the Civil War-era. At center court, the larger block-G reintroduces to a national audience the logo that represents all of Georgetown's 20+ varsity athletic teams. The "HOYAS" logos continue the tradition of a school with the most uniquely recognizable college mascot name (and legendary origin story) to ensure that another generation of sports fans will keep asking what "Hoya Saxa" means. The newest added tradition is the paint--I am proud and glad that we can now call the kente-cloth patterned lane "traditional." I first remember seeing it on the collars of the Georgetown jerseys worn by Joey Brown, Othella Harrington, Don Reid and company (circa 1993), the sides of the jerseys of Othella, Allen and Jerome in 1994-96, and of course we've seen blue, grey, black, white and camouflage iterations on the warm-ups and jerseys of other Hoya legends since then. While I hope we can continue to appreciate the multi-cultural connotations of using the kente designs, there is no denying that it is just plain cool. I am proud to help contribute to the Georgetown Basketball program and tradition, I thank everyone for their feedback, suggestions and tweaks, and I hope fellow Hoyas fans are just as excited as I am to see our team make us proud out on this court!
- Kevin Rieffel C '06
Other notable entries:
If this new court doesn't get the Hoyas into the 2nd weekend of the Tournament (and beyond), then nothing will.
Except maybe the two below which would have guaranteed a National Championship: