|The Hoyas took the extra effort to repair the image and relationship between American and Chinese basketball this week. (AP)|
By Matt Norlander
In the midst of a surprisingly good campaign, Georgetown hoops didn't need to do this. Didn't need the PR or the reminder of what happened last summer with the Bayi Rockets. But Georgetown's claimed all along that fight marred, only temporarily, what was an incredible trip. There were games after the fight, games that started and ended without a problem.
Seems the Hoyas are doing their best to make their team synonymous with good global diplomacy, as they hosted a high school team from China this week. USA Today's Nicole Auerbach reported Georgetown was a planned stop for Nanyang Model High School. Perhaps it was in an effort to -- I guess "ease tensions" is too strong a phrase so I'll go with -- relax the relationship between American and Chinese hoops. A small but meaningful meet-up.
The team is from Shanghai and in fact is the same school where Yao Ming played ball when he was a young, sprite 160 centimeters or so. According to the trip organizer, Joe Cooley, this kind of host-and-play trip is the first of its kind for a Chinese high school team. It's also made stops in Chicago, Buffalo and Pennsylvania. They're also heading up to see a Knicks game this weekend, according to Auerbach's article.
The Chinese players took photos with [Georgetown coach John] Thompson [III], and they also received pins and Georgetown T-shirts from the coach. More than most, Thompson understands and appreciates foreigners welcoming a basketball team with open arms and helping them explore a new culture.
"We had a great experience over there, the time we were in Beijing and Shanghai," Thompson said. "Part of that, above and beyond the basketball component is the cultural exchange, learning about their culture.
"This team is coming over here for a couple of games, and they contacted us. We just wanted to welcome them here and show them a little bit of Georgetown."
Good on Georgetown, who plays at St. John's Sunday.
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