Pops: Around the World and Back at Home in D.C. Again
GW Great Pops Mensah-Bonsu Back in 'Second Home' Hoping to Stick With NBA's Wizards
Oct. 9, 2013
Pops Mensah-Bonsu is back in Washington with Wizards, his latest stop in a long journey
The Washington Post, Oct. 14, 2013
Pops Mensah-Bonsu: From King of GW to Ambassador of Europe
GWsports.com, June 13, 2012
GW Men's Basketball Alumni Shining Around the World
GWsports.com, June 3, 2013
Born in London of Ghanaian descent and having played professionally in Italy, Spain, Russia, France and Turkey, as well as with five NBA teams in the U.S. and Canada, it would be difficult to begrudge the well-traveled Pops Mensah-Bonsu for the opportunity to sleep in his own bed.
This NBA preseason, Mensah-Bonsu is enjoying the chance to do just that as he competes for a roster spot with the Washington Wizards. Over a decade after first arriving in D.C. to study psychology and play basketball at GW, the fan favorite virtually everywhere he's played still refers to the nation's capital as his "second home."
Mensah-Bonsu was part of a 2002-03 recruiting class for George Washington that also included Mike Hall, whom Pops calls the "best rebounder I've ever played with." It was with Hall that he took Foggy Bottom on a ride to No. 6 in the national polls in 2005-06, the first time in 50 years that GW was able to boast a top 10 national ranking.
Still in touch with Hall and other former GW standouts Danilo Pinnock, Carl Elliott and Maureece Rice, Mensah-Bonsu is in a position to reflect on where he's been and where he still wants to go.
Speaking about the prospect of making the local NBA team, Mensah-Bonsu was equal parts optimistic and nostalgic. "I look at it as an opportunity. It's been a long road for me. I started at GW 10 years ago, and I've been based in D.C. ever since. This is my second home and any opportunity is a good opportunity, so I'm just glad I'm here."
The "here" that he referenced was Verizon Center in downtown D.C., where on October 8 Mensah-Bonsu competed for the home team in Washington, albeit as a professional seven years after he last represented his second home on the collegiate level with the Colonials.
In the Wizards' preseason debut against the new-look Nets, Mensah-Bonsu teamed with John Wall and Nenê to take Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Jason Kidd-coached Brooklyn squad to overtime, with GW's former star contributing two points, three rebounds and a steal in nine minutes of action.
For Pops, however, the game's result is just another part of his story.
"Every experience I've had has helped mold me into the person I am today," he said. "I've had a few stints in the NBA. I've played for about four or five teams, and even though I've been cut or released a few times, I feel like whenever you lose, you should never lose a lesson, so any experience I've had is a life experience. I've grown as a man, and it's made me, like I said, the man I am today. I take every experience as something that's helped me become the person I am. I can appreciate everything I've been through up until this point. I'm glad I've been through it, and hopefully I get more of an opportunity here, and we'll see where it goes."
For the GW faithful and the college basketball fans across the country that Mensah-Bonsu and Co. captivated in 2006, the firm belief is that "where it goes" will be exciting and memorable in true Pops' fashion.
Nolan Jr. Impressing with Big and Small Plays
The play won’t show up on Terry Nolan Jr.’s personal highlight reel, which is already loaded with high-flying dunks, acrobatic finishes and other...
Colonial of the Week Presented by Capgemini: Yuta Watanabe
Watanabe hit a pair of career milestones while leading the men's basketball team to key victories at home over Morgan State and vs. Temple in the BB&T...
Watanabe Named A-10 Co-Player of the Week
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- After leading the GW men's basketball team to wins over Morgan State and Temple last week, senior guard Yuta Watanabe has been named...
Bolden Steps Up as Men's Basketball Earns Key Victory
With a tense finish looming Sunday afternoon against Temple, Jair Bolden wanted the ball in his hands. No pressure.
Men's Basketball Outshoots Temple, 71-67
WASHINGTON -- At the site of the 2018 A-10 Championships in March, GW men’s basketball took center stage at Capital One Arena in downtown, DC and took ...
Watanabe's Complete Performance Sparks Men's Basketball
Yuta Watanabe has earned a reputation as one of the top defenders in the Atlantic 10, using his unique combination of length and athleticism to frustrate...
Men's Basketball Staves Off Morgan State, 73-66
Behind a career-high 26 points from Japanese sensation Yuta Watanabe on International Night at the Smith Center, the George Washington men’s basketball...
Men's Basketball Hosts Morgan State on Wednesday
After spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Las Vegas playing a pair of power conference teams, the GW men’s basketball team returns home to Smith...