Pops Mensah-Bonsu Preps GW Women's Hoops for London Stay
Colonials Learn About the Landmarks From London Native and Former @GW_MBB Standout
Aug. 8, 2014
WASHINGTON - With just days to go before leaving for a 10-day European tour, the George Washington women's basketball team sat down with one of GW men's basketball's all-time greats, London native Pops Mensah-Bonsu, to learn about his hometown.
Mensah-Bonsu ('06) told the Colonials about a number of the sights they will see during their three days in London, including Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the London Eye. He also gave the team some tips on his favorite places to eat and shop before talking about his experience playing in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
"I thought hearing from Pops about London was really helpful," said senior Bria Bourgeois. "He was born and raised there, so I know he knows what he's talking about."
Mensah-Bonsu explained some differences between American basketball and European basketball, including a wider trapezoid-shaped key and more physical play, as well as a different style of officiating. In addition, he talked about the importance of the Colonials' trip to the sport of basketball, which is not as popular in England as it is in the United States and other parts of Europe - "we take a backseat to rugby, cricket and definitely soccer," he said.
He mentioned that the school the Colonials will play in London, Barking Abbey, is one of the best in the city. The Colonials will also conduct a youth clinic prior to their game.
"Basketball's not a big sport in London," he said. "That's why you ladies going there is a big deal. When I was growing up, women's basketball was not apparent; men's basketball was almost not apparent. When I found out you ladies were going to London to play basketball it was huge."
"Listening to his story and seeing how humble he is was awesome," said junior Alexis Chandler. "I'm most eager to visit London now because Pops spoke about how basketball, especially women's basketball, was almost irrelevant there, and now we are blessed with the opportunity to travel abroad and play the sport we all love in a place that at one time didn't really acknowledge basketball. As a female and as a basketball player, it feels good to know that there are strides being made for females everywhere to participate in basketball, and it is even greater to have the support of someone like Pops."
The GW women's basketball team will spend 10 days abroad in England and France from Aug. 13-23, making stops in London, Paris, Marseille, Nice and Monaco.