"Yes, yes, oh yes," was George Washington freshman Mike Brown's immediate reply when asked if he was looking forward to his first meeting with Pat Ewing, Georgetown's highly regarded 7-foot freshman. The two Northwest D.C. rivals will meet tonight at Capital Centre at 8 p.m.
Georgetown, 5-2 and ranked 17th in the UPI poll and 19th in the AP, could be looking past the youthful Colonials (3-2) to its game with the shoot-and-chase artists of Nevada-Las Vegas, Saturday at Capital Centre. The Hoyas are riding a four-game winning streak and are starting to blend into a smooth, efficient unit.
Brown, a 6-foot-9 center, arrived here only four months ago, but is aware of the longtime rivalry between the universities and is hoping he and his teammates can catch Georgetown when the Hoyas are feeling a letdown.
"We've improved each game, both offensively and defensively, and this game is a real big test for us," said Brown. "I haven't had that great game -- 25 points and 15 rebounds and great defense -- yet. (This) would be the perfect time to get it. They have a good team and Ewing is a great player.
"But, I'm a good player, too. All through high school, we played in several all-star games but never faced each other. His team was always in one bracket, mine in another. We never could get together on the court. I don't know how to play him yet, but it should be interesting."
Brown, a standout high school player from Newark, has been the "good big man" the Colonials needed, and more. He is the team's leading scorer and rebounder with 16 and 11 averages, respectively. He is shooting 52 percent from the floor, 55 percent from the line and has been called for only 12 fouls in five games. He had a high of 21 points against Siena, and had 16 rebounds, two shy of the Smith Center record, against Catholic.
The extremely confident and articulate Brown, who recently switched his major from engineering to accounting, has no complaints with his early collegiate totals, but feels he can do better.
"There are a lot of centers who are bigger, stronger and jump higher than I do. So, I have to outthink them if I expect to outplay them," Brown said. "One of my strengths is that I shoot the ball pretty good. I can't say I have any real bad weaknesses. I'm working to improve every part of my game."
GW Coach Gerry Gimelstob is more than satisfied with Brown's early performances.
"We feel in time he will be one of the most outstanding players in the country, and his first five games have far exceeded our expectations," Gimelstob said. "He's the type of player who can make everyone around him play better.
"Mike's intelligent and very hard-working. A lot of players are 6-9 and 230, but when a guy has that kind of size and is smart and works hard, he's going to be an outstanding player."
Gimelstob plans to use several types of defenses against the Hoyas tonight, but Brown will get his chance to guard Ewing man to man.
The Colonials played their best defensive game in a long while last Saturday, holding tough Eastern Eight foe Duquesne to 40 points in a 42-40 victory.
Like Duquesne, Georgetown prefers to run, and the Colonials will have to control the tempo to have a chance. Brown will have to score repeatedly inside.
"I knew when I signed here that I would be depended on to score and rebound right away," Brown said. "I feel I've done well the first five games. College ball is tougher than high school, but not as tough as it looks on TV. I know the games are going to get tougher. Starting tonight.