Gerry Gimelstob, George Washington University's basketball coach, went to church Sunday and walked out with a starting power forward for next season.
During services at his father's Pentecostal church in Baltimore, Tim Dawson, a 6-foot-6 player from undefeated Dunbar High School of Baltimore, signed a national letter of intent to attend GW.
Gimelstob said Dawson, whose team was 59-0 during his two seasons at Dunbar, told him early last week that he would sign with the Colonials, but wanted to do so during Sunday's services. "So, I said, 'Of course,' " Gimelstob said. "What choice did I have?"
So Sunday, Gimelstob and assistants Mike Cohen and Merlin Wilson attended the Rev. Ellis Dawson Sr.'s services at the Zion Miracle Temple on Pratt Street.
During the 2 1/2-hour service, Dawson and his mother signed the letter. Then, according to Gimelstob, who is Jewish, the congregation prayed for GW and its coaches.
The other finalists whose prayers for Dawson went unanswered were Tulsa, Tennessee, Arizona State, West Virginia, Boston College and Connecticut.
The Rev. Dawson said he was happy the recruiting process was over and, "It's a shame you have 50-60 colleges going for one kid, when there's probably hundreds of kids out there who need a college and nobody wants them."
One of those players was the Rev. Dawson's older son, Ellis Jr., who graduated from Dunbar last year. "One reason we leaned toward GW is that it was GW that helped my other son get in college (New York Tech, a Division II school)," the Rev. Dawson said. "We checked with the NCAA first to make sure it was legal."
Tim Dawson, who averaged 12 points and almost 10 rebounds per game at Dunbar after transfering from Towson Catholic, is the second forward/son of a Pentecostal minister signed by GW this month. The first was Bernard Woodside, a 6-5 forward from Hempstead, N.Y. Woodside's mother, father, three brothers and three sisters all sing in the church choir and perform as a family group. Gimselstob said he has promised the Rev. Leroy Woodside Sr. that the family, including Bernard, could sing the national anthem at a game next season.