- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 14, 2006

It was late in a tense game at Fordham. George Washington had let a sizable lead dwindle and was vulnerable for an upset in its first game without injured center Pops Mensah-Bonsu. Colonials coach Karl Hobbs was ranting on the sideline when his point guard walked over to have a word with him.

“I think it was at the four-minute mark that Carl Elliott came over and said, ‘This is when we take over the game,’ Hobbs recalled. “And what we need you to do is calm down. We are going to finish it off for you.’”

The brash New Yorker told his coach to chill. Had the point guard lost his mind? Did Hobbs immediately yank Elliott for insubordination?

Nope. Elliott stayed in the game and lived up to his promise. The Colonials pulled away, showing the maturity of a team able to cope with adversity.

“It was almost refreshing for him to do that,” Hobbs said of the unsolicited coaching tip. “I guess it speaks to his comfort level to be able to come over and tell me that when I’m in my raving mood. You better know what you are saying is the correct thing to come over to do that. That is also the respect he has earned from me as a basketball player.”

The fearless junior was just doing what he always does. The one-time reckless point guard known for racking up charging fouls is now the seasoned quarterback of the eighth-seeded Colonials, who play UNC Wilmington tomorrow in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Elliott’s frame (6-foot-4 and 220 pounds) makes him an atypical point guard. A second-team all-conference selection, Elliot provides a little bit of everything: passing, 3-point shooting, rebounding, defensive stops and steals.

He does it while constantly smiling and usually talking. Elliott is affectionately known as “Duke” and is known for cracking a joke in tense situations or at any other time.

“It never stops,” teammate and roommate Danilo Pinnock said. “He brings everybody up. When guys are down, he is the first one to put a smile on your face. When you are around him, you always have to keep an eye on him to see what he will do next. He is just so funny. He’s a comedian. If basketball doesn’t work out, he might have something in comedy.”

Elliott sees his role as not only running the team but also to keep it smiling.

“I am just a fun guy,” he said. “I don’t like walking around like I have an attitude all day. Life is too short. I just try to have fun every chance and get and try to keep the guys light. If we’re not having fun, it is not going to be a good season. I just keep smiling.”

And so have the Colonials.

Elliott saved the Colonials’ perfect Atlantic 10 regular season with a game-winning putback against Charlotte in overtime. He averages 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals while making 43.7 percent of his 3-pointers. He can take over a game with his outside shooting like when he hit three late 3s to lift the team at Richmond or when he tallied 15 points, 10 rebounds, five steals and three assists as GW overcame a 17-point deficit to win at Xavier.

“I think he is one of the most underrated point guards in the country,” Hobbs said. “The advantage he has over all of them is his size. He is bigger than all of them. He is the one guy that can get 10 rebounds and still have eight assists. He can get eight assists and still get 20 points. He is the one guy that can do a combination of all those things for us. He is the guy that can will us to the next level because whatever we need, he can give it to us.”

And Elliott does it with a relish for getting dirty. After getting elbowed in the head in the win against Maryland, he finished the game with a bandage covering the gash. He is the first player to dive on the floor or look for contact in the lane.

It is no surprise he plays with a physical nature, considering he passed on football scholarship offers from Wisconsin and Iowa. The standout receiver had no big-time offers in basketball, and the Brooklyn native chose GW over American, Dayton, Massachusetts and Duquesne.

“I thought about football, but my love is basketball,” Elliott said. “That is what I grew up playing. When I was child, it was always basketball. I didn’t know anything about organized football until I went away to [private] school. You have to go with your first love.”

Said Hobbs: “He didn’t want to play football in college. Thank God.”

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