Two Georgetown Players Think College Basketball Should Have a Bubble

Two Hoyas players think college basketball needs a bubble originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced several sports leagues and organizations across the globe to get creative for a competitive season. For Georgetown men's basketball players Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair, they believe that the entire college basketball season should be held within a bubble. 

"I think the NBA set a great example with the bubble," Pickett told the media during a Tuesday Zoom call. "I think college should implement the same type of format to keep the players, coaches and staff and everyone else involved as safe as possible." 

Several professional leagues decided to hold their 2020 seasons within the confines of a bubble-like environment amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Each of those leagues - the NBA, WNBA, NHL and others - were wildly successful in curbing the spread of the virus. Other leagues that did not opt for a bubble, like MLB and the NFL, haven't been able to keep the virus from affecting their teams. 

Within a bubble, the respective league had regular COVID-19 testing, strict protocols on who could and could not enter the space and mask-wearing in all instances except when playing. 

"If we follow the NBA and what they did, I think we should be fine," Blair said. "Everyone gets tested every day in the bubble, everyone's going to be safe and in one spot. So if we follow them everything should be fine."

Already, college basketball has had 39 programs pause basketball activities due to the virus, according to SBUnfurled's database. That's in addition to the 10 teams that decided they would not be having a season altogether. 

Some preseason tournaments are creating small bubbles with regular testing for teams to knock out a handful of nonconference games without issue. Still, individuals are testing positive before the event and with the way the NCAA has set up the season, one positive test typically forces an entire team to sit out for two weeks. 

To help control the environment and the spread, many schools have limited the amount of individuals on a college campus. It's not necessarily for collegiate athletics, but is an added benefit for basketball programs looking to create their own bubble of individuals. 

Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing thinks his school has been more strict than others. The Hoyas have had the same protocols since Day 1.

"I think that's one of the things that Georgetown has been a stickler with. Our protocols have been the same since Day 1, we've been testing three times a week," Ewing said.

"They're a stickler about masks, socially distance and when they see people not socially distanced and on campus, they talk about it or they bring it up to them. They only brought back 500 kids to the campus so there's not a lot of people here. So you know, in terms of distancing, socially distancing, it's a lot easier to do that when there's not a lot of people here."

In a sense, the Hoyas have created a mini-bubble on their own campus. Ewing, who contracted the coronavirus in May, has stressed the sacrifice it takes from each individual to be able to play this season. One of those sacrifices is limiting who they get into contact with. This includes families and significant others. 

"The people that they need to be around is us. We're the ones, we have to be safe, we have to be cautious," Ewing said. "And one of the things I talk about every day is just how it's spiking out there, universities that we're going to be competing against having to shut down just last week. So we have to make sure that we are extra cautious in what we are doing."

So far, so good for the Hoyas. The men's basketball team has not had any issues thus far in preparing for the season, but as Ewing would say -- 'knock-on-wood' in regards to that statement. They've only gotten to the brink of the season by being smart and making the sacrifices that are necessary to keep themselves safe. That has to continue. 

"I can't even go home and I live 15 minutes away, to go see a mom and my sisters and my family," Pickett said.

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