By Matt Napolitano, Staff Writer
A recent discovery by scientists could bring a new life to the 2010-11 Hofstra Pride men's basketball season. According to experts from Morehead State University, Hofstra forward Greg Washington is one particularly special athlete and that's because of that fact he is vertically endowed.
"After months of studying his walking patterns and the luxurious view from the observation deck on his forehead, we have come to the conclusion that Mr. Washington is really f***ing tall", said Dr. Max Fierstein, Associate Professor of Biological Wonder at Morehead State. Fierstein's study of Washington began when the towering hoops star was just an infant with a three-foot vertical leap.
The Chronicle tracked down Greg's childhood pediatrician, who first started examining the senior forward when he was two years old. "I remember a nurse redirecting him to an adult health clinic down the block," said Dr. Tom McDonald, "I mean it's not her fault really, the kid was 6-foot-1 and had a five o'clock shadow, how was she supposed to know he was a toddler?"
From there on Dr. McDonald became mesmerized by the pre-schooler clothed in shirts from a big and tall shop. He brought in his childhood friend, Fierstein.
Fierstein knew that he couldn't let this subject slip past. After a few tests, the expert in human phenomena diagnosed the youngster with BFS, or Big Fella Syndrome. It is a common illness diagnosed in athletes that can affect height. Famous folks affected by this include Kareem Abdul - Jabbar, Yao Ming and Bill Walton.
Realizing the vertical advantage, the professor handed Washington a basketball at the age of 3 and just watched the building of a jolly green giant of hoops talent. By age 6, it was time for Washington to start first grade. His height, continuing to leap above his class, legally qualified Washington to be a redwood in the Sequoia National Forest.
"Needless to say, every school play we had to work around his height," says former elementary school teacher Judith Simmons. "One year we did Wizard of Oz and made him the tower in the Emerald City. We just sort of made it up as we went, a tree at the high school in Grease or a skyscraper in West Side Story. One year, we just made him the tallest oompa-loompa in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory."
Opposing middle schools were forced to get creative in guarding Washington on the hardwood. "Defending Greg was a struggle, like keeping a fat kid out of the bakery", said Ed Maldonado, head coach at Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow Middle School. "I mean we stacked our kids on top of each other, super glued his shoes, but nothing worked". During his time in middle school Washington averaged 85 points and 69 rebounds per game. His team took home 3 state titles, including a 267-12 victory in his graduating year.
After a successful high school career with better numbers than Chamberlain, Robertson, and Jordan combined, Washington was recruited by then Hofstra head coach Tom Pecora to play for the Pride. "I remember seeing him and thinking, wow, I hope his height doesn't distract people from my amazing hair", said Pecora, hurricane proofing his hair with a twenty-sixth coat of gel. "He was a large man, a great baller and I liked his hairstyle. A real trifecta in my book."
Washington, now with a no fly zone around him from the chest up, has become an asset to the team. As he heads into his senior year, he has already received some job offers outside of professional hoops that he may become intrigued by. One offer comes from the Italian government for him to push the Leaning Tower of Pisa upright. Other potential occupations now on the table include an offer to be the demon drop at a New Jersey Six Flags and an acting gig in a remake of Billy Crystal's classic "My Giant".
Washington has yet to comment on the offers, but when we asked him what he thought about being really f ***ing tall, he simply looked down and said, "Oh damn, I stepped on another reporter.