We’ve longed informed our BTInsiders about tough coaches, often coming in the form of the #15 FCIL, #7 FEIL, or #16 BCIL.  In a recent “Players Tribute” article written by one of the few #14 BCIRs to ever play the game of basketball, Dikembe Mutumbo, the 7’2″ gentle giant goes on to say what it was like playing for coach John Thompson (#7 FEIL) at Georgetown. Under his leadership, you couldn’t play ball without doing well in school, and Dikembe learned that in a hard way during his sophomore year.

“I only missed one day of class at Georgetown,” Mutumbo writes. “But even one day was a mistake. I woke up that day with a toothache and decided to skip all of my classes. I went straight to the dentist and I forgot to call the basketball office to let them know. When I showed up to practice that afternoon, there was a piece of paper in my locker: It was a one-way plane ticket back to Congo. This was not a fake ticket. Coach Thompson really bought a one-way ticket with my name on it. Today, he will laugh about it. But it was not funny to me that day. I started to cry at my locker. I had already seen two friends get kicked out of school for academic reasons. I was not going to be the third. Coach Thompson liked to play jokes, but he was serious underneath. I never missed another class again.”

Hilarious! Thompson literally purchased a one-way ticket for Dikembe to return to his homeland in Africa! The FEIL can definitely have a twisted sense of humor, especially when it’s at someone’s expense. When introducing Dikembe at a press conference, in fact, Coach Thompson played the funny man once again, stating, We have a new recruit from Africa. Wait until you see him. He’s 5 10, but believe me, the kid’s going to be very good. 

Mutumbo indeed did turn out to be “very good,” going up against the likes of other talented big men, including Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, and Patrick Ewing, all #6 BEIRs.

Written by: Staff
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