Thursday, September 22, 2005


September 22, 2005 - Yale Daily News - Mutombo Comes to Yale

Mutombo comes to YaleHumanitarian NBA star visits patients at Yale-New Haven

BY CARI TUNA Staff Reporter

To the average American, Dikembe Mutombo is best known as a Georgetown basketball prodigy, a member of the Hoya trifecta of centers including Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning, whose tenacious defense continues to impress NBA crowds.But in central Africa the lore surrounding Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacques Mutombo extends well beyond the hardwood.

His stats in his birthplace, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, reflect tremendous humanitarian effort -- helping provide polio vaccines for 8.2 million children, breaking ground on a new 300-bed hospital, and volunteering at programs for thousands of children. In a country of over 50 million where life expectancy is under 50 years, his efforts hardly go unnoticed.

During a visit to the University yesterday, the 7-foot-2 Houston Rocket towered over his entourage as he met with child patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital and received an anatomy lesson with local high school students in the Anlyan Center -- complete with extra-large latex gloves. A medical student asked Mutombo to prod the lungs of two cadavers with his hand, eliciting a low, rumbling roar of a laugh from him.

In addition to basic anatomy, Mutombo gathered knowledge of health care from medical school administrators and officials."My visit has been great," Mutombo said. "I got a chance to learn a lot from the faculty."

After his tour, Mutombo gave a speech and fielded questions about health care in Africa from a near-capacity audience at Battell Chapel.The event was the brainchild of Anup Patel MED '08.

After he learned about Mutombo's work on health care in the Congo, Patel and fellow medical students asked the University and the School of Medicine to extend an invitation to the eight-time NBA All-Star.Patel said Mutombo's stop at the Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital was particularly successful.

"A lot of kids were really happy when they saw him," Patel said. "He put a smile on a lot of faces."

Mutombo's visit was part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness about health care issues in Africa and publicize the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital. Mutombo is building the hospital through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in his home-town of Kinshasa, the capital city of the Congo. Named after Mutombo's mother, it will be the country's first new hospital in almost four decades.

"The purpose [of the hospital] is to improve the health care and living conditions of my people," Mutombo said.

The facility, set to open in June of 2006, will hold 300 beds and the latest medical technology, he said. Mutombo himself donated $10 million of the $29 million needed to fund the project and has been campaigning to raise the remainder of the money since the hospital's conception in 1997, he said.

Mutombo said he hopes his visit to Yale will mark the beginning of a collaboration between Yale-New Haven, the medical school and the Kinshasa hospital.

"We can work together to improve the lives of human beings around the world … to implant the technology and the experience into a third world country," he said.

Mutombo, who returned to the United States three days ago after his most recent visit to the Congo, said he was pleased with the progress of the hospital's construction.

Yale basketball player Chinenye Okafor '07 said she admires not only Mutombo's philanthropic efforts but his personal achievements as well. A native of Nigeria, Okafor said she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to make from Africa to the United States.

"The fact that he came [to Georgetown] on a scholarship before he started to play basketball is impressive," she said.

Both the men's and women's basketball teams met with Mutombo for a photograph before his presentation.

In his keynote address, Mutombo spoke about the devastating effects of diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS on the African population.

Throughout the presentation, which included a video about his work in Africa, Mutombo emphasized the continent's lack of sufficient health care facilities and trained medical professionals to combat these diseases.

"We are here to share our concern for the people of the African continent," he said. "It is my sincere hope that the Africa of tomorrow will have equal access … to health care. It is our common interest as citizens of the world."

Mutombo said after his retirement from basketball in the next two years he plans to fully devote himself to humanitarian aid. Following the completion of the hospital, he said he plans to build a new school and gymnasium in Kinshasa.

After his address, Mutombo fielded questions from the audience on a variety of topics focused around African health care and politics. When asked if he will ever set his sights on the presidency of the Congo, Mutombo just laughed, shook his head and said, "Stay away from politics."In addition, Mutombo was awarded the first African American Legacy Council Creed Medal on behalf of the Communities of Color Initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The award honors Courtlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, the first African-American graduate of the Yale School of Medicine.

© 1995-2005 Yale Daily News Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


September 10, 2005 - GUHoyas - Coach John Thompson III Offers Prizes as Part of Hurricane Relief Effort

Coach John Thompson III Offers Prizes as Part of Hurricane Relief Effort
Rare "Behind the scenes" view of the basketball program offered
Sept. 10, 2005

Washington DC - Hoya Paranoia- whether you believe it is an "Us vs Them" mentality that Georgetown teams have used to great success or think it refers to the dread opponents feel about facing GU's trademarked and relentless defense, it does exist.

Coach John Thompson III has continued the tradition of running closed practices behind locked doors. Now, in an unprecedented move, as part of the effort to aid victims of Hurricane Katrina, he is lifting the veil of secrecy for lucky Hoya fans.

As a member of the organizing committee for the Coaches' hurricane relief effort, Coach is offering two "Hoya Paranoia" prizes for auction.

John Thompson III: Hoya Paranoia 1 - Get a rare peek at Georgetown Basketball's game plan with an exclusive invitation to a pre-game practice. Join the Hoyas for a breakdown of their game strategies as they prepare for Providence on January 5, 2006. Package includes two court-side seats at the MCI Center that night to watch the Hoyas in action.

John Thompson III: Hoya Paranoia 2 - Join Basketball Hall of Famer John Thompson Jr. as a guest at his daily Washington, DC sports talk show. Follow that up with two court side seats to relive one of the greatest BIG EAST rivalries as Georgetown faces St. Johns at the MCI Center on February 9, 2006.

These prizes will be available at on September 14 when a massive online sports auction will be held to raise money so that Habitat for Humanity can begin rebuilding after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


September 2, 2005 - The Hoya - Former Hoya Runs for Office in Tenn.

Former Hoya Runs for Office in Tenn.
By Brenna McGee
Hoya Staff Writer
Friday, September 2, 2005; Page B6

Former Georgetown men’s basketball player Omari Faulkner (COL ’04) was defeated in the August Democratic primary for a seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Faulkner, 23, was one of four candidates in the special election for the vacant seat in District 87. He finished last in the August 4 election with 15.5 percent of the vote. Gary L. Rowe, a businessman and longtime minority business promoter in Shelby County, won the election with 40.8 percent. Rowe is expected to carry the general election in September.

The election, held to fill the seat vacated when Kathryn Bowers (D) was elected to the state Senate earlier this year, saw incredibly low voter turnout. With fewer than 1,000 voters participating out of the approximately 33,000 in the district, only 200 votes separated Rowe and Faulkner.

Also contending for the seat were Andrew “Rome” Withers, a photographer, and Alonzo Grant, a two-time contender for the seat when it was held by Bowers. Withers and Grant finished second and third, respectively.

Faulkner’s candidacy for the vacant House seat was his first venture into the political arena. Although he fared poorly in the voting, the Memphis Commercial Appeal recognized Faulkner as having “strong potential for elected office in the future.” He was also endorsed by the Memphis Education Association and the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

A native of Memphis, Faulkner is currently a district sales manager for Frito-Lay. After graduating from Georgetown, Faulkner spent six months traveling abroad as a cultural envoy with the State Department’s CultureConnect program. Along with former Hoya teammate Courtland Freeman (COL ’04), Faulkner visited more than 20 countries in eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America to conduct basketball clinics and promote American culture. While abroad with the program, Faulkner told The New Straits Times Press in Malaysia that he planned to return to school to get a master’s degree in public policy once he was done with basketball.

A basketball star at Hamilton High School in Memphis, Faulkner was recruited to Georgetown on a full scholarship. While at Georgetown he was awarded the Raymond Medley Model Student Athlete Award and was a two-time recipient of the Mary Fenlon Scholar Athlete Award. On the court, Faulkner played in 46 contests while averaging 0.6 points per game.

Faulkner could not be reached for comment.

Monday, September 12, 2005


September 12, 2005 Hoya Recruiting Romps

Recruiting class could put Hoyas back on Big East, national map

Sep. 12, 2005
By Gregg Doyel
CBS Senior Writer
Tell Gregg your opinion!

John Thompson III is on the phone, and he'd love to talk about his second recruiting class at Georgetown. It's a great class, on track to be one of the top 10 in the country next year and maybe even Georgetown's best since 1981, when Thompson's father signed Patrick Ewing, Bill Martin and Anthony Jones.

John Thompson III won 19 games in his first year at Georgetown. (Getty Images)

But John Thompson III won't say a word. He can't. NCAA rules prevent him from discussing his three recruits until they've signed with the Hoyas, and they can't sign until November. But if you jam the phone close enough to your ear, and if you listen hard enough, you can almost hear Thompson grinning. And it sounds like he's grinning big.

The recruits' names are Vernon Macklin, DaJuan Summers and Jeremiah Rivers. If you're a fan of college basketball, learn them. If you're a fan of another Big East program, fear them. Macklin, 6-feet-9, is a definite McDonald's All-American; Summers, 6-8, is probably going to join him after blossoming this summer; and Rivers is a consensus top-100 recruit with great size (6-4) and bloodlines (Doc Rivers is his dad) for a point guard.

And Georgetown isn't necessarily finished, either. The Hoyas are among the four finalists for another likely McDonald's All-American, Duke Crews, an offensively ferocious 6-7 forward. Although they're competing with North Carolina, Wake Forest and Tennessee, the Hoyas have two reasons to feel good about their shot at Crews. He's friends with Macklin, another native of the Virginia Tidewater area, and he's from the same high school as ex-Hoyas All-American Allen Iverson.

Whether or not he gets Crews, Thompson already has capitalized plenty on his first year as the Hoyas' coach, when Georgetown unexpectedly won 19 games and nearly claimed a spot in the 2005 NCAA Tournament.

"The talent level in the program just multiplied," says recruiting analyst Dave Telep of "Georgetown has done excellent things with this group, and they aren't finished. When it's all said and done, this could be the best Hoyas class in quite a long time."

With or without Crews, Thompson has put together a class to rival some of his father's top hauls when the elder Thompson was turning Georgetown into a national powerhouse:

1981: Ewing, Jones, Martin, Ralph Dalton.
1982: Michael Jackson, David Wingate, Horace Broadnax.
1988: Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Ronnie Thompson.
1994: Allen Iverson, Jahidi White, Boubacar Aw.

Georgetown hasn't been a national power in a decade, not since Allen Iverson and Othella Harrington led the Hoyas to 29 victories in 1995-96. The Hoyas probably won't get there this season, either, though improvement on last season's 19-13 record is possible. Only six players started for Georgetown in 2004-05, and all six are back -- led by 6-8 senior Brandon Bowman (15.1 ppg), who smartly withdrew from the 2005 NBA Draft, and 6-8 sophomore Jeff Green, who will face a similar decision after this season.

Green is a long way from entering the 2006 NBA Draft, but to protect the program, Thompson must recruit with the idea that Green might follow Bowman and seniors Ashanti Cook (10.8 ppg) and Darrel Owens (7.3 ppg) out the door in April. Green is a unique talent who averaged 13.1 ppg and led the team in rebounds (6.6), assists (2.9) and blocked shots (1.6) while shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers. The NBA is watching.

"In this day and age, you have to understand if you have good players -- and your team has success -- then guys may leave early," Thompson says. "We haven't gone into it that way, that Jeff's not going to be here, but at the same time you have to plan accordingly."

Thanks to a solid freshman class led by 6-3 Jesse Sapp and 6-7 Octavius Spann, the Hoyas will be deeper this season than last, when they lacked the luxury of being able to redshirt raw freshman Roy Hibbert. Hibbert, 7-2 and 278 pounds, was pleasantly productive in 15.8 minutes per game (5.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.3 blocks), and after spending this summer working out against NBA players like Mike Sweetney, Brendan Haywood and Andrew Bogut, he ought to be better this season -- though not as good as he'll eventually be.

"You think about Georgetown centers (Ewing, Mourning, Mutombo), and everyone wants to throw him into that category -- and he will be one day," Thompson says. "Roy's probably worked harder than anyone on our team this summer. Hopefully, much like with our team, you'll see improvement. As we try to get things going here, we want to keep taking baby steps."

Baby steps? With 19 victories in his first season and monster results with his second recruiting class, Thompson isn't taking baby steps. He's stomping around like Godzilla.


GU Releases Schedule w/dates

2005-06 Schedule
11/18: at Navy
11/21: at J. Madison
12/03: at Oregon
12/08: at Illinois
12/17: STETSON [1]
12/27: vs. Colgate [2]
12/28: vs. UTEP/MVSU [2]
01/08: at St. John's
01/11: at W. Virginia
01/14: at Connecticut
01/17: S. FLORIDA
01/21: DUKE
01/24: at Notre Dame
01/31: at DePaul
02/09: ST.JOHN'S
02/12: W. VIRGINIA
02/16: at Marquette
02/20: at Villanova
02/22: RUTGERS
03/04: at S. Florida
03/08: Big East Tourn.
1 Non-Conf Game TBA
[1] McDonough Gym
[2] Sun Bowl Tourn.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Macklin was headed to NBA?

Associated Press
July 9, 2005
Prep players struggle with acceptance of NBA's new rule

Vernon Macklin thought his toughest decision as a high school senior would be choosing whether to play college basketball or jump to the NBA. At 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, Macklin has the athleticism and potential that make pro scouts drool.

But after the NBA adopted a new eligibility rule last month, just one question remained: Which school would he pick?

"I probably would have looked at the NBA," Macklin said, "but now I've got to go to college."

Macklin, of I.C. Norcom High School in Portsmouth, Va., is among the first class of prep players to deal with the NBA's new requirement - waiting one year after high school before entering the draft.

At the Nike All-America Camp, where about 120 of the nation's top high schoolers try to impress college and pro scouts annually, the change is obvious.

Only a handful of NBA scouts signed this year's check-in board rather than the dozens that had become routine over the past decade. Players who once were peppered with questions about being the next Kevin Garnett or Kobe Bryant now answered queries about their college choices.

In hotel rooms, players said the conversations included some talk about the NBA but focused primarily on different schools around the country.

For Macklin, the change has forced him to re-evaluate his future.

"I don't have a list of schools right now," he said. "I'm starting over."

Reactions to the change range from disappointment to relief.

Some, like Jeffrey Jordan - Michael Jordan's son - think players should still make their own choices. Others, like Jonnie West - Jerry West's son - believe the NBA did the right thing.

Opinions hardly matter now, though.

Macklin and Spencer Hawes, a 6-11, 215-pound big man from Seattle, were considered two of the top candidates to make the jump - as Hawes' high school teammate, Martell Webster, did this year. Portland took Webster with the No. 6 pick in last month's draft.

"You'd like to see them let you make the decision for yourself," Hawes said. "But even though you want kids to make the right decision, some don't, so the league had to intervene."

What options remain?

Tywon Lawson, who played at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia and is considered by some to be the nation's top prep point guard, said he has talked with at least four players who are considering prep school - including some who may attend for academic reasons.

Others suspect players will opt for junior college, Europe or the NBDL - a choice that could continue to hide their weaknesses and create a mysterious aura heading into draft day.

"I think a lot of kids might take the prep school route, even some who didn't think they were going to the pros," Hawes said. "That way you don't get exposed and it will make you (look) that much better."

College coaches also have another predicament.

National Association of Basketball Coaches executive director Jim Haney said he proposed a three-year commitment, following the NFL model which was upheld in the Maurice Clarett case. Baseball, too, requires players to wait three years after high school to re-enter the draft if they choose to enroll in college.

When the coaches realized their initial proposal would be rejected, they sought a 20-year-old age limit. Instead they were left with a rule that could force some coaches to gamble on a one-year recruit to remain competitive.

Arizona coach Lute Olson believes short-timers are detrimental to programs that are trying to plan for the future.

Few coaches, though, anticipate top players fleeing for other leagues.

"The good thing is that the kids may get there and realize maybe they aren't ready," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said. "I think a lot of kids think they'll be in college one or two years and then leave, and then they realize they aren't ready. So maybe it will be beneficial in the long run."

While many players acknowledge they could be enticed to skip the NBA's big bucks and savor the college environment, some believe the NBA's new rule simply isn't fair.

"When it first came out, there was a lot of talk about it," Lawson said. "People were wondering whether there would be any exceptions or whatever.

"I don't think I'm ready for the NBA. But some people, like (Greg) Oden or (Kevin) Durant are good enough to go to the NBA and might get burned a little bit if they go to college and get hurt or something."

Friday, September 09, 2005


The Greatest Article of All Time

As I am just now joining this blog, I have reached back into the archives for this, the greatest article of all time. Read it. The summer is over and this is what you missed.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


August 31, 2005 - - Down on the farm Jeff Green and Tyler Crawford visit Jonathan Wallace

Down on the farm
Jeff Green and Tyler Crawford vist Jonathan Walace
Aug. 31, 2005

Harvest AL - Workouts for the Georgetown Hoyas who stay on campus for summer session are intense. Not only is the condensed academic schedule rigorous, but battling athletes like Mike Sweetney, Andrew Bogut or Brendan Haywood on the McDonough hardcourt day in and day out is exhausting. But even this type of mental and physical conditioning could not prepare some Hoyas for the "foes" they went up against after summer session was done.

After classes were complete and the Kenner League championship over, sophomores Jeff Green and Tyler Crawford traveled to Harvest, Alabama with teammate Jonathan Wallace, to relax before the beginning of the new school year. Unfortunately, for the rest craving two-some, their visit was not filled with sipping lemonade on the porch at night or dipping their feet in a warm southern brook. A high school principal by day, Wallace's father owns and operates a beef cattle farm, where Green and Crawford were introduced to all the members of the Wallace family, including those with four legs.

"They had the cows confused with lions" Jonathan said with a laugh. "They kept looking at them like they were going to attack."

Green hailing from Hyattsville, MD had few previous encounters with livestock. The 2005 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year might not have found his league opponents intimidating, but these animals caused his 6'9" frame to shake.

"Those animals were huge." Green said "They're 900 pounds and strong too. John called them over so we could feed them...they would jerk the bucket out of your hand and just stare at you."

Tyler Crawford became more accustomed to country living growing up in Stuarts Draft, VA. But he didn't spend time visiting local farms, so he too was uneasy around the Wallace "pets."

"We made sure there was nothing behind us in case we had to run" said Crawford about feeding the cattle. "They all travel together so if one of them charges..."
All Wallace could do was shake his head and say, "We're not talking about wild animals."

When asked about anything else that came out of their visit to the Wallace homestead Tyler reflected, "Everybody in the family was disciplined. They all had different jobs but at the same time they were working together."

"Like a basketball team" Green interjected. "I have a better understanding about why Jonathan is the was he is...even when he was doing something else on the farm he made time to check on the animals, to make sure they were ok in the heat."

The duo did have two suggestions for the Georgetown Basketball staff. One: They think preseason conditioning working the Wallace farm might be tougher than anything the strength & conditioning coach can come up with. Two: Thanksgiving dinner at the Wallace farm would be great.

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