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.

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