Sunday, January 29, 2006


1/29 - NY Daily News - "the team that has made the most dramatic strides has been Georgetown"

Apparently, this was run as a wire story and has been picked up by papers all across the country. It has even run internationally.

Dog day afternoon
Upstart Hoyas hound Cincy
New York Daily News
by Dick Weiss

Georgetown's Brandon Bowman puts up shot over Bearcats' Cedric McGowan.
WASHINGTON - In order for the Big East to maximize its clout, it is important for the conference to have representative teams in New York, Philadelphia and this town.

Villanova has resurrected itself the last two years in Philly, becoming a Top 10 team. St. John's is starting to show some signs of life.

But the team that has made the most dramatic strides has been Georgetown. The formerly stagnant Hoyas - who were mired along with the Johnnies at the bottom of the league in 2004 - have been a revelation under second-year coach John Thompson III, who brought along his own version of the Princeton offense when he returned to his hometown from that Ivy League school and has rejuvenated Georgetown a year ahead of schedule.

The Hoyas, who blistered undermanned Cincinnati, 76-57, at the MCI Center yesterday for their fourth consecutive victory, are 14-4 and 4-2 in the league. They are rapidly emerging as the most dangerous team inside the Beltway, ahead of two other NCAA teams - George Washington and Maryland - now that they have grasped the nuances of Thompson's offense and are running it without hesitation. The Hoyas, who had 22 assists on 30 baskets against the Bearcats (14-7, 3-4), lead the country in points per possession.

Georgetown created national ripples here last weekend when it shot 60% in an 87-84 victory over top-ranked Duke, constantly burning the Blue Devils with back-door plays after Duke kept overplaying the ball. The Hoyas had 24 assists on 32 field goals.

It's the type of effort that makes a father proud. "Where are we going to dinner?" asked John Thompson Jr., poking his head into his son's postgame press conference.

Big John won a national championship here with Patrick Ewing back in 1984, suffocating any team that stood in their way with full-court pressure. In many ways, this father and son are opposites when it comes to coaching philosophy. But it is obvious Big John admires what his son has accomplished here in a short time. "With me, it's not so much the system, but who's running it," he said. "There are a lot of guys trying to run that system and it's not working. John's got it working."

John Thompson III felt a little extra pressure heading into this game. Georgetown invited former players back for a reunion. "Since I've been here I've gotten a lot of questions - 'Does your dad stick his head in? How's your dad feel about what you're doing?' I can deal with that. But when you realize Michael Jackson and Gene Smith and Ronnie Highsmith are sitting in the stands, I don't know if it affected our guys, but I was like, I hope we play well today. I don't want to hear from those guys."

Thompson, who arrived in the league at the same time as St.John's Norm Roberts, has the pieces in place to be a national power in the new Big East.

Although senior forward Brandon Bowman leads in scoring at 11.7 points per game, the most critical parts of this team - 6-9 forward Jeff Green, 7-2 center Roy Hibbert and point guard Jonathan Wallace - are only sophomores.

Green, who had 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and no turnovers against the Bearcats, has made an immediate impact in the Big East and should be even better once he moves to small forward next season. Hibbert has been one of the league's most improved low-post players, thanks in large part to the individual instruction he has received from assistant Robert Burke. Wallace has become a heady ball-handler, one who had an 11-1 assist/turnover ratio against UConn and Duke, and has demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the system, which spreads the floor and surgically dissects opponents. The Hoyas can put three shooters on the floor - Wallace, senior guard Ashanti Cook and 6-7 senior forward Darrel Owens - who all shoot better than 42% from the three.

The frightening part for Georgetown's opponents is that the best is yet to come. Thompson and assistant Kevin Broadus, who helped Karl Hobbs recruit the nucleus of an A-10 championship team when he first arrived at GW, are starting to lock up the Baltimore-D.C. area again, much like Thompson's father did in the '80s. The Hoyas have signed 6-9 DaJuan Summers from McDonough School, the best prospect in Baltimore, along with Doc Rivers' son, Jeremiah, a skilled guard from Winter Park, Fla., and have reopened the pipeline to the Tidewater area with the signing of 6-10 Vernon Macklin from Hargrave, Va., Military. Thompson also has gotten a commitment from 6-4 junior guard Austin Freeman of DeMatha, the first time the Hoyas have gotten a commitment from a player from that fabled Maryland program in three decades.

Georgetown already is following the road map that St. John's needs to take if it wants to eventually reach the NCAA Tournament.

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