Friday, February 24, 2006
The Daily Orange - Roy Hibbert Profile
MBB | The Georgetown Giant: GU's Roy Hibbert evolved from goofy big man to interior threat
Kimberley A. Martin
This season, the Georgetown center has established himself as a formidable low-post threat, averaging 12.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks this season. He'll look to add to those numbers when the Hoyas visit the Orange at noon on Saturday.
Hibbert started his career at Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md. Though awkward as a 6-foot-9 freshman, the coaching staff saw potential in his game. Others gawked at his overwhelming size and lack of coordination.
Syracuse wide receiver Rice Moss, Hibbert's point-guard at Georgetown Prep, remembers the constant heckling his friend endured during games. But even he admits to taking part in the teasing.
"We were in Oregon one time, and all the fans started screaming, 'Lurch! Lurch!'" Moss said. "So we've called him that ever since. He's just a big Lurch, the dude from 'The Addams Family.'"
Hibbert's size has always made him an easy target for name-calling, but he took it in stride.
"That happened quite a bit, wherever we played," Dwayne Bryant, Georgetown Prep's head boys basketball coach said. "You've got a kid who, at the time was 16 or 17 years old, at his size. And everywhere you went people stared, people taunted. Those types of things didn't faze Roy when he was on the basketball court."
In his early years at Georgetown Prep, some people said he was just "too big" to become a good player and that he would never amount to anything. But Hibbert ignored the comments like he ignored the jeering fans. And despite breaking his foot twice, Hibbert improved his coordination and low-post skills well enough to earn a starting spot on the Hoyas roster.
Though Bryant said Georgetown Prep isn't by definition a feeder school for the university's basketball program, his connections at Georgetown helped steer Hibbert towards the Hoyas. Bryant, a four-year starter under former coach John Thompson and the university's all-time 3-point leading scorer, introduced Hibbert to Georgetown and summer workouts with legendary Hoya big men.
"Through his high school career, on occasion, we would play against guys his size, but even in college it's rare that he's going to face someone as big as he is," Bryant said. "Working out against guys like Alonzo (Mourning), Dikembe (Mutombo), Patrick (Ewing), Othella (Harrington), Mike Sweetney and all those other guys obviously helped him, because he got to work out against some of the NBA's best on a daily basis, or at least a regular basis."
Hibbert's extra workout sessions may have helped him become a Hoya, but it didn't erase the doubts of his critics. Some argued head coach John Thompson III should have redshirted Hibbert in his freshman year. Last season, he averaged about five points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in sixteen minutes.
It was just like high school: same script, just different characters for Hibbert.
But on Wednesday night, Hibbert scored a career-high 25 points on 10-for-13 shooting in Georgetown's much-needed win over Rutgers. The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Hoyas. It was an answer to the early nay-sayers.
"People thought he would be more of a hindrance than a help," Bryant said. "And he decided to get in the gym and work his tail off this summer, and now he's considered one of the best sophomore centers in the nation."
Hibbert's never been a stranger to hard work. He can't afford to be.
His performance in Wednesday's game may quiet his critics, but as the latest big man to walk in the shadows of Georgetown greatness, Hibbert will always have big shoes to fill. Though he isn't a natural shot blocker or as athletic as Ewing and Mourning, Hibbert has the potential to be a stand-out center, both at the collegiate and professional level.
"I think if you were going to compare him, you'd have to compare him to Dikembe," Bryant said. "I think he might even be much further along defensively than Dikembe and Alonzo at this stage. Because he's a little bit more of a natural as opposed to those guys who were power players. But I think as far as his numbers go, in particular points and rebounds, he may be very similar by the time his career is over."
Though at times a liability, without question Hibbert's biggest asset is his size. His height makes it difficult for other teams to defend against his jump hooks and his 5 to 10-foot jump shots. As Hibbert becomes more comfortable with his size and his strength, he'll become more aggressive, dunking the ball on people and attacking the rim, Bryant said.
Those closest to Hibbert don't doubt that he'll make the necessary adjustments within time. Since he was a Little Hoya at Georgetown Prep, Hibbert has possessed a focus and determination uncharacteristic of athletes his age.
Usually mellow and "goofy," according to Moss, Hibbert's former Prep teammates often said he had "split personalities" because of his intensity on game days.
"He's one of the more focused kids I've ever coached," Bryant said. "He practices extremely hard, but he takes his mental game to a different level come game day."
Adversity can make certain people give up. Others, like Hibbert, stand up to the challenge. And if they happen to fall, like Hibbert has done many times, they get right back up. Early on in his childhood, Hibbert's parents, Roy and Pat, instilled the importance of hard work and determination in their son. It's a trait that has now manifested in Hibbert's resolve to prove his critics wrong.
How long it will take Hibbert to become consistently dominant at center is unclear. But his former coach isn't worried.
"He's going to figure it out," Bryant said. "He's always been that way. He's always been a worker. He's always been someone who gives 100 percent. You don't have to ask him to play hard or to work hard.
"That's just something he does. I believe that's directly related to his mother and his father. They're both extremely hardworking people, and that's what they've instilled in their son. If you want something, go get it. Don't wait for anyone to give it to you."
© Copyright 2006 The Daily Orange
Thursday, February 09, 2006
AP - Ensemble cast has Georgetown primed for return to NCAAs
This is a wire story so it will be picked up by local papers all across the country. Very good for spreading the word that you can play an unselfish style of basketball with stars on your team.
Ensemble cast has Georgetown primed for return to NCAAs
Associated Press Wire
The most lasting image of Georgetown's season to date is the sight of 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert towering over the celebrating fans who stormed the court after last month's victory over top-ranked Duke.
Never mind that Hibbert, one of the Hoyas' top players all season, scored only two points in that game.
Brandon Bowman is Georgetown's leading scorer going into Thursday night's game against St. John's, yet a bar graph of his output over the last eight games would look anything but smooth: 4, 20, 5, 23, 8, 12, 10, 15.
Jeff Green, last year's Big East co-rookie of the year, has been more consistent lately and matched his career-high with 22 points Sunday against Pittsburgh, but he's had a pair of 2-point outings this season, including a game against Providence in which he went 0-for-4 from the field.
A consummate ensemble cast has led Georgetown (16-4, 7-2 Big East) to the No. 15 spot in the rankings in coach John Thompson III's second season at the Hilltop. The Hoyas have a six-game winning streak and are headed toward their first NCAA tournament bid since 2001, unless upcoming opponents can somehow find a way to figure out which player is going to have the hot hand on any given night.
"We have an unselfish group," Thompson said. "Depending on the matchups, depending on the game, depending on the day, we have different guys that can score, so I think we're fortunate that we don't have to go in and say, 'Hey, this person needs to get 25 for us to win.' We're just trying out how we're going to win the next game, and it could be much different from how we tried to win the previous game."
Until recently, the Hoyas were the only Big East team with five players averaging double figures. Bowman (11.8), Green (11.7) and Hibbert (11.6) are about as close as three teammates could be in a team scoring race, with Ashanti Cook (10.2), Jonathan Wallace (9.1), and Darrel Owens (8.9) not far behind.
Those numbers reflect Thompson's success in selling the motion-based Princeton offense to his players. On some days, the backdoor cuts work efficiently all game, as they did against Duke. If teams back off to shut the backdoor, then any of five players Bowman, Green, Cooke, Wallace, Owens are reliable from 3-point range. Green has also been used effectively as a point-forward, a different look that is difficult to defend and allows him to pick up more assists.
"Everybody can score," Owens said. "A lot of teams have one player they look to go to down the stretch. A lot of teams have one player they look to run their offense through. With five or six guys almost scoring double figures, it shows the teamwork."
The plan requires swallowing the team concept at the expense of individual accomplishment. Green is a much better player than he was a year ago, even though he's not averaging as many points or rebounds. Owens had three games in the 20s from late December to mid-January, yet he has eight points in his last three games combined.
"I guess you could say its tough," said Cook, who has a relatively stable eight points in each of his last three games. "But for the most part we've been winning that way, with different people stepping up. Every night it's going to be a different person. I'm just amazed that all of us are on the same page."
Winning does stave off a lot of problems. Green, Hibbert and Wallace are all sophomores who have a mission to restore the Georgetown mystique, while seniors Bowman, Cook and Owens want a taste of the NCAA tournament before they leave.
"I really don't care how much I score, as long as we win," Green said. "I like grabbing rebounds, throwing out assists, so as long as we win, I don't care."
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Knight Ridder - Dick Jerardi Picks 8 Big East Teams for the NCAAs
Knight Ridder is a wire service so this story will be picked up by papers across the country. Dick Jerardi is picking 8 teams from the Big East.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service
February 8, 2006, Wednesday
Sizing up the NCAA Tournament - conference by conference
PHILADELPHIA - Don't ask me how it happened, but Selection Sunday really is March 12, 32 days from Wednesday. The selection committee will have many questions to ask and answer as it gathers in Indianapolis the second weekend of March.
Will it take every team from the Big East? Will it take a team that finished ninth in its own conference? Will it really give a mid-major league like the Missouri Valley the three at-large bids it appears to deserve?
For years, committee members have said that conference affiliation is irrelevant, that all prospective at-large teams are judged on their own merits. Which is as it should be. Taking the committee at its word and having crunched the relevant early-February data, here is my annual conference-by-conference look as it stands today:
AMERICA EAST (1):
ALBANY is the only team with a winning record. And Saratoga is only a short drive up the Northway. That's sufficient.
ATLANTIC 10 (1):
The league definitely is better than last season, but other than GEORGE WASHINGTON, nobody has been terribly consistent. There is still time for Charlotte, Xavier, Temple or somebody to get hot, but it is getting late.
ATLANTIC COAST (6):
DUKE is 8-1 against top 50 teams, but the Blue Devils won't get to take the ACC refs with them to the NCAA. When the league has to suspend a crew because of a blatantly wrong call in Duke's favor, the conspiracy theorists can have a field day. Regardless, Duke can score with anybody. I wonder about its ability to stop the ball. NORTH CAROLINA STATE made the Sweet 16 last season with its open, Princeton-style offense. NORTH CAROLINA had to replace everybody and has been a revelation. And the recruits are better than the guys there now. BOSTON COLLEGE has found its legs. If the ACC refs ever let Craig Smith stay on the floor, the Eagles can beat anybody in the league. MARYLAND is only 1-6 against the top 50, but still has time for some signature wins. MIAMI started slowly, because so many key players were hurt.
ATLANTIC SUN (1):
EAST TENNESSEE STATE point guard Timmy Smith might be the fastest player in college hoops, faster even than Dee Brown, of Illinois.
BIG EAST (8):
That is half the teams. Seems about right. CONNECTICUT has, by far, the most NBA players on its roster. VILLANOVA has played some close games, which might not be such a bad thing when everything tightens up in March. WEST VIRGINIA just missed the Final Four last season; give it the right matchups and it will be very difficult to beat. GEORGETOWN is another team with a unique style, and the Hoyas might have the most versatile big man in America in Jeff Green. PITTSBURGH won't dazzle you with offense, but the Panthers are fundamentally perfect on defense. SETON HALL was dead a month ago, but has strung together enough big road wins to get involved. SYRACUSE is just 1-6 against the top 25, which means a few big wins would help. MARQUETTE is the only new member that is any kind of factor.
BIG SKY (1):
Really, what is an NCAA without the Lumberjacks? NORTHERN ARIZONA is in.
BIG SOUTH (1):
If you know anything about BIRMINGHAM SOUTHERN, send me an e-mail. Meanwhile, put 'em in.
BIG TEN (7):
Last season, the league had three in the Elite 8 and two in the Final Four. Might not be that good, but still very solid. IOWA starts all juniors and seniors. ILLINOIS is 6-2 against the top 50. OHIO STATE can beat you inside or out. MICHIGAN STATE is great from the foul line and always dangerous in March. MICHIGAN might have the league's most talent. INDIANA really misses D.J. White, and coach Mike Davis is fighting for his job. WISCONSIN has really hit the wall lately.
BIG 12 (5):
Whatever bothered TEXAS in December is clearly gone. The Longhorns are one of the teams that could win six. KANSAS was lost in December. The young Jayhawks have played really well for a month. COLORADO has been under the radar all season, as has its star, Richard Roby. OKLAHOMA started slowly and still has trouble scoring. But the Sooners have enough to win some March games. IOWA STATE just smashed Colorado, but definitely is no NCAA lock.
BIG WEST (1):
Can there be a tournament without the UC IRVINE Anteaters?
GEORGE MASON has been the best team, but the tournament is wide open.
CONFERENCE USA (2):
MEMPHIS is 7-2 against the top 50 and 8-0 on the road. Love Rodney Carney's game. ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM is the old "Forty Minutes of Hell" that former Nolan Richardson assistant Mike Anderson brought with him from Arkansas.
Don't know whether WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE is hitting the Sweet 16 again, but, assuming it gets in, it must be considered dangerous.
PENN looks light years better than the opposition. If the Quakers win the next three (at Dartmouth, at Harvard, Princeton), the race is over.
METRO ATLANTIC (1):
Jeff Ruland's IONA team has been solid all season. Matt Brady's Marist team has played very well for a month.
Does anybody know what IUPUI stands for?
KENT STATE is doing it without Antonio Gates.
DELAWARE STATE beat Kent State in November and was very competitive against a brutal early road schedule.
MISSOURI VALLEY (4):
NORTHERN IOWA and CREIGHTON are 10-3 against the top 50. WICHITA STATE and SOUTHERN ILLINOIS are good enough to give the MVC four teams.
MOUNTAIN WEST (1):
Yes, Steve Fisher is alive and pretty well at SAN DIEGO STATE.
FAIRLEIGH-DICKINSON is one of those 15 or 16 seeds that won't get blown out.
OHIO VALLEY (1):
There should always be a spot for the MURRAY STATE Racers.
UCLA is Pittsburgh West - not pretty, but very effective. CALIFORNIA and STANFORD have surprised. So has ARIZONA, but in the wrong way. It is 0-5 against the top 50 and in danger of missing the tournament for the first time since being granted statehood. WASHINGTON had better start winning some road games.
The question is: Will BUCKNELL (18-3) get an at-large if it does not win the tournament? I say yes.
TENNESSEE football was awful. Hoops has been great. FLORIDA is very young and very talented. LSU does not have Pete Maravich, but does have a lot. KENTUCKY is in, but the Wildcats just don't have typical UK talent.
ELON is in front. That's all I know.
NORTHWESTERN STATE is in. Northwestern (the only team from a BCS conference never in the NCAA) is out again.
SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC (1):
SOUTHERN was overmatched early in its guarantee road games.
SUN BELT (1):
WESTERN KENTUCKY is solid. Anybody seen Clem Haskins lately?
WEST COAST (1):
GONZAGA is very good, but I still wonder about its defense.
WESTERN ATHLETIC (2):
NEVADA has a terrific talent in Nick Fezekas. Stew Morrill at UTAH STATE, new to the WAC, is one of the nation's best coaches.
LA Times - JT3 Mention for Coach of the Year
In today's Los Angeles Times. This is a homer story about coach of the year candidates and suggests Tim Floyd and Ben Howland should be considered legitimate candidates (while ignoring the fact that they coach in conference that might not have a higher RPI than some AAU summer leagues.) Of note, however, is that JT3 gets the first mention for the honor among non-LA teams. See also the story at the bottom about ACC refs getting suspended for too obviously calling a game for Duke.
ON COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Howland, Floyd Should Be Commended for Their Work
Los Angeles Times
February 8, 2006
UCLA's Ben Howland and USC's Tim Floyd are legitimate coach-of-the-year candidates.
But defining the award isn't easy. What should a coach-of-the-year candidate accomplish?
Should he do a great job in a rookie year at his school with another coach's players? Step to the front of the class, Bruce Pearl at Tennessee. Congratulations on stretching the boundaries of Buzz Peterson's kids and stepping to the front of the Southeastern Conference.
Or should he quietly step into the large shadow of his father, confident enough of his own skills and beliefs, and make steady progress until his team, unranked until a few weeks ago, beats the No. 1 team in the country and challenges for first place in the toughest conference in the country? Congratulations, John Thompson III at Georgetown. Thompson has the deep and intimidating baritone voice of his father, but his way is not to engender Hoya Paranoia. Thompson III chats with the media, and his players aren't socked into a cocoon.
Do you reward the coach at a more anonymous school, one that has built-in recruiting disadvantages and a mediocre tradition but who has molded a hard-core system to his advantage? Then Jeff Bzdelik, who has brought the Princeton offense to Air Force and forged a defensively impenetrable, offensively patient team that is the class of the Mountain West Conference, is your man. Will any NCAA fourth- or fifth-seeded team want to play a 13th- or 12th-seeded Air Force in the first round of the NCAA tournament?
How about the creative young coach who plays with four guards and makes his lack of inside height and power something to celebrate? Cheers to Villanova's Jay Wright and his small, scrappy Wildcats.
But is it fair to ignore royalty? Sure, Connecticut's Jim Calhoun and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski have all the talent and the patter of ESPN's praisers to pump their product, but the Huskies and Blue Devils also have been at the top of the polls all year. The coaches are doing something right.
So let's look at what Howland and Floyd have accomplished.
Every UCLA player of significance except freshman point guard Darren Collison has suffered some substantial injury.
If Jordan Farmar hadn't been limping on a badly sprained ankle, it could be argued the Bruins would have beaten third-ranked Memphis in November.
What if sophomore center Lorenzo Mata hadn't broken a leg just when he had played the best stretch of basketball in his career?
Freshman Alfred Aboya has needed two knee surgeries in the last seven months. How far has he been set back? Hard to tell, but certainly he'd be more in tune with his teammates if he'd been healthy during fall practice.
If underrated sophomore forward Josh Shipp hadn't been sidelined for all but four games by a hip injury, the Bruins might be considered legitimate candidates for the Final Four.
And even so, when UCLA plays its most enthusiastic man-to-man defense and when Farmar and Arron Afflalo have their shooting aim straight, and when senior 7-footer Ryan Hollins gets his long arms and legs moving in the same direction, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is wrestling away rebounds, the Bruins make it seem as if the Sweet 16 is in reach -- and maybe a little more.
That's a credit to Howland. He has never made an excuse. Not when senior Cedric Bozeman, who was just finding his rhythm after sitting out all of last season because of a knee injury, suffered a shoulder injury. Or when Shipp, who had 11 points and seven rebounds in his first game back from hip surgery, came to the sad decision that he still had too much pain to continue this season.
With the exception of the inconsistent Hollins, Howland has forged a 19-4 record with freshmen and sophomores. There is no junior class at UCLA. Mbah a Moute -- a strong candidate for national freshman-of-the-year honors -- and Aboya were not considered top-level recruits.
Somehow the Bruins are leading the Pac-10 -- yet are among only three teams that haven't had a player voted Pac-10 player of the week. The other two? Bottom-of-the-pack Arizona State and Oregon. So maybe it's the coaching.
And even if USC doesn't win another game this season, a possibility since second-leading scorer Gabe Pruitt will miss at least three weeks because of a hairline fracture, Floyd has accomplished more than anyone could have expected.
Only four players returned from the mess of 2004-05. One of them, Lodrick Stewart, wasn't happy last season while his twin brother, Rodrick, abandoned ship for Kansas.
Then the Trojans opened the season with an unsightly overtime loss to Cal State Northridge at the Sports Arena and a humbling 20-point loss to Oral Roberts in Alaska. The season could have been lost at that moment with the motley crew of leftover recruits and leftover players. But USC went on a nine-game winning streak.
Though he didn't officially accept the job until April and had little recruiting time, Floyd uncovered one of the best young point guards in the country in freshman Ryan Francis. He has coaxed controlled performances out of Stewart. Keith Wilkinson, a freshman from Capistrano Valley High, who lists becoming an ESPN sportscaster as a career goal, has played significant minutes. Most freshmen who play at major colleges say they want to play in the NBA, not talk about it.
For upsetting North Carolina alone Floyd should be considered for coach of the year. For nursing 15 wins already out of the Trojans and hanging in the top half of the Pac-10, Floyd should earn some coach-of-the-year votes even though he probably won't.
The address of the Blue Devil athletics website is goduke.com, and coaches and fans of the other Atlantic Coast Conference schools can't be faulted for feeling that conference officials take that name too seriously.
Before Tuesday night, in the Blue Devils last two games -- an overtime one-point victory over Florida State and a two-point win at Boston College -- Duke's opponents made 20 of 24 free throws and the Blue Devils were 60 of 80 from the line. That's a disparity that is hard to ignore.
And finally, the ACC officials didn't ignore it. Mike Eades, Ray Natili and Ed Corbett, the crew that did the Florida State game, were suspended one game by ACC coordinator of men's basketball officials John Clougherty for giving Florida State's Alexander Johnson a technical foul after Johnson backed away from a shove by Duke's Shelden Williams. The phantom technical was Johnson's fifth foul and left the Seminoles short-handed for overtime.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Davon Jefferson Dropped out of Patterson, Taking Correspondence Classes
This is from today's paper. (2/2) I hadn't heard about this. Does anyone know if it's true? See bolded paragraph below.
Long Beach Press-Telegram
Wilkinson moves up, in USC rotation
USC forward Keith Wilkinson, who was only promised a scholarship for one season by coach Tim Floyd, is currently in USC's seven-man rotation and moved ahead of freshman forward Jeremy Barr over the weekend.
"It's hard not to think about because it's in the back of your mind," Wilkinson said of his scholarship situation. "It's always something that comes up in your head."
Wilkinson, a 6-foot-8 forward from Capistrano Valley High, played 13 minutes against Oregon last weekend. Although he weighs only 205 pounds, he usually guards players who are much bigger.
"It's tough but it's not something I can't handle," Wilkinson said. "And offensively, they have to come out and guard me."
Davon Jefferson visited USC on Wednesday. Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 forward, attended Lynwood High and then went to Patterson Prep School in Lenoir, La., but left before completing his classes. He's currently taking correspondence courses and has not been offered a scholarship by USC.
USC forward RouSean Cromwell (fractured foot) is making normal progress and cleared to undergo some light drills. He is expected to return in three weeks. Guard Dwayne Shackleford fractured his nose in practice Monday but is available for tonight's game against Arizona.
-- Scott Wolf
1/28 - Sun - "DaJuan Summers can beat teams by driving to the basket or taking jumpers"
I missed this story from a few days ago, but it appears that Summers has the kind of skills that will fit the Princeton offense pretty well.
The Baltimore Sun
January 28, 2006
McDonogh upsets St. Frances Boys basketball
McDonogh senior DaJuan Summers can beat teams by driving to the basket or taking jumpers from outside the paint. Yesterday, he did both.
Summers was a major force in helping the No. 12 Eagles to a 53-48 upset of No. 3 St. Frances in a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference game. Summers finished with a game-high 19 points and 11 rebounds as the host Panthers had trouble matching up with the 6-foot-8 forward.
"I usually just come out and see how the defense is playing me," said Summers, who was last year's All-Metro Player of the Year and has signed with Georgetown. "They were playing a zone, so I just hit my jump shots early. Once they went man [to-man], I took it inside."
The Eagles (13-8, 6-4) took control early, opening a 27-13 lead late in the first half. St. Frances had trouble finding any rhythm, committed seven turnovers and made only four of 16 shots.
Panthers coach William Wells said part of the problem was that he had only six players healthy enough to practice on Thursday. He also said his team did not match McDonogh's intensity.
"McDonogh is a tough team, and they came down here to beat us," Wells said. "We are a much better team than how we played. We played real soft. That is what happens when you don't put your heart on the floor."
After trailing by double figures for most of the game, St. Frances (17-7, 6-5) cut the margin to seven with four minutes left. But McDonogh settled down and made seven of 10 free-throw attempts in the final three minutes to close out the win.
Brandon Herbert also had a big game for the Eagles with 14 points and six rebounds.
"The kids really buckled down, played unselfish and gutted out a win," McDonogh coach Donta Evans said. "We knew they would come at us in the third and fourth quarter, and fortunately, we were able to hold them off."