Sunday, December 31, 2006
We need another strong performance on perimeter defense to beat the Irish. They are largely a one-trick pony and will probably be without one of their strongest horses.
Notre Dame's McAlarney suspended after arrest
Notre Dame (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 AP) suspended starting guard Kyle McAlarney indefinitely after he was arrested on a marijuana possession charge. McAlarney, who had been averaging 10.3 points a game, did not play Saturday in Notre Dame's 95-66 victory over Stony Brook. "He made a grave mistake, he knows it, we've discussed it, he's handled it like a man, he will take his medicine like a man," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said after the game.
McAlarney is a fantastic shooter as the IPB can attest to and his loss will be huge for the Irish. As I posted earlier, he was a major target for JTIII and I've been pissed that we missed out on him. Against Maryland, McAlarney shot 4-6 from three; against Alabama he was 4-6; and in his last game against Rider he was 7-9. We will be very luck if he does not suit up against the Hoyas.
Against Michigan we played great perimeter defense for the first time this year. That was the difference between a close game and a blowout. I thought that the team played okay on offense but our defense really was outstanding. Jeff and Roy still need to step up. Roy was soft for most of the game and Jeff was agressive but off. Egerson was huge and really made a difference in the game and Wallace was steady. I thought Barker summed it up well.
The Hoyas did not play particularly well relative to their ceiling or Thompson's demanding standards. But a fair performance still yielded a comfortable victory -- both a tribute to Georgetown's development and an indictment of the Wolverines (12-3), who were outclassed from the get-go by the Hoyas.
Friday, December 22, 2006
On committing to Georgetown:
It was mostly Coach Thompson. He basically personally recruited me himself. I felt comfortable with the team and felt we could win a championship my freshman year. Just being home, the school, the team. He didn’t promise me anything, but he said I have a very good chance to play big minutes as a freshman. I don’t know if I’m gonna start, but if I don’t I know I’ll contribute. There were too many schools on the east coast for me to follow Coach Sendek to Arizona State (Chris previously committed to NC State, before Herb Sendek was fired and subsequently hired by Arizona State). Freshman year, we’re winning the chip. Mark my words.
On playing with high school rival and fellow DC area top senior Austin Freeman (Dematha) in college:
Actually, we’re real good friends. We’re enemies on the court because of the rivalry, but off the court we’re the best of friends. I always wanted to play with Austin. We had chances to play with each other (in AAU), but it never worked out. This time, when he called me to play on his team, the timing was right. We know that Georgetown is coming back. Me and Austin are both anxious to get there. We know we’re gonna be a part of something good and we just wanna keep it going.
. . . .
On making the McDonald’s All-American game:
Those things are politics. It’s no way that Paul Harris (Syracuse freshman) should not have made the McDonald’s game last year. I wanna make it, but if I don’t, I wont cry over it.
On the strengths of his game:
My speed and quickness and ability to create shots for other players.
On his weaknesses:
Full court man-to-man defense.
On his favorite high school player to watch:
Austin (Freeman) because he can score in so many ways. People don’t know, but he’s explosive. He will dunk on you.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
That being said, Green was a relative stinker last night. His final line wasn't bad (12 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists -- he led the team in the latter two categories), but he definitely seemed to lack something. Roy was not very good either -- though he did have a beautiful move in the low post, and showed flashes of assertiveness on several occasions.
The media reports imply that Green and Hibbert's lack of production is not a problem. They focus instead on the way everyone else is stepping up. I agree. It's nice to see a balanced attack again. That's the way our offense is designed to work and we are much more effective when that happens. I am concerned, however, that Jeff and Roy aren't stepping up against relatively weak opponents. Undoubtedly, teams are gunning for our two men. But great players have to find a way to fight through that. If they can't do it against the Towson's of the world, they aren't going to do it against Pitt.
Still, I am happy with the rest of the team's progress. Summers is definitely the real deal. Is there anything he can't do? He scored a team high 18 points (7 for 9), which included a 4 for 6 performance from behind the arc. Crawford also showed that the shooting clinic he put on at McDonough against Winston-Salem was no fluke. He shot 2 for 3 from three-point land. It looks like everyone was right about his shooting ability. And Wallace returned to his early season shooting form; he was 4 for 4 from behind the arc.
Sightings: Ashanti Cook stopped by to catch the game on his way back to the West Coast from his current home in Germany. When they showed him on the jumbotron he got the loudest ovation of the night (that's not saying much since the crowd was tiny). It was great to see Ashanti, but the team's recent shooting is almost making me believe that we can get on with out him.
Apologies: For the first time this season I have to agree with the idiots in the row behind me. Their basketball IQ is very low, and they are constantly saying the stupidest things I've ever heard. But even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes. Their attacks on Rivers have been relentless. Last night they had a reason to attack him. He was definitely the worst player on the floor. In the span of about two minutes he had a three pointer completely blocked and air balled a second one. Plus, he looked slow on defense. I'll cut him some slack because he's a frosh and it can be hard to come back from a badly twisted ankle. But it was really pretty embarrassing.
A few highlights:
(1) Red took in his last draft from his DC home with Thomspson Jr., JTIII, and Alonzo Mourning.
(2) At age 86, Red suffered from a severe urinary tract infection and was horribly sick, feverish, and shivering when he called his old friend, Dr. Lieberman. Lieberman recognized the gravity of Red's condition and called an ambulance, which was immediately dispatched to Red's apartment. When the EMTs arrived, Red refused to leave his apartment for the hospital until the Celtics game he was watching wrapped up! The EMTs stood there incredulously as he made them watch the last half of the 4th Quarter. Unbelievable.
This is a great article.
For the basketball fans out there, I also commend to you John Feinstein's "Let Me Tell You a Story." It is not a mere hagiography of Red. Rather, it transcends Red and the Celtics and should be read by anyone who considers himself a true fan of the game. For the skeptics, I have a copy if you would like to borrow it. I guarantee you will enjoy it.
We all owe Red a huge debt, as I have absolutely ZERO doubt in my mind that we would not be attending Georgetown games or enjoying things like March Madness (which is absolutely stunning since Red never coached a college game except for a very brief stint as an assistant at, of all places, Duke!!!) or the NBA Finals, without his involvement in the game. This is not hyperbole.
While Naismith might have invented the game, Red was almost single-handedly responsible for popularizing it.
I know his presence will be missed at Verizon this year.
FYI--MacMullan gets one fact wrong in the article. Red's famous Tuesday lunches were always held at The China Doll (which is now sadly closed) not China Blossom.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I checked the stats of each Georgetown player and what I discovered about Marc Eggerson confirm what I, along with others, have been noting anecdotally.
Of those who attempt a significant amount of 3s (which I am arbitrarily limiting to 10 TPA or more to date), he is by FAR the worst three point shooter on the team, averaging an abysmal 20% from beyond the arc (5/25 so far this season).
His overall FG% hovers around 44% (27/61).
HOWEVER, if you take away his absolutely gut-wrenching three point shots, his FG% rises to over 60% (22/36)!!!! Most of those buckets, as we have seen, occur close to the basket, where Egerson is not afraid to take it and I give him big props for this.
Now I realize no one (except for maybe Steve Kerr) shoots as well from behind the arc as inside the arc. But these stats are startling.
It does not take a genius to figure out that Eggerson's outside shooting form looks pathetic. While we might be able to get away with his ill-advised 3s against the likes of James Madison and Winston Salem St., mark (no pun intended!) my words that his shot selection is going to hurt us eventually.
For a team that does not attempt a lot of FGs during a game, shot selection is critical.
So my plea is for Eggerson to recognize his limitations and stick with what he does best, which is taking it to the rim and cleaning up around the rim.
Part of what makes a great TEAM is recognizing player's individuals capabilities as well as their limits and figuring out how this best helps the team.
Now Eggerson has a couple of more years to go and might be able to work on his 3s next summer, but the regular season is not a time to do it.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Something makes me think that Red may have worked some magic here one last time!!!
I am uncorking a bottle to celebrate tonight!!!!!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Georgetown, unsurprisingly, was absolutely dominant. Not only did we win by 44, but that included a 30-1 run and we were able to prevent Winston-Salem from making a field goal for almost 12 minutes at one stretch.
Tyler Crawford finally demonstrated that shooting touch we've heard so much about. He was just stroking it. And it was great to see the big smile on his face when he hit his third in a row. The kid plays with passion.
Sapp continued to look good. He really has been doing it all, and I think that it's starting to get to the point where Wallace must be feeling some pressure to step up his game.
I also thought that Summers looked fantastic. He had an alley oop dunk that was absolutely sick. In fact, he looked so good that I told IBP that I wouldn't be surprised if he was the best player on the team next year. Everything just seems so effortless for him.
All of those great things aside, I was again disappointed with Hibs and Green. Hibbert is the definition of weak. He ended up with quite a few points due to a solid performance from the free-throw line, but he could not finish anything. That was especially troubling given the team of midgets that W-S threw against the Hoyas. The tallest player on the Ram's squad is listed at 6-7 and I'm sure that's a lie. I would be surprised if anyone on that squad was over 6-5.
Green was completely invisible. He ended the game with only 5 points and was a complete non-factor. That being said, he did not play at all in the second half. This was very strange. At first, I thought that maybe he was not feeling well or that he was possibly being benched because of his lack-luster play. But his big smile on the bench leads me to believe that is not the case. We'll have to do some follow up on that one.
Overall, I was happy to have a solid win over a very bad team. I was also glad to see the guards' play continue to improve. I am, however, concerned about our disappearing big men. We'll have to see if things change when we move into the Big East season.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Tyler sounds like a great kid and a very important piece if the team is going to go far this year. You can't have too many guys like him -- athletic, reasonably skilled, great attitude, always plays within himself, works hard and gets the guys around him to work harder. I have to say, the Esherick Error ended with a pretty good class of recruits.
Freeman (and Braswell) versus Wright. Who's in?
Backcourt duo has Hoyas hopeful
ESPN's recently revised recruiting rankings list Freeman, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, as the nation's No. 9 player and Wright, a 6-2 point guard, as No. 20, giving the Hoyas next season's most coveted incoming backcourt. . . . Freeman expects to return to the lineup next week. And both DeMatha and St. John's hope to be at full strength and retain their current positions as the area's top-ranked squads when they meet Jan. 4 at Trinity University. "It'll be one of the last times we'll go against each other wearing different uniforms, and it's going to be very competitive," Freeman said of the matchup against Wright. "We've become real close and developed a tight friendship. We call each other all the time. That's one of the reasons we've got to beat them. I don't want to hear it from him if we lose." Regardless of the outcome Jan. 4, Thompson and the Hoyas will be wearing the smiles of the ultimate winners.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Unfortunately, that is where Winston-Salem has to play Georgetown. The Rams are a dismal 1-12 on the year. Their one win came against a non-NCAA school--Anderson. In the majority of their games Winston-Salem has only scored in the 40s. They have played two other Big East teams and have lost by 35 (to the Irish) and 20 (to South Florida).
I feel bad for them.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Jim O'Brien has lots of nice things to say about Iverson and notes that he'd be a good fit in Boston. I wonder if they miss Jim up there. It seems like as soon as your son leaves Georgetown the Celtics fire you. Hopefully, Jeremiah will have four good years in Hoya gray.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
He also has some interesting analysis about the Hoyas woes so far this year. He is the first observer to actually point out that the guards have been playing well (Seth Davis, I'm looking at you). It is the big men who have been absent. But anaylsis seems to stop there without any conclusion, other than the Hoyas will be a factor but probably won't be in the Final Four (as if only the 4 best teams make the final four).
For three years, Boston has been stockpiling assets and waiting for someone like Iverson to become available. Now they could probably get him for Sebastian Telfair, Gerald Green (that part would kill me), their 2007 No. 1 and Theo Ratlif's corpse, er, contract (which expires in 2008) and make immediate noise in an awful conference. Remember, in a league where only a few teams have more than one good perimeter defender, the Celtics could exploit matchups every night by playing Iverson and Pierce at the same time. I also believe those guys would refine their games to make room for the other, because that's what stars do when they hit their 30s -- they sacrifice shots for a chance to win, whether you're talking about Shaq in Miami, Aguirre in Detroit, Monroe on the Knicks, Stackhouse on the Mavs, etc.). This could work.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Our defense is getting better, our communication is getting better, and at the end we’re going to be a much different team than we were at the beginning.
The role communication plays in such a precise offense cannot be overstated. That was the overridding take-away from the Oregon debacle. The players were visably frustrated with each other not being in position. Even against Oral, there were a few time outs where Macklin or Summers was pulled aside. Speaking of Oral, since nobody did a recap, I thought someone should at least give props to the students for the cheers (and for high attendance in the middle of finals). I counted 10 different chants at the Oral Roberts game. In addition to the three most popular (Hoya Saxa, "Let's Go Hoyas," and "Defense), these all made their first appearances of the year:
1. "That's not Christian" (in response to two near fights)
2. "Our Green's better" (Jeff vs. future NBAer Caleb)
3. "We're not Kansas"
4. "God's on our Side" (better against Notre Dame)
6. "These refs suck" (so true)
7. "Anal's better" (totally inappopriate)
Monday, December 11, 2006
And the result? Less votes in the polls. I didn't expect us to vault back into the Top 25. We don't deserve that (yet). But I did think that a couple of the early believers might start turning an eye back towards the Blue & Gray. No such luck.
Last week, after their back-to-back losses to Oregon and Duke, GU received only 5 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll and 60 votes in the AP poll. After a very impressive week, the Hoyas now only managed 2 votes from ESPN/USA Today voters and 24 votes from the AP.
It looks like the road back to respect will be a long one.
Click here to see all the rankings.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Oral Roberts has wins over the University of Louisiana, Lafayette (54-51), Panhandle State (91-41), and Lamar (88-63). But they have lost to Loyola-Marymount (68-65), Tulsa (75-57), and Akron (61-59). Their road record is 1-2 (Kansas being their only road win).
Apparently, since beating Kansas Oral Roberts has struggled from the field. But in its most recent game, the Golden Eagles' victory over Lamar, they shot 54%, including 8-15 from behind the arc.
I think that a big part of the GU-ORU match up is going to be our perimeter defense. In beating Kansas ORU was 11-19 from three-point land. That was the difference maker. If we can take that away from them, and then shoot anything approaching what we did against JMU, we will be more than fine.
P.S. - Obviously, no one posted a review of the Madison game (I guess we were all content to simply bask in the glory of our only dominating performance thus far). However, I couldn't let the victory go without at least some reference. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let this speak for itself.
Great piece on Father Drinan on Law.com.
Drinan waves hello, then raises his hands and exults, "God heard our prayers!" All who hear him know he's talking about the results of the midterm election.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
They name Austin Freeman the best perimeter scorer, best shooter, best player in the clutch, highest basketball IQ, and player with the largest impact among all Big East recruits. Boy, we could sure use him right now.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Update: The AP poll is out. Georgetown is no longer a member of the top 25, though we did manage to muster 60 votes there; the second most votes among an unranked team. The only team to receive more votes and not be ranked was Oregon, who received 107.
This is a nice little run for GU. That makes 4 in the last two years. Interesting how Princeton cleaned up on these after getting shut out of the Rhodes (or, potentially, declined the Rhodes in favor of the Marshall).
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Although he played a poor game this evening, this kid can clearly play and I expect we will be hearing a lot about him over the next four years. Too bad he is not at Georgetown. He possesses a high basketball IQ and is a fabulous passer. He is a big reason for Maryland's early season success, tonight's result notwithstanding.
Don't get me wrong...I am not ready to proclaim Notre Dame a beast of the Big East, but I think they are better than last season and should not be overlooked. I believe they might surprise a few teams in the Big East.
At least we no longer have to worry about Bowman fouling these guys while they jack up threes. PE Jr. now seems to have occupied this role, but hopefully he will be riding pine most of the season.
Note who will be coaching him at Bakersfield.
Tuning up with a Jam session
Former Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara is back in the US, and look for him to surface in the NBA's Development League with the Bakersfield Jam. McNamara had signed with the Greek team Olympiakos, but the deal was only for Euroleague play, which, depending on how well the team does, can mean upward of 20 games. (The rest of the schedule is against Greek teams.) McNamara played one minute in the first five Euroleague games. "We asked out," reported McNamara's agent, Bill Neff. "He was getting paid, but he wasn't playing. He wanted to play." Neff said he asked for a "Euroleague only" deal with Olympiakos in part so that his client could get healthy. He said McNamara played with a bad groin all through his senior year at Syracuse and was still hobbled when he went to predraft camp and later when he was trying out for the Orlando Magic. "He just never let it heal, because Gerry wanted to play," Neff said. "He played great one day at the predraft camp. After that, he played well enough to make Jordan Farmar a first-round pick." Neff said McNamara still had options overseas, including one from a team in Iran. "We're not going to field that one," he said. The Jam are coached by former UCLA/URI coach Jim Harrick, and Neff said McNamara thinks that's the way to go. "He can always go back to Europe if he wants to. He has made money [from the Olympiakos deal]. But the NBDL thing looks the most intriguing right now." Among those who think McNamara has a shot in the NBA is Celtics hoops boss Danny Ainge. "In the right conditions, I think he can be an NBA player," Ainge said. "He can shoot. He's tough. So, yeah, he could be an NBA player."
Friday, December 01, 2006
First, J-Wal accurately identifies the major problem with the team:
"We need to stop thinking so much," said Wallace, a junior guard and the only player to have a decent game in Wednesday night's 57-50 loss to the Ducks. "And just relax and play basketball."And the author accurately explains what a disappointment Hibbert and Green have been (reflecting Ryan and my respective positions nicely):
The losing would be easier to stomach if it were only attributable to the younger players, but the junior frontcourt duo that was supposed to lead Georgetown to its best season in a decade is off to a slow start. Green and Hibbert didn't score a single point between them in the first half of the Oregon game. They finished with nine points on combined 4-for-11 shooting.But the most important message from the article may have come from JT2:
Hibbert simply appeared to have an off night. Ducks center Maarty Leunen pushed the limits of contact nearly every time down the court, grabbing Hibbert's jersey and staying physical in the paint. Hibbert's contested 2-footers would bounce on the rim and not fall in.
But Green simply went missing in action for long stretches, a common occurrence this season. He has failed to reach double figures in three of his last four games. He took only two shots in the loss to Old Dominion, four shots in a victory over Fairfield and four shots in the loss to Oregon. He has the talent to take over a game, but he is too often concerned with making the extra pass instead of looking for his shot.
On Thursday, Green pleaded guilty to taking the lessons of being a team player to the extreme.
"That's just me," he said. "By me being myself, it can hurt me just as much as help me."
Green said he has been limited by double teams and foul trouble - he's fouled out twice already this year. He is averaging 10.8 points, close to his average (11.9) from last season, but that team had Brandon Bowman, Ashanti Cook and Darrel Owens on the perimeter to share the scoring load.
Green acknowledged that he needs to assert himself more. His coach wholeheartedly agreed. As Thompson III said earlier this year: "When he's off, more than likely we will be off."
"We've got to get him more touches," the coach said Thursday. "And he has to be more aggressive."
Jonathan Wallace was answering question after question about Georgetown's early season struggles when a familiar, booming voice interrupted.There's still a lot of season left. Bring on Duke!
"What month is it?" said John Thompson, the longtime Hoyas coach and father of current coach John Thompson III.
"November," Wallace answered.
"Thank you," said Thompson, who then walked away, having made his point.