The Van Buren Boys

The Blogosphere's best source for the latest analysis and
commentary from the world of Georgetown Hoyas basketball.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

IPB's Encounter with Fordham Player

Following today's trouncing of American, the IPB decided to take advantage of the post-holidays sales by getting in some shopping at several stores. While browsing in the mens' department at Macy's at Metro Center, the IPB noticed a very tall young black man decked out head-to-toe in Fordham warm-up gear. Drawing on his prodigious intellect, the IPB figured this young man had to play for Fordham, so the IPB approached him and started chatting him up. It turns out the IPB's astute hunch was correct, as the young man, junior guard Chris Bethl (no relation to former GU Hoya Tony Bethel) is in fact a member of the Fordam basketball teqm. See for more information on Chris.

Chris reported that the Fordham squad arrived in DC a couple of days ago to enjoy some time in our nation's capital. He said the Fordham team is staying in the Marriott on Pennsylvania Ave. and that his last trip to DC was last year when Fordham fell at the hands of George Washington. In the interest of full disclosure, the IPB told Chris that he's a big Georgetown fan but wished him good luck in his studies and his basketball career. Keep your eyes out for Chris (#50) this Monday; he averages about 9 minutes per game. He was a very nice guy and very gracious with his time. While we do not usually salute the opponent on this blog, here's to Chris!

American Point Spread

Once again, there's no point spread for today's game vs. American.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Memphis Point Spread

For the first time this season, the Hoyas are a dog - the spread for today's game is Georgetown +4 and the over/under is 133.5. Go Hoyas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Jay Bilas [Hearts] The Hoyas

Jay Bilas has a piece on tomorrow's Georgetown-Memphis game on It's been great to watch Bilas, a product of Duke, fall in love with Georgetown over the course of the past year. He is absolutely gushing about GU in this piece, which, ostensibly, is supposed to be a straight analysis of the game. Here's a few highlights:

Georgetown-Memphis looks like a classic battle

* * *

Georgetown's offense incorporates many of the Princeton offensive principles, and it is truly a beautiful offense to watch....

* * *

DaJuan Summers and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Summers is developing into a great college player, and the sophomore is second on the Hoyas in scoring, rebounding and free-throw attempts while leading Georgetown in steals. Summers can shoot the ball with range and post a smaller defender, and he is a very good cutter. Memphis has some great athletes, but none better than Summers.

* * *

Who wins: This game will be about tempo. Just as you saw in the Pittsburgh-Duke game in Madison Square Garden, it is easier to slow a game down than to speed one up, and Georgetown has the ability to wrest the tempo away from Memphis. If the Tigers can press and get Georgetown to take some chances, then Memphis will have a better chance. Memphis has played the tougher slate, and while the Tigers have not played their best, this team is a group of winners. But I like Georgetown to barely clip Memphis in a thriller. This game has classic battle written all over it.

I hope the Bilas brings us some good luck. He'll be in attendance for the game.

Some Thoughts on Georgetown-Memphis

Unsurprisingly, I’ve spent a fair amount of time thinking about the Hoyas’ impending trip to Memphis. After all, many people have had this game circled as the biggest contest in the early NCAA season since it was announced. Both teams have held up their end of the bargain by remaining undefeated thus far and, as a result, Georgetown-Memphis will be the year’s first match up between two teams in the top 5.

I’ve bee going back and forth about how I think Georgetown will perform. Let’s be honest, we’re still early into the season, but this game will be viewed as a bellwether for two squads that came into the year with a lot of hype and expectations. Much has been made of Georgetown’s decision to run a little more in the last two games. The pundits declared that these Hoyas were showing that they could beat you multiple ways. I say, “not so fast.” We ran with success against Jacksonville and Radford. That does not mean we will be able to run against elite competition (read: Memphis, UNC). Indeed, we tried to play a more up-tempo style in the beginning of the game against Alabama and it did not go particularly well.

Given the athleticism of Memphis and our proven track record with grind-it-out, half-court sets, my initial thought was slowing the game down would be the key to our success. But many have pointed out that Memphis does not necessarily run a more efficient offense at a faster pace. The key to their success has been defense. So, I am no longer scared of the Hoyas’ pushing the ball against Memphis when they have the opportunity to do so. A fast game doesn’t necessarily hurt us. But the key will be not forcing opportunities to run.

The more I have thought about it, the more I have become convinced that this game is going to be offensive efficiency and tough defense. For the first time this season, Georgetown is going up against a team that is at least as athletic as the Hoyas. They will play lock-down man-to-man defense against the Hoyas. Open looks will be hard to come by. Thus, I think that the key to a Georgetown win will be working to find those open shots; whether it is via a back-door cut in a half-court set or on a breakaway. That being said, I think we will be more successful in the half-court. Memphis is a collection of athletic freaks and has a trio of tall/long guards. I have also been less than impressed with the Blue and Gray’s ability to rebound this year. Because of that, I don’t think we will have much of an opportunity to get breakaways. I think we will be spending a lot of our time just trying to keep Memphis from getting easy second-chance shots. And given our problems turning the ball over, I think that JTIII might feel more comfortable reining the team in a bit.

I also think we will be more successful in the half-court because of Mr. Roy Hibbert. Memphis doesn’t have a true center to match up against Roy. Thus, it is possible that Roy might be able to have a big day. That being said, Roy will have to be prepared to fight against the Tigers’ post players. And if Memphis can get Roy in foul trouble, or can make him a liability on defense by really pushing the tempo, they might be able to negate this advantage.

Defense, as always, will also be important. For Memphis’s motion offense to work, they have to be able to hit outside shots. They have been less than spectacular in doing so, shooting only about 33% from behind the arc. Given that fact, they are left with attacking the basket. If we can play tough interior defense we definitely give ourselves the advantage.

All that being said, I really have no idea how this is going to shake out. But I’m excited/nervous as hell to see what happens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ball State Apologizes

Ronny Thompson received a measure of vindication today as Ball State has issued an apology to him. It reads: "With respect to Coach Thompson, Ball State wishes to extend its sincere apology for the unprofessional and unauthorized behavior of its employees that led to his resignation, for the unfortunate distress that resulted from these actions, and for the unwarranted negative effect on his reputation." The matter is seemingly closed then. By the way, I listened to Ronny do color commentary on the Virginia Tech/ODU game last week. I thought he was very good. Maybe he has a future in broadcasting, if not again as a head coach. I would suspect he got a reasonable payout from Ball State to settle the matter, so perhaps he'll bide his time in the broadcaster's booth and wait for another opening.

Here's the story from USAToday:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Excellent Article on Doc Rivers in today's Washington Post

The article below should be required reading for those who visit this blog. Enjoy!

The Doc Is In for Celtics
Rivers Perceived More Favorably With New Roster, 20-2 Start

By Michael Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 18, 2007; Page E01

BOSTON -- Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers knows that between last season and this season he didn't suddenly qualify for Mensa, nor did the spirit of Red Auerbach come back to possess his body. The man responsible for leading the Celtics to a franchise best-tying 20 wins in their first 22 games is the same one who guided the team through a franchise-record 18-game losing streak last season.

Rivers said he doesn't get too caught up in whether perceptions of his coaching acumen have changed with the additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. "You keep it all in perspective," Rivers said last week. "I watch the same amount of film as last year. I worry as much as last year. You just have different worries."

Paul Pierce, Garnett and Allen have all talked about how they don't want to squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play together, but Rivers feels the same way about leading the heralded but ringless all-star trio. "A lot of us have been at this a long time and want to do something special," said Rivers, who never won a title during his 13-year playing career despite coming close with the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks. "You get another shot, you try to make the best of it."

The Celtics have the league's best record, lead the league in field goal percentage defense and point differential (all but three of their victories have been decided by double-digits). Rivers won't get ahead of himself. "We've won absolutely zero. We've won nothing," he said. "We are not good enough to win a world championship today. If we keep improving, maybe we have a chance."

The early success hasn't been without adversity, though. Two days after the Celtics' season-opening win against the Washington Wizards, Rivers's father, Grady Alexander Rivers, a retired police officer, died at age 76. Rivers missed one game to mourn after his mother, Betty, urged him to go back to work.

"That's been tough," Rivers said. "Anyone who has lost a parent knows that it doesn't go away. And you probably don't want it to go away. You have sad moments. Any day, any moment -- it can happen during a game. I embrace that now. But I needed to work. I needed to get back."

This time last season, fans at TD Banknorth Garden were chanting, "Fire Doc" because they felt he wasn't getting enough out of a poorly assembled team that featured Pierce and a bunch of young kids who probably should've been studying for final exams in college. Now that he has a ready-made contender that features veterans Pierce, Garnett and Allen, Rivers is merely being asked not to blow it.

"Give me the opportunity," Rivers said when asked about the drastic shift in outlook. "Who doesn't want an opportunity?"

For Rivers, this opportunity feels somewhat overdue. His coaching career began with promise with the Orlando Magic, as he won coach of year honors in 2000 after leading a band of overachieving misfits to 41 wins. The following summer, the Magic signed Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, but Rivers's visions of fielding a "matchup nightmare," a three-guard offense that included Mike Miller, never came to fruition. "Grant got hurt. And bam, it was over," Rivers said.

Rivers led the Magic to the playoffs three times, but could never get out of the first round and eventually was fired after his relationship with McGrady strained and the team started 1-10 in 2003-04.

Celtics Executive Director of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge made Rivers his first coaching hire before the next season. In his first year at the helm, Rivers had a mostly veteran squad, with Pierce, Antoine Walker and Gary Payton. But after leading Boston to the Atlantic Division title in 2005, Ainge went into rebuilding mode and the average age of the roster decreased in direct correlation with the number of wins.

Rivers won't deny that the losing was intolerable, not to mention the demands of trying to develop young players, many with a limited knowledge of the game. "We spent half our practices last year on footwork, on how to set a pick, how to roll, when to roll," Rivers said, shaking his head. "It's tough when you have to look long term, when the fans look short term in you. But you have to do what's good for the franchise. You take the hit. You got to stand in there and take it."

Ainge heard the speculation about Rivers's future last season, but never wavered in his support of his coach. "I'm a big fan of Doc," Ainge said. "The guys listened to him, even in tough circumstances. That just tells you that if you can improve the circumstances, you have a leader."

Ainge went out of his way to defend Rivers on his radio program and in newspaper interviews and gave him a contract extension last April while the team was in the midst of a 24-win season. The move was considered dubious at the time, given how the Celtics had the worst record in the woebegone Eastern Conference and appeared to be regressing, having won only 33 and 45 games, respectively, in the two previous seasons.

"I certainly didn't see Doc as the reason the team wasn't playing up the fans' expectations," Ainge said. "I felt Doc never really had a chance to win in Boston and everything I saw on a day-to-day basis -- how much time he put in and how he coaches the guys -- I thought he deserved a chance to coach a better team."

Hill said that even if he had been healthy, those Magic teams would not have been nearly as good as these Celtics -- and not only because of the talent on the roster. "Doc is more experienced as a coach. I just think he's learned a lot," Hill said. "He's talked to me. He said he's grown as a coach. He's had some ups and downs. He's at a point right now to have those kind of players."

When Garnett joined the Celtics in August after 12 seasons in Minnesota, he had dinner with Pierce and Allen. Pierce told them that they would love playing for Rivers. Coming from Pierce, those words of praise spoke volumes given his initially frosty relationship with Rivers. "When he first got here, we didn't see eye to eye a lot, had our little bumps and bruises," Pierce said. "But over the years, he's been a good coach for me and helped me mature into the player I am today."

Garnett has been around Rivers for only a few months, but has enjoyed how Rivers balances being upfront and demanding with being compassionate. He also marvels at his ability to keep the team on edge at both ends of the floor. "Doc is probably, other than Flip [Saunders], one of the best coaches I've ever been a part of," Garnett said. "I sensed that he recognizes the hunger in us. As much as he wants it, we want it."


As of now, G'town is a 2 seed in the East. While I'm thinking a top seed is in store for March, #2 is probably realistic given the strenght of the opponents played thusfar. Not sure if beatin' down Radford would necessarily impress the selection committee.

# 1s are UNC, KS, Memphis, & Texas. Given that overall early season games are weak, not sure I understand how if GU is #4 & TX is # 5 in the ESPN poll, TX gets the nod for the top slot over GU, but maybe I'm missing something.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Doc Rivers, a Mikael Gorbachev look-alike?

The Boston Herald included in last Thursday's edition an amusing anecdote from Doc Rivers that appears to discuss one of the ways Jeremiah used to practice as a young tike. Diamond will be posting a story soon about Jeremiah's recent efforts to improve his shot.

Perkins, Pollard injuries a big issue
By Steve Bulpett / Celtics Notebook
Thursday, December 13, 2007 - Updated 3d 1h ago

The Celtics were thin where they needed to be large last night, with both Kendrick Perkins and Scot Pollard unable to play at the Garden in a 90-78 win over the Sacramento Kings. Their returns from a bruised right big toe and back spasms, respectively, are uncertain.

Pollard will undergo an MRI today. Perkins will return to the lineup when the pain subsides.

“I don’t really know,” said Celts coach Doc Rivers said of Perkins’ status. “It’s not broken, but big toe injuries are difficult. It’s not like a turf toe, which is good news. He tried to run (yesterday) and he just couldn’t, so I think we’re going to wait. He will not do much (today) and then we’ll see on Friday.”

The injury’s genesis - Perkins said he was trying to fix his headboard when the bed fell on him - invoked a few rolled eyes.

“Well, he explained it to Eddie (Lacerte, the C’s trainer) and he had Eddie come and explain it to me,” Rivers said. “I didn’t have a lot to say about it. There were too many punch lines, so I left them all alone on this one. He’s embarrassed by it. I mean, stuff happens.”

While coaching Orlando, Rivers had Corey Maggette miss time because of an infection following a pedicure. Steven Hunter sprained an ankle by stepping on a ball in the layup lines.

Rivers had his own bout with knuckleheadedness.

“My only son at the time was playing basketball,” he said, “and you know those suction cup basketball hoops? I put it on my forehead so he could shoot. Then I took it off when I was about to go to the game and my wife laughed. She said, ‘You’re not going to believe the mark on your head.’ I had a big circle on my head and it wouldn’t go away. It was awful. The players were calling me Gorbachev for about four days.”

Pollard’s injury wasn’t that funny, though Rivers said, with a laugh, “He woke up old, you know? He woke up and his back was hurting. That’s a tough one, because the spasms, having experienced that, you have to just let it run its course, and that could be as soon as Friday or as long as a week or two.”

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Reflections on Macklin

There was one downside to tonight’s game that I feel compelled to report on—Vernon Macklin’s play. I have to say I have never been more down on him. I believe I now have seen enough of his body of work (both this season and last) to say without any hesitation or equivocation that he will not wind up living up to his potential while wearing a Georgetown uniform.

For those who keep hoping that he’s going to turn the proverbial corner, the IPB is going to go on record saying it’s not going to happen. Mark my words--he is going to go down as one of the bigger disappointments to come out of Georgetown in recent years. Not quite in Anthony Perry territory but close. And let me make clear that I would like nothing than to be proven wrong.

Tonight was case in point. With the exception of a couple of plays, Vernon looked completely clueless on the court tonight. Vernon was continually out of place on defense, proceeded to get beat off the dribble on several occasions when he was out of place, literally was not even aware on one play that an opposing player drove by him for a layup (he was not watching the ball), appeared tentative on offense by refusing to make himself big when he was in the post or passing the ball out on most occasions when he did get the ball in the post (without even looking for a shot), loafed after a few loose balls, let a couple of what should have been easy rebounds bounce off his hands, and continued to clank free throw after free throw.

Couple this with what I perceive to be Vernon’s biggest problem—his head. I just don’t think he has the fire/desire/confidence that is required to be a success on the court and believe most of his other problems stem entirely from this.

As Jester has pointed out in previous posts, Vernon is usually good for a thunderous dunk or two when he frees himself on the baseline and goes straight at the basket. Georgetown fans have been watching this for two seasons now, salivating at the thought of what could be, and allowing these plays to absolve his many other miscues. He may occasionally have a good game but otherwise is going to continue to disappoint.

Again I hope I am proven wrong but doubt I will be. It has been exceedingly rare to have to write a post of this nature under JTIII (it would have been routine under Esherick had our blog existed then) because so many of his players make major strides each year. So it's painful to write this and I'm glad it has been so infrequent.

I invite my other fellow contributors to weigh in with their thoughts on Macklin's play and long-term prospects.

Radford Recap

Tonight’s game was nothing short of complete and total domination. Georgetown jumped out to an 18-3 lead and never looked back. McDonough was rockin’ and this was everything that the ODU game should have been last year. Some of the high points included:
(1) the performances of Freeman and Summers. Both were sensational. End of story.
(2) the crowd chanting “Omar” after he nailed a three pointer to get the Hoyas to the century mark
(3) the crowd chanting “Eat that box” as Jack’s handlers let him loose on a cardboard box wrapped in Radford colors

All in all a fantastic game. The team performed at an incredibly high level and appears ready for Memphis. Hoya Saxa!

Radford Point Spread - Bad News, Part 2

For the second game in a row, Las Vegas is not offering a point spread for the Hoyas. I have a feeling things will get back on track at Memphis.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm Officially Boycotting Sports Illustrated

Are you kidding me?!?!?!'s college hoops section has a story listed in their "Top Stories" with the headline: "Former, current Georegetown player arrested." If you follow the link, you get to this Associated Press story with the title "Ex, current Hoyas player arrested."

The problem is, the "Georgetown" basketball players that this story discusses are affiliated with Georgetown College, the Baptist institution in Georgetown, KY. They are not from alma mater, Georgetown University, the Catholic institution in Washington, DC. As such, they aren't even Hoyas. They are Tigers.

This is some seriously sloppy journalism! SI better have an apology posted pronto!

UPDATE: has fixed the headline on the story. The link now reads "Ex, current Gtown College player arrested." The story itself now says "Georgetown College players arrested." I bet it disappears from their "Top Stories" section pretty quickly now that they know it's not about the mighty Hoyas.

Barker Davis On DaJuan Summers

Bringing his charm
By Barker Davis
December 14, 2007

Carmelo. Rudy. DaJuan.

Georgetown's DaJuan Summers looks primed to take his place among the recent line of Charm City super-swings.

* * *

Barker Davis has a good piece in today's Washington Times on DaJuan Summers. Follow this link to read the entire story.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Jacksonville Point Spread - Bad News

Unfortunately it doesn't look like the sports books are going to post a line for today's game vs. Jacksonville. I think we can safely infer that Georgetown should win this one by a wide margin.

After Fairfield and Alabama, Georgetown remains an even .500 against the spread (3-3).

Alabama and Style Points

I assume all readers of this blog saw the Alabama game, so I doubt a recap is needed. But suffice it to say, it wasn't a very good performance. Again, the offense looked out-of-sync. And the defense--particularly on the perimeter--was weak for the most of the game. Barker Davis has a great piece this morning discussing these characteristically slow starts for the Hoyas under JTIII.

Dress rehearsal, Hoya-style

There are a couple of major reasons why Thompson's teams specialize in halting starts. First, the Princeton-based offense is reliant on such a combination of hard work (hard cuts, constant motion), timing and execution, that it is always going to look worse than an isolation-based offense at the beginning of the season. And, in theory, it's always going to look better than an isolation-based system at the end of the season. "One clunky piece can make our system look pretty bad," Thompson said. "I don't think its attributable to youth or missing parts. I think and I hope that it's just early, because we've started a little ugly offensively every year. Our offensive flow has picked up significantly every season, and I'm hopeful and confident that will happen again." The second reason (related to the first) that Thompson's teams struggle early is his near-total focus on the conference season. After learning his trade at Princeton in a conference where the only NCAA tournament bid goes to the league's regular-season champion, Thompson places a heavier emphasis on conference games than most coaches. In fact, he's so concerned about preparing his team for Big East play that he almost seems to use the nonconference slate as an experimental phase. He'd rather risk losing to Alabama with sophomore reserve center Vernon Macklin playing extensive minutes and Jeremiah Rivers running the point in the clutch than crush the Tide by demanding that senior guard Jon Wallace pound the ball inside to center Roy Hibbert for 40 minutes.


Because he knows the Hoyas will need more weapons than Hibbert to reach San Antonio. And he chooses the nonconference slate, a time he actually refers to as the "preseason" to develop those weapons. "Roy isn't getting as many touches as he's going to get as the season progresses, and some of that is by design," Thompson said. "We're playing big chunks of time without Roy out there because I want to see how some of these other guys are going to react. I want to see Vernon [Macklin] grow up and get Austin [Freeman] and Chris [Wright] prepared for league play. "I'm sacrificing some style points to do what I think is best for our team." Nobody will remember the somewhat ugly beginning if Thompson can produce his customarily masterful conclusion.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Alabama Point Spread

Georgetown is currently a 7 point favorite in tonight's Big East/SEC Showdown game at Alabama tonight. Fortunately for those of us not in the DC area, it's being nationally televised on ESPN.

Point spreads provided for recreational purposes only.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jonathan Wallace Admitted to Georgetown Law

The Washington Post reported today that Jonathan Wallace has been admitted to the alma mater of the IPB and me, Georgetown Law. Congratulations, Jonathan! Let's hope he ends up there and not settling for Virginia or Harvard like Jester or Johnny.

Above and Beyond
Wallace is still a popular figure at Sparkman High, where he was the student government president and his father, Manuel, is the principal. Tiggs estimates that 150 to 200 members of the school and local community will make the 90-minute drive to Birmingham for the game, and Wallace managed to scrounge together more than 20 tickets to cover the various family members who will attend. They'll see someone who has matured both on and off the court. Wallace, an English major, has already been accepted to Georgetown's law school, which is considered to be one of the best in the country. "He's still Jonathan," Tiggs said. "What makes us proud of him is Jonathan the person. . . . He's still an ol' country boy from Alabama. I think we're all excited for the opportunity to have him back home."

Congrats To Mr. and Mrs. Stallion

The Van Buren Boys are happy to announce the arrival of the newest member of the Georgetown University Class of 2009!

Congrats to The Italian Stallion and Mrs. Italian Stallion on the arrival of their little colt!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


There's no alibi for this one.

Today's game against Fairfield was even ugly from before it began.

The aesthetic catastrophy commenced with actual aesthetics. The Hoyas came out donning horrendous white uniforms. It is difficult to even begin to describe how much Hoyas fans hate white jerseys. First, white is NOT a school color. Union Blue and Confederate Gray. It ain't that complicated! Second, the white uniforms hearken back to the nadir of the Georgetown basketball program. I half expected to see the Mustachioed One trolling the sidelines. The Georgetown Hoyas should never never never wear white jerseys again. While the players are inside McDonough practicing free throws, Hoya Blue members should hold a massive bonfire in front of the gym and burn ever white Hoyas jersey they can find. And throw on some black and teal ones for good luck!
Also hearkening back to the nadir of the Georgetown basketball program was today's performance. The game started inauspiciously enough with Jessie Sapp--perhaps cursed by Barker Davis's fine profile in the Washington Times today--took a knee to the back of his head, seconds into the game. He didn't leave the arena but played sparingly throughout the rest of the contest.

Ugly thing #3 has to be the lackluster perimeter defense the Hoyas displayed in the first half. This has been a constant source of consternation over the last two years. For some reason, we seem to have difficulty covering shooters on the perimeter, making mediocre teams like Fairfield look like a bunch of Jimmy Chitwoods.

The fourth source of ugliness on this day was the Hoyas' performance on the free throw line. Vernon, Jeremiah, DaJuan, Roy--you all need to spend some time working on your free throw shooting. Roy and DaJuan have been automatic in the past. Jeremiah has decent form. So those three should be fine. Vernon has a lot to work on. Ticket's physical gifts are patent. His skills--particularly his shooting form--need a great deal of work. Come this time next year, we are going to need him to be much better. Having said that, though, Vernon has improved his defense and rebounding, so there is no question he is working hard and will continue to improve.

There were a few good things to come out of this debacle. First, Jeremiah Rivers played very well. His defense was tough, as was his outside shooting and penetration. I also thought DaJuan played aggressively on both ends of the floor. Chris Wright showed some fire and exhibited clamp-down defensive pressure. And the students once again were excellent in their support of the Hoyas' lethargic performance.

Bring on the Crimson Tide, and let us never speak of the Fairfield game again.

Fairfield Point Spread

Georgetown is a heavy favorite today vs. Fairfield: 27 points.

For those keeping track, despite their perfect record the Hoyas are 2-2 against the spread thus far into the season. If we assume a hypothetical investor wagers $110 (point spread bets typically pay out at 11-10) on every Georgetown game (at a sports book regulated by the Nevada Gaming Commission), so far the investor would be down $20 for the season. Further updates to come.

Point spreads provided for recreational purposes only.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Georgetown fertility

Okay, so this is not even tangentially related to Hoya Hoops, but I could not resist.

Mom-to-be Christina Aguilera is making like Demi Moore and Britney Spears – displaying her bare belly in a revealing cover photo for the January issue of Marie Claire magazine. She also reveals even more in the interview, saying pregnancy wasn't really on her mind when she found out she and husband Jordan Bratman were to become first-time parents.

. . . .

Aguilera believes the moment of conception occurred when Bratman – a music executive whom the singer married two years ago – visited Georgetown during a tour stop, when she had one month of physically challenging concerts still left to perform. (Her Washington, D.C. concert took place in early April – which could conceivably mean the baby's due in January.)

Former Hoya Hoopster Dies

Former Hoya basketball player and United States Congressman Henry Hyde passed away this morning in a Chicago-area hospital. He was 83.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace.

A Solid Win

After a close, stomach-churning first half, our Georgetown Hoyas won handily last evening at Old Dominion University, 66 to 48. As the best Georgetown beat reporter, Barker Davis writes in his column for The Washington Times you can chalk this one up to solid defense from the Hoyas; something that might become the hallmark of this years's squad. The Hoyas held the Monarch's to 31.3% shooting and there were periods in the game where ODU could not hit the broad side of a barn, let alone a basket.

That being said, what the hell was up with Gerald Lee in the first half? The 6' 10" Fin ended the game with 24 points and 12 boards -- including 10 offensive boards. He was pretty much unstoppable in the first half, scoring 16 of ODU's 23 points. PE2 did a good job tightening up the D on him in the second half. But he still scored 8 points there.

Here are a couple of other thoughts I had about last nights game.

1.) I am very concerned about Macklin. Roy has been a fairly good job staying out of foul trouble, but last night he had to come out of the game with 4 fouls with over 5 minutes left to play. By that time we had a comfortable lead so it wasn't a big deal. But I am worried that in tougher games it's going to be a problem. Macklin ended the game with a decent line (6 points on 3-6, 2 rebounds, and an assist). But all three of his baskets were dunks and I believe they were all uncontested. He had a nice roll of a pick for one of those dunks, but if he defender had moved with him I am not confident that he would have made it. The official line only has Macklin turning the ball over once, but that doesn't match what I heard last night. During the first half I was listening to the game on the radio. Chvotkin reported that 3 times in the course of about 2 minutes that Macklin was stipped of the ball. Granted, Chvotkin messes up the call a fair amount, but this would be consistent with what I've seen from Macklin all season. If he can slide behind a defender along the baseline and get a clean pass he can normally finish. But if he has to play with his back to the basket in the lane he almost always fails to score. Most of the time he turns if over. Watch this next game. You'll see that I'm right.

2.) I'm also a little concerned with DaJuan. I was really hoping that he would build on his strong tournament performances and step up this year to fill the gap that was left by Jeff Green's jump to the NBA. That doesn't seem to be happening. He is averaging 7 points and 6.5 rebounds a game, but I don't feel like he is ready to take things to that next level. Last night didn't convince me otherwise. It was pretty much a stinker from Summers. He was 0-5 from the floor and at times seemed pretty much invisible. That kind of disappearing seemed to happen a lot last year too. Let's hope that we can chock this one up to it being early in the season. But if the Hoyas are going to replicate last years success DaJuan Summers needs to step up.

3.) Austin Freeman is ready. He looked great last night. I had though Chris Wright was going to be the freshman that made the most immediate impact on our team, but I think I'm wrong. Freeman did it all. He dunked, he shot the 3-ball, he had a nice assist. He finished the game with 11 points on 5-7 shooting and just looked fantastic. Kudos, Austin.

4.) One of the things that I was most happy to see was how the Hoyas started to play once they got a little bit of breathing room. It was then that we saw the Princeton Offense really start to click. Georgetown started to play grind-it-out, possession basketball at the pace that works best for the team. This did not go unnoticed by the opposition. Monarch's coach Blaine Taylor commented on this very fact after the game. He noted that "Georgetown is really in a comfort zone when they get ahead. And when you give them the lead, you're in for a long night." That is consistent with what we saw last year and makes me confident that this year's crop of student-athletes are understanding how to play to our system's strength.
That's all for now. Bring on Fairfield.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Old Dominion Point Spread

Georgetown is currently a 7.5 point favorite in tonight's game.

Bob McDonough, rest in peace

The university has announced that one of its greatest benefactors, Robert McDonough (F'49), has died. Bob McDonough, after whom the McDonough School of Business is named, was a huge supporter of Hoya hoops. I'll never forget his offer to students who traveled to California see the Hoyas play Maryland in the 2001 Sweet 16 that he would trade his luxury box seats to jump around with the kids close to the court. I actually attended the ceremony at Georgetown on Bob McDonough day when the Business School was officially named after him. He seemed like a gentleman through and through. And he loved Georgetown and the Hoyas. God Speed!

They say it is not about revenge

but for me it is all about revenge. I was at that debacle last year in McDonough. Georgetown gave ODU 1/6 of all of the tickets in the arena and so we actually did not have the home court advantage everyone was expecting. And their fans were as close to the court as any of ours. Not a good deal. They got louder and louder as ODU hung around and finally went on a run in the final minutes of the game to put it away. That game was definitely the low-point of an otherwise stellar year. Tonight's game should be payback. But the reality is that Georgetown is poorly built for these contests. First, the Princetown offense does not accentuate a big time program's comparative advantages when playing a mid-major. We limit the number of possessions (increasing the chance of a fluky outcome) and there isn't as much running and gunning (decreasing the role of athleticism). This is great when you are playing Duke or Pitt or UNC. But it is not so good when you are playing ODU or even a team like Ball State. Second, early in the season, the players are still getting comfortable in the complicated offense. It usually takes until league play for everything to click. The turnaround from JTIII's terrible loss against Temple in his first game as a Georgetown coach and the win at ranked Pitt several weeks later is case in point. Having said that, this is a veteran club and we should expect it to be focused and ready to go.
Hoyas to Pay Norfolk a Visit

In the happy aftermath of Old Dominion's surprising victory over nationally ranked Georgetown last season, Coach Blaine Taylor expressed his appreciation to the Hoyas, not just for playing them last November but also for also agreeing to travel to Norfolk this year. "It probably sets the stage for a nice rematch," Taylor said after the Monarchs' 75-62 win at McDonough Gymnasium, the Hoyas' tiny on-campus arena. But Georgetown Coach John Thompson III doesn't view tonight's game as a chance to avenge last year's upset. "I don't talk in those terms," Thompson said. "That being said, our guys know they came here and beat us last year. . . . There haven't been any rah-rah speeches; I'm not good at those anyway. It's a test, it's an early-season test on the road, and that's what we want." The fifth-ranked Hoyas (3-0) should get that against Old Dominion (3-3), which is coming off back-to-back losses to No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 6 Louisville. The Monarchs are expecting a capacity crowd of nearly 8,500 at Ted Constant Convocation Center. Different programs take different approaches when putting together a nonconference schedule; with Thompson, "it's strictly a case of trying to put us in a position to be ready for league play." That means taking the Hoyas on the road. In Thompson's first three seasons as coach, the Hoyas played nonconference games at Oregon, Illinois and Duke. They also traveled to Davidson, Navy, James Madison and Fairfield. Georgetown, which has already played at Ball State, still has games at Alabama (in Birmingham) and at Memphis to play. Second-ranked UCLA, on the other hand, will play only one true road game (at Michigan on Dec. 22) before opening Pacific-10 Conference play in January with trips to Stanford and California. In the Big East, Syracuse has been known for soft nonconference slates that rarely take the Orange out of New York; this season, they will travel to Virginia (Dec. 5).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Doc and Jeremiah Celebrate Thanksgiving Together

Today's Boston Globe reported that current Boston Celtic head coach Doc Rivers returned to Florida to celebrate the holiday with his family. Jeremiah was expected to be in attendance. Happy Thanksgiving to Doc, Jeremiah, and all of the Georgetown Hoyas.

Family ties on the schedule
Rivers ready for home cooking

By Marc J. Spears
Globe Staff / November 22, 2007
Celtics coach Doc Rivers and forward Paul Pierce are looking forward to celebrating their favorite holiday today.

The Celtics are taking today off to celebrate Thanksgiving. Rivers said he was celebrating the holiday with wife, Kris, and his family at his offseason home near Orlando, Fla. Jeremiah Rivers, a Georgetown University basketball player, is expected to attend. Callie, a University of Florida volleyball player who is at a tournament in Long Beach, Calif., is the only one of Rivers's four children who cannot attend.

More on Hollis

First, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Second, we shot poorly from the outside and from the free throw line against Ball St. Am I concerned? No. We won the game in a very hostile environment and probably were a bit distracted due to all of the crap that was going on off the court. Chalk it up as a W and move on.

Now, on to Mr. Thompson. This is a huge (although not unexpected) pickup for the Hoyas. According to the LA Times: "No player rose faster among the national elite during the summer than Thompson, whose ability to shoot and rebound caught everyone's attention. He's still growing and still getting better." He will almost certainly make the class of 2009 JTIII's fourth class in a row with at least one McDonald's All-American.

I also want to point out something that I mentioned in my piece on Georgetown and Duke last month. Mr. Thompson fits the profile of the type of student-athlete that JTIII has made a point of recruiting. That is, he is both a student and an athlete. Hollis attends one of the best Jesuit high schools in the country and maintains a 4.2 grade point average. Thus, it appears that both he and Greg Monroe could have gained admission to Georgetown without basketball skills. This is remarkable considering how incredibly skilled and athletically gifted these guys are. Also, like Monore, Hollis made clear that academics are a major priority in his recruitment. The top contenders for his services: Stanford, Duke, and UCLA. In fact, reportedly, his decision came down to Georgetown and Stanford. So to recap, great athlete, great student, and Duke loses an other one. Hoya freakin' Saxa!


The Washington Post is reporting that Hollis Thompson, a 6-6 junior forward from Los Angeles (Loyoa High), made an unofficial commitment to Georgetown yesterday. This is the first verbal commitment that the Hoyas have received for the class of 2009. ranks Thompson as the 11th best overall prospect in the class of 2009 and the 2nd best small forward in the class. ranks Thompson as the 24th best prospect in the class of 2009. According to, Thompson was also being recruited by Duke, Stanford, Florida, North Carolina Arizona and UCLA. Thompson was among the recruits that attended Midnight Madness at McDonough at the beginning of this season. I guess Jerry Rice's rendition of the Soulja Boy dance was more persusaive than I orginially thought.

Thompson noted that the recruiting process had already been very long and that he wanted to get his decision out of the way so he could stay focused. In making his decision Hollis Thompson explained that, "[w]hat I really liked about John Thompson was that he told me he doesn't recruit positions, he recruits players."

Welcome to the Hilltop Mr. Thompson.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ball State Point Spread

The Hoyas are a 21.5 point favorite tonight. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.

Now That We Have Him, How Long Can We Keep Him?

Now that Greg Monroe has officially signed with the Hoyas, the question becomes how long we can keep him on the Hilltop. JTIII has done a good job keeping players in the program. Roy Hibbert, of course, is the best example of this. But often times there are other considerations that need to be factored into the equation.

Loyal reader Joshua pointed out that Greg's mother, Norma, has worked two full-time jobs since 1999. She often works 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. six days a week at the post office, then 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. five days a week as a teacher's assistant. She goes home to make sure that Greg has a meal when he returns from school or practice, and then catches a few hours of sleep before starting all over again.

I may be wrong, but this makes me doubt that Monroe will be a Hoya for four years. If his family is in financial distress and he has the opportunity to help alleviate that distress by turning pro he may very well take that opportunity the first chance he gets. Indeed, given the high character that most commentators attribute to Monroe, you would assume that he feels responsibility for his family's well being. I can't say that I could blame him for taking steps to take care of a mother who has obviously worked hard to take care of him.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Down Goes Padgett reports that Louisville senior center, David Padgett fractured his right knee cap in practice last week and is out for at least 10 weeks and, possibly, the rest of the season. You have to feel bad for Padgett, who has been riddled with plagues during his entire collegiate career.

The Cardinals were relying on Padgett to give them some experience and size on the court this year, and his absence should definitely hurt them. One would assume that Padgett's injury will help the Hoyas in their question to repeat as Big East champs.

USA Today on Greg Monroe

There is a great story in USA Today that says about about Greg, his Mom, and JTIII. Recommended reading.

Basketball recruit Monroe stays humble amid praise

"For whatever reason, we didn't have a lot of upperclassmen there, and Greg was there with JV kids," Helen Cox coach Tyron Mouzon says. "I don't know how many No. 1 players in the country would do that. He's the ultimate team person. He never feels he is too big for anyone or anything. "That unselfish attitude extends to the court, where the 6-10 Monroe is a gifted player who can play multiple positions, as willing to pass the ball as he is to work for an offensive rebound. Next season he will take his skills to Georgetown. He signed his national letter of intent Friday, his mom's birthday. "I got the feeling that (coach John Thompson III) wasn't trying to sell me anything," Monroe says. "Everything was straightforward. The way he talked to me was the same way he talked to his players." Monroe averaged 19.3 points, 12.2 rebounds and three blocks a game during his junior season. In his first game this season, Monroe faced double- and triple-teams and scored seven points. But he collected 15 rebounds and blocked four shots in that 53-44 win against O.P. Walker (New Orleans) High. Monroe picked up his scoring in Cox's second game, finishing with 20 points in a 52-41 victory Saturday against Holy Cross (New Orleans) High.

Thompson, who was the last major coach to start recruiting Monroe but connected immediately with him, understands what he's getting. "He's an important piece to what we're doing here," Thompson says. "He's a very unselfish player with the ability to help himself and his teammates." The left-hander can rebound, block shots and run the court, thrives on accumulating assists and possesses a soft mid-range jumper. It's not unusual for Monroe to grab a rebound and dribble down the court, leading the fast break. "Greg is one of those guys who is blessed with a tremendous amount of physical attributes," recruiting analyst Dave Telep says. "At his size, you want to cast him as (an inside) presence. "What Greg is is a versatile, new-era big man. The next step, because he's so talented, you want him to be dominant all the time. He's growing into that role." Monroe is the top recruit for a Georgetown class that is ranked in the top five by and after the early signing period. It is another step in Thompson's plans to make the Hoyas annual contenders. Center Henry Sims, forward Chris Braswell and guard Jason Clark, all in's top 100, also signed with Georgetown. "Last year, Georgetown retooled the backcourt," Telep says. "For 2008, they overhauled the frontcourt with the No. 1 player and two guys who will grow together. This package plays off the 2007 class extremely well. "Georgetown is losing guys to the NBA and not dropping off."

Monday, November 19, 2007

He's awesome. Period. End of story.

Such was the reaction from Jester after viewing a recently-posted highlight video of Mr. Greg Monroe (who, incidentally, has officially signed with the Hoyas). You can get one free viewing of the video on rivals. Just click on Greg Monroe Highlights 8. Greg displays a full game--including absolutely sensational passing. I'd be psyched if an incoming guard could pass and finish like Greg. But he's a 6'10 center!!! Remember, you only get one free peak from, so pay attention!

Ball State Drama

The local press in Muncie, Indiana ran an interesting article about this Wednesday's Ball State game. One would hope that the Hoyas will easily rout the Ball State Cardinals. Ball State is a small time program in tatters. Georgetown has aspirations of playing for a national championship. But the acrimonious departure of Ronnie Thompson from the head coaching job at Ball State, among a flurry of NCAA violations and allegations of racial harassment, covers this contest with an extra layer of drama. While Ball State officials do not expect the game to be a sell out, and while student attendance should be low since the dorms will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday (Tuesday is the last day of classes), the Cardinals' powers-that-be are still doubling their courtside security for the game. The Gannett News Service is also sending one of their national columnists to cover the game. Apparently, some people expect the ill feelings that the Ball State community harbors towards Ronnie Thompson may spill over to his brother and his brother's team. Let's hope that is not the case.

And let's hope for a solid trouncing of Ball State.

For the full article from the The Star Press, click here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Patrick Ewing Returns to the NBA

While watching tonight's Celtics-Magic game (which, by the way, was an unbelievable game even though Boston wound up on the wrong end of this one), I noticed Patrick Ewing sitting on the Magic bench. He is back as an assistant coach and was essentially brought in to work with Orlando's young prodigy Dwight Howard, much as he did a few years ago in Houston with Yao Ming.

This of course means that Patrick Ewing sightings at Verizon Center this season will be few and far between or perhaps non-existent.

NY Post Picks Hoyas To Win It All

The New York Post this morning predicted that JTIII and the Georgetown Hoyas will be cutting down the nets in San Antonio in 2008.


Unlike last season, when the Hoyas weren't a known commodity, they won't surprise anyone in '07-08. Georgetown and Louisville were the preseason picks to win the Big East title. Georgetown won the regular-season and tournament titles last season. "When you go through an experience like that, we know how hard and how tough it was to get to that point, let alone exceed that point," guard Jonathan Wallace said. "It leaves a taste in your mind. It's a bittersweet taste." The Hoyas are not an eye-candy team such as Louisville, Memphis, North Carolina or Kansas, which can score in streams. Their Princeton offense is as monotonous as a leaky faucet - drip, drip, drip. "I have to remind our guys, especially this group, there are no 15-point plays," Thompson said. "People have a tendency to get anxious, 'We're not up by X amount points."' "We have methodically pulled away from teams. If we pull away from them, that's how we do things," he added. "We just slowly grind it out."

Which is what the banner-raising ceremony felt like for Thompson. He does not live in the past or the future. Asked after the William & Mary game if he liked the banner but would prefer a more prestigious one being raised next season, he needed several minutes to grasp the question. "Should it be gray instead of blue?" he asked. No, Thompson was informed, it should be the Hoyas' second national championship banner. "I was a little slow, that's what you meant by the wrong banner," he said. "I don't think in those terms. Let's get better today. If we get better, if we improve, we'll pick our heads up at the end of the year and see where we stand." Thompson should be standing on a ladder in the Alamodome, cutting down the nets and wondering how long such a moment can last.

Friday, November 16, 2007


The Hoyas totally overpowered Michigan last night. I was particularly pleased by the play of Vernon Macklin, Chris Wright, and Austin Freeman. While they all made mistakes, Macklin showed supernatural athleticism and good court presence, Wright showed his shooting and penetration, and Freeman shot from the outside and rebounded well. Hibbert had an off night, but it didn't really matter. Great game in terms of getting experience for the guys who will constitute the future of the program. And just let me state for the record--Jesse Sapp is a baller. He has taken a big step forward and will be huge for the Hoyas this year and next. Hopefully, the IPB will weigh in with his thoughts. Oh yeah, and Jeff Green's mom was there. And, finally, I have to big props to the students. Two games into the season this is probably the best student participation the Hoyas have seen since .... ever? Keep it up guys.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Michigan Point Spread

Georgetown is a 14.5 point favorite vs. Michigan, but I defer to the Stallion's expertise as to what will actually happen tonight.

Hoyas on ESPN

Saturday, November 10, 2007

William & Mary Point Spread

Finally, the long awaited GU-William & Mary point spread is available - Georgetown is a 22.5 point favorite today.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bring on the Tribe!!!!!

Per The Hoya, Wright will be in action and Pat Ewing Jr. will be starting.

Go Hoyas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Springing Back Into Action

On the Hoyas’ side, freshman guard Chris Wright, who broke his foot in a pick-up game in late September, will be ready to play, as will sophomore guard Jeremiah Rivers, who suffered the loss of his grandfather last weekend. Missing though will be freshman forward Nikita Mescheriakov, who will have to sit out the first 10 games of the season because he participated on a European pro team while he was still in his native Belarus. While Thompson is quick to remind reporters that no one can fill Jeff Green’s shoes, the question of who will take his spot in the starting lineup, for the first game at least, has been answered. Fifth-year forward Patrick Ewing will get the nod to make his first start at Georgetown.

Campus Press

In case anyone missed it, the Hoya and the Georgetown Voice have their annual basketball previews available on-line. Like all things related to Georgetown Basketball, these issues are better than they have been in year. Great profiles of the players and coaches. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Great Roy Profile in The Courant

This is one of the better articles on Roy. I've read.

Roy Has Risen

"It's been a lot of work," said Hibbert, who has had nice scoring and rebounding increases in each of his previous three seasons. "People used to say things but you keep working at it, you know? I didn't get discouraged. I spent a lot of time in the weight room getting myself in shape and I'm continuing to work hard because I want to get better, but offensively I just kept working the same shot over and over. My hook shot, until it came naturally. But this year, I'd say defensively I have to step it up to help make up for what we lost with Jeff Green [joining the NBA as a junior]. "From 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds a game as a freshman, which he could have fallen out of bed to average because he was so big, to 11.6 and 6.9 as a sophomore to 12.9 and 6.9 last season on a team that advanced to the Final Four - it has been a nice progression for anybody who has watched Hibbert's development. "His willingness from day one," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said. "He's been someone that is extremely focused as it relates to his individual improvement and our team's improvement. He's extremely intelligent. He understands what you're telling him and that, coupled with his God-given ability - he's big; I mean, he's huge, and has good hands and is a bright person with a terrific work ethic, much like I like to say about our team. He has methodically gotten better over the last four years." And I'll tell you what, he's just getting started. You're going to see him a couple of years from now and I'm confident you're going to see him even more improved because he's already significantly better now than he was last year. "Hibbert had some great games last year, but the fact that he outplayed No.1 pick Greg Oden in the Final Four has people salivating about where he could go in the draft this year. Hibbert had 19 points, six rebounds and a block to Oden's 13 points, nine boards and a block. "I guess it's nice that my stats were better but if I had my choice, I would have liked to had won the game," Hibbert said. Many expected that since Hibbert was hot - and big - that he was going to go pro. Thompson III went on a fact-finding mission for him and Green to see where NBA people thought they might go in the draft.Hibbert wasn't being considered a lottery pick and that may have had something to do with his return. Green did get selected in the lottery, at No.5, and went to the Celtics, who then traded him on draft night to Seattle. "We have a good team coming back this year so I said I want to get my degree; what's one more year?" Hibbert said. "The NBA is there but my senior year won't last forever. I feel the experiences I have had already, I'm having a good time so far and the season hasn't even started yet. "When it does, it will start in earnest because the Hoyas, based on Hibbert's return, are a national title favorite. So what can we expect from the ever-developing, ever-improving Roy Hibbert? "You'll see a lot more defensive play, blocking the shots, getting more rebounds, just making up for what Jeff Green brought us," Hibbert said. "I've been working hard in the weight room, trying to slim down a little more. I'm always in the weight room."

BE Tourney

finally, a BE tournament that includes all teams. maybe it causes a few upsets, but all DI schools should have a chance to dance.

Nikita Out For First 10 Games

This has to be the lamest excuse for an NCAA suspension in history. Before entering American high school he played for a short period with a professional team in Europe but received no compensation for it. As a tennager in Belarus is there any chance that he had any idea that this rule existed?! Comm'on!

Freshman ruled ineligible for 10 games

Georgetown University Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III announced today the Nikita Mescheriakov has been ruled ineligible for the 1st 10 games of the season. "Prior to coming to this country," Coach Thompson said, "Nikita briefly participated with a professional team in Europe. He was not compensated but the NCAA has ruled that he will have to sit out the first ten games of the season." The 6-8, 205 lb forward from Minsk, Belarus will be able to practice with the team but cannot play before the Fordham game at the Verizon center on December 31.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bush Honors Former Hoya Hoopster

First Mutombo and now Henry Hyde receive recognition from President Bush. Bush awarded Hyde the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here is some of what he said:

Congressman Hyde spent more than three decades as a towering figure on Capitol Hill. But he first made his name in Washington more than 60 years ago. He was on the Georgetown basketball team, and played in the NCAA Eastern Championship game in 1943. After college and Navy service in World War II, he returned home to Illinois, and earned a law degree, and made his way into politics. This erudite, scholarly man has walked with kings and kept the common touch. He won 20 elections, and gave steady service to the people of Illinois for 40 years. In the House, Congressman Hyde rose to the chairmanship of two committees, judiciary and international relations. And from the first day, he was a commanding presence, and he was a man of consequence. Colleagues were struck by his extraordinary intellect, his deep convictions, and eloquent voice.

Post and Times have season previews today

Barker still does not think that the Hoyas will wind up missing Jeff that much. I agree that Georgetown does have an all-around better team. But who will take the big shot? That's the question. Wallace can do so on a set play, but can't always create. I think DaJaun, who has shown a knack for drawing fouls, may become out go-to guy, but I'm not counting out Wright or Freeman.

Sound environment

Even without Jeff Green, Georgetown begins its quest for a Final Four encore blessed with the Excalibur of experience. Entering this week's hoops season tipoff, virtually every media outlet has weighed in on the Hoyas' hopes with some variation on the theme of life after Green. Last season's Big East player of the year averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. And after Green's leap to the NBA, much has been made of how the Hoyas would replace such a player. In fact, too much has been made of the post-Green void. The reality is that Georgetown's overall roster is deeper, more balanced and more talented this season. And most importantly, the Hoyas have a profusion of perhaps the most valuable commodity in college sports: experience. Among the 25 teams ranked in the preseason AP poll, only No. 12 Oregon boasts more returning starts in its potential opening-game lineup than the fifth-ranked Hoyas. Led by fourth-year starting point man Jonathan Wallace, whose resume features more starts than any other Division I player (102), the Hoyas feature a seasoned cast coming off the added experiential bonus of a Final Four appearance. The most remarkable thing about Georgetown heading into the season isn't who's missing; it's who's back. The Hoyas return four starters and eight of the nine principal pieces from the squad that swept both Big East titles en route to a 30-7 campaign and the school's first Final Four showing since 1985.
. . . .

"Nobody is going to take Jeff Green's position," Thompson said. "I'm not sitting here having watched tapes all summer saying, 'How are we going to fill Jeff Green's void?' This is a totally different group with different strengths, different weaknesses and different players. ... Even the same guys are totally different parts. [Sophomore forward] Vernon Macklin, for instance, is a totally different player this year than he was last year. Collectively, we'll figure out the mix and approach that gives us the best chance for success." Perhaps the biggest difference between last season's squad and the current Georgetown crew is that Thompson and Co. have far more options in terms of both personnel and style this season. Entering last season, Wallace was the team's only proven ball-handler and perimeter shooter. This season, the team has three proven ball-handlers in Wallace, Sapp and reserve guard Jeremiah Rivers and three proven gunners in Wallace, Summers and Sapp. Throw in the heralded local perimeter duo of McDonald's All-Americans Austin Freeman and Chris Wright and the Hoyas feature a far deeper backcourt than last season. That should give Thompson the freedom to run and press without foul concerns this season, as well as giving him more lineup options against the league's traditionally guard-centric teams (Marquette and Villanova). The upshot is that even without Green, the Hoyas enter this season with far fewer question marks and more experience. And while that doesn't necessarily translate into a deeper run in the NCAA tournament, it does mean that Georgetown has fewer hurdles on its way to becoming an elite-level team. Said Thompson: "Can we be better than last year? I don't know, but I certainly hope so. I do know that we definitely have more pieces and more options, and that gives us the opportunity to be better."

Powell's piece in the Post discusses what JTIII has accomplished in such a short time at Georgetown. It is one of those articles that makes we very happy that they inked the contract extension!

These Coaches Lead, And the Wins Follow

So Thompson III and Pitino are at the forefront of the Big East, which has always been a coaches' league, its identity forged in large part by the men who stood on the sidelines and won with distinct styles and big personalities. "I think Dave Gavitt [a founder of the Big East] said it best: The NBA is about the name on the back, and the college game is about the name on the front," Tranghese said. "When the NBA introduced the hardship rule, we were all worried about the effect of that. I think what it's proven to us is it's reinforced the brand name, which is Georgetown/John Thompson, Connecticut/Jim Calhoun, Syracuse/Jim Boeheim." It isn't easy to coach in the Big East, with its sheer size, variety of playing styles, and experienced coaches. The conference added two new coaches this season: Bob Huggins, who has the sixth-highest winning percentage among active coaches (.737), takes over at West Virginia, and Stan Heath, who led Kent State and Arkansas to the NCAA tournament, was hired by South Florida. Their arrival means that 14 of the 16 head coaches have taken a team to the NCAA tournament, and the only two that haven't, Rutgers's Fred Hill and St. John's Norm Roberts, were assistants on NCAA tournament teams. Six coaches have coached in the Final Four: Connecticut's Calhoun, Syracuse's Boeheim, Huggins (at Cincinnati), Pitino (at Providence, Kentucky and Louisville), Thompson III and Marquette's Tom Crean.
. . . .
Both the Hoyas and Cardinals have great players and great depth this season. For Georgetown, it's been a relatively quick process to get to this point. In Thompson's first season (2004-05), the Hoyas' rotation consisted of essentially seven players, none of whom were seniors. Now, Georgetown has an established core of players, led by senior center Roy Hibbert, a preseason all-American, and senior guard Jonathan Wallace -- both of whom were in that first seven-man rotation. "It's incredible just how quickly and fast his program has risen to national prominence again," said Heath, who faces a steep challenge in building the Bulls' program (four conference wins in two seasons). "You've got to give him a lot of credit for retooling the program into a national powerhouse." Pitino was well-established as a strong recruiter when he came to Louisville, after the success he had at Kentucky, but Thompson was an unknown quantity coming from Princeton. His first recruiting class didn't pan out -- only one player from that group, junior guard Jessie Sapp (National Christian), is still with the program -- but his subsequent classes have been impressive. The Hoyas now have three McDonald's all-Americans on their roster: sophomore forward Vernon Macklin and freshman guards Austin Freeman (DeMatha) and Chris Wright (St. John's). Next year's recruiting class will be Thompson's strongest; he has unofficial commitments from four players rated among the top 100 seniors in the country, led by forward Greg Monroe, the No. 1 rated player according to Thompson weighed heavily in Monroe's decision to commit to the Hoyas over Duke, Connecticut, LSU and Texas. "He was a pretty big factor," Monroe told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "He's a very intelligent man. He's very professional. He runs his program the right way. He's very hands-on. He's a very, very impressive coach, a very good coach, probably one of the best ones out there right now." No team has won more Big East games (regular season and tournament) over the past two seasons than the Hoyas, who are 28-10. "I think he's an unbelievable coach," Marquette guard Jerel McNeal said of Thompson III. "He makes it hard on the opponent, starting with the type of offense that they play, and getting the best shot selection and at the same time, letting his more talented players make plays. He's done an incredible job. He's definitely one of the premier coaches in the league and the country."

Monday, November 05, 2007

ESPN Reviews Big East Recruiting

ESPN observes that the Big East has been doing exceptionally well on the recruiting trial--highlighting Cinci, DePaul, L-ville, UConnvict, and the Hoyas. For the whole article, click here.

Big East recruiting displays high level of intensity

The Hoyas had a top-10 recruiting class in 2007 complete with three ESPN Top 150 recruits -- 6-3 combo guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va.), 6-10 C Henry Sims (Baltimore, Md.) and 6-8 PF Chris Braswell (Chatham, Va.). However, this class transformed from good to great, potentially vaulting into the No. 1 spot, when coach John Thompson III received a verbal pledge from top-10 prospect 6-10 PF Greg Monroe (Gretna, La.). Greg Monroe moved up to the No. 4 ranking in the latest ESPN 150.Monroe became the fourth ESPN 150 recruit to join the Hoyas and has the ability to easily perform any task on the basketball court. He has great ball-handling skills for a player of his size and can connect on the jump shot consistently out to about 15 feet, though he can knock down the 3-point shot. The lefty can also score in the post, though he likes to operate in the mid-post to utilize his superior athleticism on bigger, slower defenders. Monroe also blocks shots very well and runs the court adeptly. Sims and Braswell also block shots and rebound at a high rate. Monroe, along with Sims and Braswell, provide the Hoyas with a talented triumvirate of big men who can make an immediate impact, which JT3 will need with the 2008 departure of Preseason Big East Player of the Year C Roy Hibbert. Monroe has the ability to develop into the top prospect from the 2008 class as well as the best NBA player from this recruiting class. Preseason All Big East pick PG Jonathan Wallace will also graduate in 2008, therefore the explosive Clark should make early contributions to Georgetown in 2008. Clark has the offensive skills to create his own offense, deftly scoring off the bounce. He also rebounds the ball well for a guard and plays intense pressure defense. With this talented crew coming to Georgetown, Thompson has the talent to lure even more highly coveted prospects to Washington, D.C., including Top 150 player Chris Singleton (Duluth, Ga.).

JTIII foundation

The Post has a great story this morning about John and Monica's philanthropic efforts.

Taking Time Out for a Good Cause

"John and his father have always been about providing the tools through education and other means for young adults to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get ahead in life," said Leonsis, vice chairman emeritus at AOL and a trustee of the university. "I said, 'Pick causes that are meaningful to you and are authentic to what you stand for.' " Education, Monica Thompson said, was a natural cause for them, given her husband's upbringing in Washington and his commitment to Georgetown. As a breast cancer survivor, she also is interested in promoting better health care for at-risk women and families. And finally, they wanted to engage in a way that wasn't exclusively high-society. So when the John Thompson III Foundation held its first fundraiser on a September weekend, it opened with a panel discussion at Georgetown University on the state of intercollegiate sports. The couple then hosted a block party and health fair at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Anacostia, followed by a $500-per-ticket black tie gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. The events made money, though Monica Thompson said the final tally is pending. The Thompsons assumed much of the administrative costs and will give the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington, Capital Breast Care Center, Southeast Tennis and Learning Center, and Washington Jesuit Academy. "You see young kids who make mistakes because they don't know any better and how, if they don't have strong parental guidance to help them, how that makes it so much harder for them," she said. "But you take a child who is from a disadvantaged environment, if you give that child the proper skills and access to broaden their knowledge and be educated and go on to college, you then create the ability for that person to improve their circumstances and you create a productive person in society." She will serve as the foundation's executive director and only staff member, and won't take any salary for the work. It's a good segue for her, since she was a fundraiser for Princeton University for six years, focusing on large endowments and gifts.

For more information about the JTIII foundation, please visit

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Passing of Jeremiah's Grandfather

Today Jeremiah Rivers' paternal grandfather--Grady Alexander Rivers Sr.--passed away in Chicago, IL. The VBB's condolences go out to the entire Rivers family.

Celtics coach Rivers leaves team after learning of father's death

Associated Press

Updated: November 4, 2007, 7:42 PM ET

TORONTO -- Celtics coach Doc Rivers left the team before Boston's game Sunday against the Raptors after his father died in Chicago.

The Celtics said Rivers left Toronto on Sunday morning. Grady Alexander Rivers Sr. was 76. There was no immediate word on the cause of death and funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Doc Rivers


"It was a tough, emotional morning, I'm sure, for the whole Rivers family," guard Ray Allen said. "I hadn't had the chance or the pleasure of meeting Doc's father but I can tell how much he meant to Doc by his words this morning. Our hearts went out to him."

Assistant Tom Thibodeau replaced Rivers and the Celtics held off Toronto to post a 98-95 overtime victory behind 33 points from Allen and a 23-point, 13-rebound effort from Kevin Garnett.

"Thib did a great job tonight," Garnett said. "He's a defensively sound kind of guy."

Thibodeau joined Boston this season, moving from the Houston Rockets. He acknowledged the pressure of stepping into the top job.

"Obviously, when you're an assistant you're making suggestions," Thibodeau said. "When you're the head coach you're making the final decision and there are a lot of decisions to be made. Some work out well, some don't, but it's coming at you fast."

Beating Toronto to improve to 2-0 meant a lot to Thibodeau and his players.

"Our thoughts are with Doc and so that makes it special, the fact that we were able to win for him," Thibodeau said.

Forward Paul Pierce said he was also thinking about Rivers.

"My blessings go out to him," Pierce said. "I've never been through anything like that. We wanted to come out here and get the win for him."

A 13-year NBA veteran, Rivers became the 16th coach in Celtics history on April 29, 2004, and won NBA Coach of the Year honors as Boston went 45-37 and won the Atlantic Division title in his debut season.

Now in his fourth season with Boston, the 46-year-old Rivers has led the Celtics to a 103-144 record.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hoyas #5 in Pre-Season AP

The Hoyas are in at #5 in the preseason AP poll, just as in the Coaches' Poll. Interestingly, the Hoyas got 1 first place vote. UCLA, Memphis and North Carolina were the other schools receiving first place votes.

Roy! Roy Roy Roy! Roy Roy Roy! Roy!

Just to get everyone pumped up for the season, here's an interview with Big Roy and his entrance from Midnight Madness.

Georgetown's Hibbert among handful of college stars who bypassed NBA for now

Ask Roy Hibbert why the heck he's still a student at Georgetown instead of banking millions of some NBA team's dollars, and the 7-foot-2 senior sounds a bit like the politician he thinks about becoming one day. He speaks earnestly about taking responsibility for his decision. He looks you in the eye while talking about wanting to "finish off my four-year plan." He mentions the importance of getting a good education. Then again, it also took Hibbert less than 10 seconds into an interview with The Associated Press this week to drop a reference to having "a shot at a title." By which he meant, of course, an NCAA championship, a prize that has eluded the Hoyas for 23 years, although Hibbert and Jeff Green - a classmate who did opt for the NBA - led the team to last season's Final Four before losing to Ohio State. "It's been a long time since we won the tournament," Hibbert said, sitting not far from a case protecting the 1984 trophy at McDonough Arena. "It would mean a lot."
. . . .

"I'm having so much fun my senior year. The atmosphere around campus - I'll miss that," Hibbert said. "When you get to the NBA, it's a lot of business, contracts, negotiating, and everything like that. I'm just living out my adolescent years, my last few years of freedom, before I've got to go into the business side of basketball."

. . . .

"He comes in as an unsure-of-himself kid, and now he's grown up," Thompson said. "He's gone through the natural maturation process that most college kids go through - get here a little uneasy, not sure about things, not the most confident in the world. Now he's grown into a sense of who he is." That's evident in the way Hibbert carries himself these days, teammates say. "I've never heard Roy talk so much since I got here. But he's vocal, telling everybody what to do and where to be," junior guard Jesse Sapp said. "We need the Big Fella. There's not too many Big Fellas in the country who are going to be able to stop him."

A government major, Hibbert looks forward to tossing his mortarboard in the air at graduation next spring, not the type of sentiment one hears every day from a big-time college athlete. Particularly in basketball, where top players often leave after a year or two. Hibbert, though, thinks he could put his degree to good use down the road. He's been keeping tabs on the 2008 presidential campaign and went to hear candidate Barack Obama speak twice. "After basketball, maybe you might see me running for governor or mayor, something like that," Hibbert said, eyes and smile as wide as can be. "I won't go so far as to say 'president,' because that's kind of cliche. But you never know what will happen."

His time at Georgetown also has afforded him the chance to earn a B.A. in basketball from such luminaries as Mutombo, Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. The trio of past Hoyas centers stops by the ol' stomping grounds from time to time; Ewing's son, Patrick Jr., is Hibbert's teammate. "Dikembe would say, 'Be long. Clog up the lane. Block shots. Get rebounds. Be a defensive threat.' Big Pat would show me some moves. Alonzo would tell me, 'Shoot 300 hooks a day,"' Hibbert said. "They each told me what they're good at. So I try to be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge as I can." Something others notice. "That guy's really something," said Villanova's Jay Wright, who has to deal with Hibbert in Big East competition and coached him this summer on the U.S. team at the Pan Am Games. "Besides the obvious talent, he's really smart. ... A lot of times, you see big guys who play the game because they're big. He plays the game because he loves the game." Yet another explanation for why Hibbert is a senior rather than a rookie right now. And although he is well aware of the risks associated with staying in school, Hibbert is not daunted by them. "I could have the worst season of my life or Georgetown may not do well this year. I could go not where I thought I'd go in the draft. I could get hurt," he said, rapping his sizable hand on a nearby wood table. "I'll take the responsibility for what my decision was after the season's done. And if I don't get drafted - if I get hurt or whatever - I'm going to keep working. Because that's what I do."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ronny Thompson's New Gig

It appears that Ronny Thompson has a new gig working as an "NBA Analyst" for Comcast Sportsnet. I stumbled across him while watching the Wizards post-game coverage. I have to say his commentary was not very insightful, although I guess this is not necessarily surprising given his track record as a head coach. You have to wonder if all those years with Esherick poisoned him.

On a somewhat related note, the Wizards lost a heartbreaker tonight. While my loyalties reside with the Celtics, I have somewhat of a soft spot for the Wizards but mark my words: the Wizards are going to suffer through a bad season regardless of whether their big three (Arenas, Butler, and Jamison) are healthy or not. The conventional wisdom says this team--when at full strength--has as good a shot as any to contend for the Eastern Conference title. No way they will even come close to that this year. I suspect they will be around a .500 ballclub and a borderline playoff team. Expect some major changes after this year. You heard it here first. Big matchup with Boston this Friday night--stay tuned for more commentary from the IPB!

Mourning & Mutombo Most Charitable NBA Players

According to this Kenny Smith story on Yahoo! Sport, Mourning and Mutombo rank #1 and #2, respectively, as the most charitable players in the NBA. Both continue to represent Georgetown well, on and off the court. Hoya saxa, Zo and Deke!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

John Thompson Interview of KG, Allen, and Pierce

The NBA Season kicks off tonight and former Georgetown coach John Thompson recently sat down with the three stars of my favorite NBA basketball team--the Boston Celtics--for an exclusive interview. I've posted the transcript below for your reading enjoyment:

By Marc Spears, Globe Staff

The following is the interview that TNT basketball analyst John Thompson, an ex-Celtic, did recently with the Celtics star trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. The interview will run tonight on TNT.

Coach Thompson: Twenty four wins last year, how reluctant were you, to go to a team that had won only 24 games last year?
Kevin Garnett: I don’t think it was necessarily the 24 games, it was more the direction of the team and what they saw for the future as far as winning. When they did the trade for Ray it exemplified you know, we’re here to win now we’re not waiting on the young team. We’re not waiting on the young guys we’re here to win now, and before then I didn’t look at the situation like that, you know trying to figure out, one, wow like really grip it in my mind like why you’re about to be moved and there’s nothing you can do about it and embracing that was probably the hardest part. When I had to look at different options before the trade obviously they were similar to the situation I was already currently in and I didn’t want to do that. I knew that you know probably I wanted to play for the next probably 3, 4, 5 years or however long the number I came up with. I didn’t want to be in that position or in that current position so… Draft day changed all that for me, I started to take that option a lot more serious, and I did, at the end of the day I weighed all the options and looked at it I wasn’t gonna get two better teammates than this right here.

JOHN THOMPSON: Paul, everybody talks about the acceptance of you three guys of each other, Ray touches on an interesting point, how do you feel the three of you will be accepted by your teammates because of the attention that you guys will get because of who you are?
Paul Pierce: Well the crazy thing about it, even in a short period of time we’ve become a close-knit group and I think the trip to Rome really helped us out because we had a chance to go out there and bond, after practice it was all about us being together. And you know we talked about a lot of stuff, you know everybody understands that a lot of attention is gonna come this way but that’s part of the game and that’s what happens in this game so I don’t think they worry about this, everybody has a role in this and everybody has to understand their role and that’s important for us to let everybody know, the coaches, everybody know that everybody gonna play a big role in this. If you look at the championship teams you understand who the star players are, what they’re gonna do, but it’s the other guys that’s gonna get them over the top. If you look at the John Paxons’, the Robert Horrys’, the Steve Kerrs’, those are guys that help you win championships and you let them know.

COACH THOMPSON: How important was it for you three guys to be playing with somebody you were comfortable with, you know these guys are coming into your domain, its not just the fact they could play but how conscious are you of who they are and how you could get along?
Paul Pierce: Well I got so much respect for them, I’ve watched them over the years. These guys have established themselves and I wanted them to come in there and be themselves and that’s what I told them the first day they got here I want yall to be yallselves because I never played with a group of people that I trusted so much. That I’m willing to sacrifice whatever I done in the past for the better of the team anyway because of the level of trust I’m giving them. This is an unbelievable experience were gonna go through it definitely humbles you when you’ve been through the type of seasons I’ve been through and especially last year me going through a foot injury missing as many, I never missed so many games. And its like now on the weak side when I passed the ball before when I passed the ball I didn’t trust my teammates and now I got guys that when I make that pass I believe their gonna get the job done just as much as I feel like I can get the job done. Its so much of a relief that it doesn’t bother me. For them to come over here and see them successful means everything in the world for me because just to see KG make a all-star team or MVP or Ray make all-star or MVP if I don’t I’ll still be the happiest guy in the world because I’ll know I was a part of that.

COACH: Can you guys win the east with a rookie 2nd year point guard?
Kevin Garnett: Absolutely.
Paul Pierce: I don’t see why not.
Kevin Garnett: I don’t see why not either. The East is tough. It’s no different than the West. I mean you throw style out and stuff like that but, still good teams, guys that go out and play hard every night. Still guys with above average talent, still have stars that will be up for playing us every night. But I think Rondo is going to surprise a lot of ya’ll. A lot of people on the outside ask that question you asked because he’s aware that us three are going to be trapped and schemed defensively. He knows he’s that outlet. He’s going to surprise you. Kid’s got a great I.Q. for the game, scrappy, on every play on defense, runs this team like a point should. He’s young but very impressive.

Coach: You guys, I can see you get along, but in 80 games in the NBA you’ll have your ups and downs. And more will be made out of it because it’s you three…and it won’t be holding hands all the time, they’ll be differences.
KG: We’ll cross that bridge though. Granted w get along but like brothers, the beautiful fact is we can have differences. There’s a bigger objective here.
Ray Allen: It’s the respect though. What he does, what Paul does, what I do. When something goes wrong you can’t hide from it. You’ve got to clear the air. You have to know that each of these 12 guys has a career, and has a stake in this. When something goes wrong, you’ve got to own up to it. Because 2 points goes up there for the Celtics or against the Celtics. When you’re in that locker room we just have to respect each other. You have space, this is what I do, this is what you do. When you come together and understand that, you can deal with adversity. You can talk to someone like a man and say it’s my fault and move on. We’ve all been on bad teams, and you start pointing fingers and don’t take culpability for your own actions. We take culpability, and try to figure out how we get past this and then we’ll be fine.
Coach: I did an interview with you that was one of the most touching and honest interviews. And you came to tears about wanting to win and playing with guys who wanted to win. Do you have that now Kevin?
KG: I definitely have that. I, probably out of the three of us, am more grateful that anything. This is probably going to be, God willing, the last team I play on. When you have a little bit of success in this league, it bonds to you. And when that is taken away from you, for whatever reason, it hurts. It’s what it is. I’m rejuvenated man, I’m excited. The opportunity to play next to two guys who understand me and feel me. It’s a joy coming in here everyday. I know it sounds premature or commercial.