The Van Buren Boys

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

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Breaking Feature: Freeman and Wright Scouting Report

The IPB had a front-row seat at a packed Gallaudet gym for tonight’s primetime WCAC championship showdown between DeMatha and St. John’s. The game was the third time this season that DeMatha’s Austin Freeman and St. John’s Chris Wright, two recently named McDonald’s All Americans and future Hoyas, have squared off against each other. In terms of the game, DeMatha won easily, as it raced out to leads of 9-0 and 20-4 and never looked back.

My scouting report on each player is as follows:


Georgetown fans are going to love what this kid brings next season. He is the complete player who has few flaws, if any. The first thing that I noted during warm-ups is how silky his outside shot is. His outside shots have tremendous arc and nice rotation (not as much rotation as Wallace’s shot but close). He spent most of the time during warm-ups stroking threes. One of his favorite spots to shoot the three is the corner and this was confirmed during the game. While Freeman is capable of shooting a mid-range jumper off the dribble, my sense is that he is a much better set shooter. In this way, his game contrasts with Wright’s, which is probably a good thing since they will complement one another (see more on Wright below).

Putting aside his shot, Freeman proved himself to be an excellent passer, as he frequently found his teammates while on the perimeter. He also occasionally drove to the hoop and dished to his teammates.

He moves very well without the ball, as he was the recipient on several occasions of backdoor passes and other passes coming off cuts and screens.

He is an excellent foul shooter. I do not believe he missed any of his attempts. In fact, one of my favorite moments during the game was a sequence when Freeman was fouled. As he stepped to the line, the DeMatha coach pulled all of his players off the free throw line for BOTH foul shots and effectively used the time while Freeman was shooting to have an unofficial timeout conference with his four starters while Freeman shot his two free throws. I have only seen this maybe once or twice before and thought it was a supreme show of confidence in Freeman’s free throw ability. Of course, Freeman nailed both.

Besides Wright, St. John’s had zero talent, so it was difficult to tell how effective Freeman will be on defense. But given how complete the rest of his game is, my guess is there is little reason for concern.

In fact, as good as Freeman was, I got the sense that he held back a bit tonight. Not because he is lazy or something, but because it wasn’t necessary for him to exert maximum effort given how comfortable DeMatha’s lead was throughout. He calibrated his performance to the circumstances. If this is true, it’s sick to even think about what he may be capable of if he is required to take it up a notch.


The two adjectives I would use to describe Chris Wright’s game are explosive and quick. His speed is going to blow you away. On offense, he is most effective while penetrating and slashing to the hoop. He has a good mid-range jumper coming off the dribble from the top of the key and looks even better when he slashes and shakes and bakes his way to the hoop for a quick two. He is going to beat a lot of players off the dribble. Take my word for it.

He is not nearly as strong as a set shooter and he is not nearly as good a three point shooter or with the long range two as Freeman. Don’t get me wrong—he is capable of hitting a shot from a set position and he is capable of hitting a three but he doesn’t look nearly as comfortable or confident from this position, especially from three point range. His outside shot is fairly flat and lacks arc, which is probably why his three-point shooting percentage is average.

On the plus side, he drew several fouls while taking it to the rack. On the downside, he failed to convert many of his free throw attempts. I do not know if his poor free throw shooting was an aberration. What I can say is that his free throw form looked fairly good but this is something to watch out for next season.

His defensive intensity was unparalleled amongst those on the court. He was up on his man all night while maintaining an excellent crouch position, and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player move as fast down the court to get back on defense. I have seen too many squads simply beat us down the court this season in transition. Take my word for it—our transition defense will be much improved when Wright is on the floor.

Wright’s game seems to be the perfect complement to Freeman’s and vice-versa. They have the potential to be one of the most dynamic duos in the NCAA.

Both have high basketballs IQs although I would say Freeman’s is just a tad higher at this point.

Other Notes
(1) The camaraderie between Freeman and Wright, which was recently reported by the Washington Post, was evident tonight. About thirty minutes before the tip, Freeman and Wright sat at center court chatting and stretching together for about five minutes while their teammates warmed up at respective ends of the court. This comfort level was nice to see and bodes well for next year. I do not anticipate any ego issues between them.
(2) While the Freeman-Wright tandem is going to be a tremendous asset to the team, I couldn’t help but think that the biggest loser with their arrival is going to be Jeremiah Rivers. Unless a member of the WWFS quartet (Wallace-Wright-Freeman-Sapp) gets injured or is in serious foul trouble, I just don’t see how he gets much playing time next year and even perhaps once Wallace graduates.
(3) I am pleased to report that Coach Thompson (i.e., JTIII) made more than an appearance and was in the house for about 3/4 of the game.

Storming The Court

At the end of the Syracuse game I was bitter. I hated that the Hoyas didn't perform well, and I hated that I had to watch the Orange's fans storm the court (see below).

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how inappropriate the scene from the Carrier Dome really was. I have heard several people discuss court-storming etiquette over the course of the season. Well before the Syracuse game I caught a discussion on ESPN radio's GameNight concerning a game between Kentucky and Florida. Kentucky really needed to beat Florida (who was the number one team in the land at the time). On Kentucky fan sites people were posting messages about their plans to storm the hardwood if the Wildcats pulled off the upset. The ESPN personality who was hosting the show that night (I can't recall who it was) was dismayed. His point was that if you're Kentucky, one of the proudest programs in all of NCAA basketball history, you simply do not storm the court. Period. It cheapens your program. You should leave that to the other programs that don't have all those national championship banners.

I generally agree. Not every big win requires fans to storm the court. If you're Kentucky, UCLA, North Carolina, or Duke I can't imagine a situation where a court-storming is called for. For most other major programs, I don't think that fans should storm the court unless you beat a number 1 and you're not really a contender. If you're a small time program and you beat a top-10 team in a classic David vs. Goliath show down, then storm away. Otherwise, forget about it.

Syracuse won the National Championship in 2003. They won the Big East tournament just last year. Are you trying to tell me that their program is so hard up that beating the number 10 team in the land justifies bedlam? I don't think so.

Luckily, I'm not the only one who feels this way. Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy of's Page 2, wrote about this very subject on his blog. After watching the scene following the GU-Cuse game he had this to say:

In case you missed it, the Syracuse fans charged the court after toppling Georgetown on Monday night. The NCAA needs to pass a new rule: Students are only allowed to charge the court if their team (A) just won a tournament, (B) upset the No. 1 team in the nation, (C) advanced to the Final Four, or (D) beat Duke and made Coach K nearly cry during the game to the point that he looked like a quivering ninny. Under no other scenario is court-charging acceptable -- if it happens under any other circumstance, you forfeit the game. Case closed.

There you have it. The Sports Guy has spoken. No more court storming. Capiche?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Remembering Happier Times

While they are belated, here are the highlights of the Hoyas' victory over Pitt. It seems like so long ago.

How come I can never find Hoya clips on YouTube in a timely fashion? As of the time that I posted this piece there are no less than 15 YouTube videos showing Syracuse's fans storming the court after last night's game.

It's so unfair.

Hoyas Lose to Syracuse

I can't say I'm that upset that we lost. I don't think that we should ever settle for failure, but if we were going to lose a game, this seemed like the one. We talked about it yesterday. We were coming off a big win, going on the road with little rest, and walking into a building with 30,000 screaming Orange fans on Senior Night for a team that still needed a big win to solidify their tournament resume. It was an uphill battle.

That being said, I'm very upset with the way we lost. I thought an "L" was a possibility, but I expected it to be a close game. It wasn't. The ‘Cuse killed the Hoyas. That's not the way a contender should perform. This is the third or fourth game in a row where Georgetown offensive performance has been relatively lackluster. The Hoyas' shot a horrendous 29.8% from the field (17 for 57). This was also the third time in four games where Roy Hibbert was a complete non-factor offensively (He scored 6 points—he scored a similarly miniscule 7 and 4 points against Cinci and Nova respectively). But the real difference in this game was poor defense. This was only the third time that Georgetown has let an opponent score 70 or more points this season. And it's the first time that Georgetown has let an opponent score that many points in 25 games! The previous two incidents were Georgetown's 86-70 win over Vandy and the 62-75 debacle involving ODU.

The question becomes how will the Hoyas respond? A lot of programs hit a wall this time of year. Will Georgetown take this loss, learn from it, and then move on as a stronger team? Or is this the beginning of a slide back into mediocrity? Time will surely tell.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Hoyas Are Number 9 in the AP Poll

Apparently, I more closely resemble a coach than those hacks that vote on the ESPN/USA Today poll. In today's AP Coaches poll the Hoyas are ranked number 9. Unlike the ESPN/USA Today poll, the coaches poll ranks Georgetown above Nevada. Just like I said they should be in my earlier post.

Georgetown Cracks The Top 10

In today's ESPN/USA Today poll the Hoyas are the number 10 team in the nation. I had hoped that our win over Pitt would push us past Nevada to the number 9 spot, but such is life. The Wolf Pack only have two losses thanks to their extremely easy conference schedule. If Pitt had been ranked a few spots higher, or if we had played a better game, maybe it would have been enough. Instead, the Hoyas and the Panthers merely flip-flopped; Pitt is now ranked 12.

Also, and in my mind more interestingly, the Hoyas are now projected as a number 2 seed in Joe Lunardi's Bracketology. Lunardi will be doing daily updates to his brackets for from now until Selection Sunday. Tonight's game against Syracuse will go a long way in helping us to solidify that position. That being said, I'm pretty nervous about tonight's game. It's always hard to play on the road on such a quick turnaround. And the Hoyas have never played well at the Carrier Dome. Throw in the fact that this would be a major win for the Orange and their quest for an NCAA birth (some might call it a must win) and this game has all the markers of a major let down.

Let's hope that the team's desire to set a school record by winning 12 straight Big East games is enough to get them up for this game.

Jump On The Bandwagon

The Hoyas' bandwagon is starting to get pretty crowded. Don't look now, but Georgetown is starting to become a trendy pick to win it all. Exhibit A is Corey McCartney's Fast Break column on He names Georgetown and Kansas as two teams that are peaking at the right time and look poised to make a run at the national championship.

Outside the constant debate of who should be the NCAA tourney's No. 1 seeds are two teams almost lost in the shuffle but are proving to be very real threats to win it all: Georgetown and Kansas. The Hoyas -- winners of a school-record tying 11 in a row behind arguably the nation's best frontcourt in Roy Hibbert (who leads the nation in effective field goal percentage (69.7) and Jeff Green -- weren't exactly perfect in beating Pitt (G'town committed 14 turnovers, was outrebounded 33-29 and attempted 20 fewer shots) but they still won to assume sole possession of first place in the Big East. It helps that the Hoyas are so efficient: They're second in the nation in field goal percentage (52.2 percent) and fourth in points per possession (1.14). That's what makes them so dangerous; that even when they're not at their best, they can still beat a tope team.

At a time like this, I'm reminded of Pat Ewing, Jr.'s comments at the beginning of the season. He told several members of the press that he thought Georgetown would be a serious contender for the national title. After the loss to ODU his prognostication sounded pretty foolish. I guess PE2 knew what he was talking about after all.

Just Like Old Times is sporting a column by Mark Schlabach discussing the Hoyas. The gist of the article is that the Blue and Gray is starting to recapute a lot of the spirit from its glory days. Just like in the days of yore, the Hoyas come at you with dominating big men, suffocating defense, and methodical patience and composure.

Schlabach credits a lot of Georgetown's success on Jeff Green. Hopping on the Jeff-Green bandwagon, Schlabach notes:

Every other Big East team is chasing the Hoyas with a week left in the regular season because Thompson III has a player who also would have excelled on any of his father's teams. Forward Jeff Green, a 6-foot-9 junior from Hyattsville, Md., is a throw-back player, who seemingly doesn't do anything exceptionally well and yet does everything for Georgetown.

Going into Saturday's game, Green didn't rank among the Big East's top 15 scorers. He isn't among the league leaders in rebounds, assists or steals. But when the conference hands out its hardware in a couple of weeks, Green should be the Big East player of the year. There isn't a more valuable or versatile player in the college basketball's biggest league.

As more and more people pile accolades onto Jeff, the chances of him staying for his senior year get smaller and smaller. Here's to hoping that Georgetown makes a great run in the tournament this year. Despite the stellar guards we'll be getting next year, this might be our best shot.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Congratulations to both Austin Freeman and Chris Wright for making the 2007 McDonald's All-American Team. This is the first time in recent history that Georgetown has had two in the game, although last year, DeJaun Summers was robbed, as he should have joined Macklin in the game. The Big East and the ACC both had 5 in the game. Duke has 3 and Syracuse has 2. Those are the only other schools with more than 1 recruit in the game. Villanova had 1, rounding out the Big East representatives.

Can you imagine this under Clipboard Craig?

Hoyas Fans Sleep Out For Tickets
Got an e-mail last night from Local Poll voter Robert Lintott who, though he is decidedly not a Georgetown fan, recognizes a Bog story when he sees one. Turns out Robert is friends with Local Poll voter Paul Campbell, who is, in fact, a Georgetown fan and who was in the process of sleeping outside McDonough Gymnasium for student tickets to the Big East Tournament, which were to be distributed at 10 this morning . . . . There were about 65 students, and a sign that said Thompson Town, and tents, and intermittent pizza delivery, and a handful of students who were..."I'm not sure the euphemism I want to use...'enjoying the college experience,' so to speak," Paul told me, although he assured me that anyone who might have enjoyed an adult beverage was strictly of legal drinking age. . . . And the highlight came at 9 this morning, when John Thompson III arrived for work. He asked the students if they were camping out for Pitt tickets. They explained that they were waiting for Big East tourney tix. "Are we in that yet?" he asked. Talk about staying on message.

Hoya Freakin' Saxa

Okay, so it wasn't our best performance of the year. It maybe wasn't even a very good performance. But Georgetown found a way to win. Jeff Green put the team on his shoulders and carried them across the fininsh line. The energy in the Verizon Center was something I haven't experienced since the Duke game last year. It was LOUD in that place. We still have two more games before we take stock and get ready for the Big East Tourney, but this is clearly a national title contender we have on our hands here. I think we will be a contender again next year -- but unfortunately without Jeff, if he keeps playing like this.

Here is just some of the coverage:

Hoyas seem primed for title run
Georgetown is more than capable of winning the national championship. Not just because of the Hoyas' balanced offense, in which all five starters score at least 9 points a game and the team connects on 52.3 percent of field goal attempts, second best in the country. But also because of Georgetown's underrated defense. In a 63-51 victory over Pittsburgh, the Hoyas held an opponent to under 60 points for the 20th time this season.

Alone in first
Perhaps the ultimate measure of a team's greatness is whether it can show up with less than its best stuff against an elite opponent and still succeed. No. 12 Georgetown did exactly that yesterday against 10th-ranked Pittsburgh, overcoming a turnover-ridden first half and an atrocious performance on the boards to clip the Panthers 61-53 and claim sole possession of the Big East's top slot.

For Hoyas, an ugly win never looked so good
The long rebound was their game-long curse, eased only because of the rim-clanging efforts of the Panthers' perimeter shooters. "That just can't happen," Thompson said of the Panthers' offensive rebounding. But it did happen. And it happened with the Hoyas in a funk much of the game. And yet the Hoyas persevered, which possibly bodes well for them next month. Finding a way to win, when your best stuff is not at your disposal, will be the challenge before all the nation's leading teams next month.

Georgetown's Eleven
As 12th-ranked Georgetown has marched its way through the Big East, cutting down one opponent after another, its players have managed to stay even-keeled, almost businesslike. But as the final buzzer sounded on the Hoyas' 61-53 victory over No. 10 Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon, the facade cracked -- slightly. Jessie Sapp tossed the ball high into the air and then ran over to hug Jeff Green. Patrick Ewing Jr. stalked down the court, pulling at his jersey to emphasize the "Georgetown" written across the front. All the while, the 20,038 fans inside Verizon Center screamed and danced, celebrating the Hoyas' 11th straight victory, one that moved them a step closer to winning the Big East's regular season title.

The Grass Gets Greener
John Thompson III envisions Jeff Green posting up Syracuse on Monday night, backing his defender down, scoring a bucket from in close that will help clinch at least a share of the Big East championship and a record 12th straight win -- something even Pops never did at Georgetown. JT III's dilemma is that can envision Green, too. Going No. 10 to the Chicago Bulls in June.

Georgetown Tops Pitt and Grabs First Place in the Big East
But the 7-foot Gray moved well during warm-ups and entered the game with 14 minutes 55 seconds left in the first half, with both ankles heavily taped. He approached Hibbert, a fellow all-American contender. “As soon as he came out on the court, he was like, ‘I missed you, Big Roy,’ and I was like, ‘I missed you, too,’ ” Hibbert said. “It was a battle. I can’t wait to play against him again. But it turned out to be Georgetown versus Pittsburgh, and not Roy Hibbert versus Aaron Gray.”

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gray Update

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported today that Aaron Gray's ankle is not responding well to treatement and he is unlikely to play in tomorrow's game against the Hoyas.

In my opinion this would be a disappointment. I am really interested to see who is the better team right now. If Gray doesn't play you would have to put an asterisk beside any win Georgetown may walk away with.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No Gray?

This may not be the most reputable source in the world, but bookies tend to be good at gathering intel. The word is that Gray won't even practice until tomorrow and Dixon is worried that he may not play. This could just be Coach Dixon playing some mind games, but who knows.

Pitt's Gray may not play vs. Hoyas
Thu, Feb 22, 2007
By staff

Pittsburgh Panthers may not have their most important player for the biggest game of their Big East schedule.

Aaron Gray, who leads the team in points, rebounds and blocks, is considered day-to-day because of sprained right ankle suffered in action against the Washington Huskies on Saturday. The injured ankle prevented Gray from playing Monday against the Seton Hall Pirates. Pitt won 71-68, but failed to cover the 7-point spread.

The Pathers play the
Georgetown Hoyas this Saturday in a battle for first place in the Big East. Oddsmakers have not yet released a line for the game.

"The swelling didn't go down that much," Panthers coach Jamie Dixon told ESPN's Andy Katz on Tuesday. "They were still telling me Sunday he (Gray) would play Monday but I wasn't so sure. I am worried about Saturday."

Gray has rested the ankle this week, but he is expected to try to practice on Friday. The game against Seton Hall was the first Gray missed in his two years as Pitt's starting center. The Wooden Award candidate is averaging 14.5 points and 10 rebounds in 27 games this season.

Terrible News Strikes the Basketball World and Celtic Family

While this blog is normally reserved for Georgetown basketball related news and commentary, I must interrupt to report an incredibly sad development for the basketball world.

Several media outlets are just beginning to report that former longtime Celtic Dennis Johnson, aka known as "DJ," died suddently this afternoon at the age of 52 after falling ill in Austin, Texas.

For those of you who do not know, DJ was an integral piece of the Celtic 1984 and 1986 championship teams. He also won a championship with the Seattle Supersonics in 1979.

He is probably most famously known as being the recipient of Larry Bird's stolen inbounds pass from Isiah Thomas during the closing moments of game 5 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, which DJ converted into a layup to put Boston up by a point to win the game. The play call by legendary Celtic broadcaster Johnny Most is one of the most famous of all time. See this link for more info:

This is a terrible loss for basketball and the Celtics family, especially on the heels of Red's death.

It is criminal DJ is not in the Hall of Fame and hopefully he will soon receive the posthumous recognition he so much deserves. See more info on this at

A New Day Is Donning

I've been saying for quite some time that I'd like to make the blog look a little slicker. Here is a prototype logo coutesy of my little brother...we'll call him Behemoth.

This will probably not be the final version, but things will be changing.

Davis on Sapp

Seth Davis sings the praises of Jessie Sapp in his February-22nd edition of "Hoop Thoughts" on His comments are short and sweet. He says:

Sophomore guard Jessie Sapp isn't getting a whole lot of credit for Georgetown's late-season surge, but he should.
That's it. That's all Seth has to say. In response, all I can say is that I agree.

Jeff's monster block

In a key moment during last night's game, Jeff had one of the sickest blocks of the season, which turned out to be a pivotal play since it resulted in a Georgetown fast break bucket, which put us by 10 as opposed to 6 had Cincinnati converted.

If anyone is able to find a clip of it, I would highly suggest posting it.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Dukie V Loves Georgetown?

Our progression into the apocalypse continues. For the second week in a row Dick Vitale has heaped accolades upon the Hoyas in his Weekly Awards on

This time it is JTIII who is the target of Dick's affections.


John Thompson III is doing a super job with the Hoyas. Georgetown won a pair of Big East games, beating West Virginia and Villanova, the latter coming on the road. This Hoyas squad is in contention to win the Big East title and the current nine-game win streak is impressive.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sapp's Shot

I think Diamond Mike already started a similar post, but I'm a glory hound, so I'll plow ahead.

Georgetown beat Nova by 3. Obviously, that's not a large margin. And if you think about it, Jessie Sapp's amazing shot at the end of the first half was the reason we won. As time expired at the end of the first period Jessie launched a shot from well beydon half court. Nothing but net. The shot capped a 9-0 run, saving the Hoyas from an early Nova rout and bringing them within two at the break. It also ended up being the different in the game.

Enjoy living the moment over and over again.

Update: I just went to the draft post that Diamond Mike was putting together. His video clip was better than the one I found. So, not only will I steal his glory by posting on this topic first, I'll actually steal his video clip for my post too. Enjoy.

Wright and Freeman Profiled in the Post

These guys are going to be sick. As much as we are all enjoying this season, next season will be something special. BTW: Wright is now favored to win player of the year honors, even though Freeman is more highly touted. Wright's scoring is so unprecedented it would be hard to deny him, but he will have a harder path to the McDonald's game because he had mono last summer during the sneaker camps when Freeman lit it up.

Rivals on the Court Turn a Friendship Into a Partnership

Their commitment to getting better has been evident for years. Wright was one of the area's first high schoolers to begin working with a personal trainer. While it often is difficult to get basketball players to bulk up, Wright quickly added 22 pounds of muscle and plenty of explosiveness to his frame by lifting weights and eating more often, including countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. "He went from being a pretty good leaper to dunking the heck out of the ball," said Alan Stein, who co-owns Elite Athlete Training Systems and worked with Wright the past three years. " Chris set it off for me in the area. He was like a walking billboard." While Wright's success has been easy to see in the scorebook -- not even Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten is certain of another local player to top 2,000 points in his high school career -- Freeman often is required to carry less of the load for DeMatha. When the time comes, however, Freeman also can be the go-to player; he averaged 29 points in two victories over Wright and St. John's.

Friday, February 16, 2007

What could have been....

As many of you know, I was anxiously awaiting an announcement that Josh Thornton would transfer to open up room for Scottie Reynolds in blue & gray. Well, Thornton did eventually tranfer, but not until Reynolds committed to Jay Wright's Villanova program. Now, we have two open scholarships and a guard we really could have used was turned away. In any event, Scottie also shared his disappointment with how this turned out with the Washington Times. (BTW: We now have confirmation that Egerson did not leave for academic reasons. Rather, he is now a father and wanted to be in Delaware with mother and child. Best of luck to him.)

Reynolds shining for new family

Many expected that start to come at Georgetown. Reynolds' AAU teammate and "super-close friend" Vernon Macklin had committed to Georgetown, and the Hoyas had one area of weakness -- its thin backcourt -- an otherwise loaded squad. There was just one problem: Georgetown didn't have a scholarship available. John Thompson III and his staff already had promised places to high school juniors Austin Freeman (DeMatha) and Chris Wright (St. John's). And Josh Thornton and Marc Egerson, two players who left Georgetown this season, were still taking up slots. So Thompson and the Hoyas told a McDonald's All-American at a needed position there was no room. "It just didn't work out," said Reynolds, a grimace returning to his face. "I wouldn't sit here and say that I cried that I couldn't go there, but it was a little tough to swallow at first. Situations happen where things don't work out the way you want, and you've just got to live with it. Coach Thompson told me it wasn't because I wasn't good enough. The timing just wasn't right. They were out of spots. It would have been a good situation if it had worked out because I've played with Vernon and Chris [Wright] and against Jeremiah [Rivers], so I knew all those guys."

SI.Com's Power Rankings

The Hoyas have burst into Luke Winn's Power Rankings as the number 9 team in the land. As some may remember, Mr. Winn was fairly high on the Hoyas at the beginning of the season. He even came down to DC to watch them play, believing they were the cream of the Big East crop. Unfortunately, the game he came to see was the fiasco against ODU at McDonough.

Luke is impressed by how far the Hoyas have come.

Georgetown Hoyas (19-5)
Wow. This is really not the same Hoyas team I saw lose to Old Dominion at home in November. Not even close. West Virginia coach John Beilein, considered the college game's top tactician, called Georgetown's 71-53 win over his team "a clinic." "I can't wait to watch the film and learn what they're doing, because they're terrific," Beilein told the Washington Times. During their eight-game Big East winning streak the Hoyas' offense has become a well-oiled machine, surging to No. 1 in the nation in Ken Pomeroy's efficiency rankings. Their top six players in minutes all have personal efficiency ratings of 110 or higher (including Roy Hibbert's absurd 131.1), and as a team they're scoring 1.267 points per possession. Next three: 2/17 at Villanova, 2/21 at Cincinnati, 2/24 vs. Pittsburgh.

...Or Have You Any Money To Bet...

The Van Buren Boys do not condone betting on the Hoyas. We are here for the pure love of the Blue and Gray. We rarely even look at the line. We never place a wager. But...

For those of you who are interested in the financial side of things, this article is very interesting. Its basic premise is that you could have made a lot of money on the Hoyas during their recent eight game run. Even though the bookmakers have started to give Georgetown some love, it hasn't been enough. They have covered the spread in every single game in their winning streak with the exception of Cincinnati--and that was a push.

All discussion of betting aside, you have to love the way the betting enthusiasts describe the Hoyas' recent performance.

Is it too late to hop on the Georgetown betting train?
By Josh Hansen

As a set of nasty winter storms battered the eastern seaboard this past week, another powerful force was quietly gaining strength a little farther south in Washington D.C.

Those who saw it were lucky. Others have only recently been swept up by the
Georgetown Hoyas and their massive tear through the Big East like a tornado through a trailer park.

Except the Big East conference is no trailer park. It’s the mecca of college basketball.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Love For The Hoyas

Loyal reader J.B.W. forwarded me a couple of more articles showering accolades upon our Hoyas.

What's Jonah Keri Learned From Rivalry Week

The heirs to Patrick, Dikembe and Zo. That would be Georgetown's nasty frontcourt duo of Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green. After a sluggish start to the season, when Georgetown was searching to replace last year's starting guards, the Hoyas have become experts at running John Thompson III's modified Princeton offense. So much so that Georgetown tops all other D-I teams in Ken Pomeroy's adjusted offensive efficiency rating. The Hoyas crushed No. 12 Marquette by 18 on Saturday in a game that looked like a possible trap. Marquette's dynamic three-guard attack figured to give the bigger Hoyas fits; instead, Georgetown made the Eagles adjust, feeding Hibbert and Green repeatedly and squeezing 47 points out of the twin towers. The Hoyas have no depth, and guard play often rules in March -- but teams aren't going to want their heads dunked on either. There's sure to be some intrigue in D.C.

KenPom Really Loves G-Town

I’m actually pretty convinced that people will understand the greatness of the Hoya offense at some point. Perhaps because we have Jonah Keri already on the case. And I believe Roy Hibbert will eventually get his due. For fun, compare his tempo-free line to that of one Greg Oden.
I actually figured the G-Men for having some offensive troubles against WVU, what with the Mountaineers ability to force turnovers and that being the best chance a team has against Georgetown. Force lots and lots of turnovers. Their only three games below 1 PPP, their TO% was north of 25.
The Mountaineers didn’t do bad, benefiting from 16 in a 57 possession game, but it didn’t matter. Georgetown obliterated the point per possession barrier for the ninth consecutive game by hanging 71 on the Mounties, in part by outrebounding WVU 12-9 on its own end. That and shooting 80+ eFG% in the first half. But these kinds of things are becoming routine.
The 24th will be a great test, but whether or not they run the table (and they almost surely won’t) this team is certainly worthy of Final Four consideration.

Hoyas are Media Darlings

The recent winning streak has led to a number of lauditory articles on John Thompson III and the Hoyas. Although this press is warranted and enjoyable, there is still a long way to go before anyone can consider this season a success. I first want Nova's scalp and then there is the matter of Pitt ... and Cuse .... and UConnvict. The boys still have some work to do. But here are the articles.

Princeton Offense, NBA Talent

When people talk about the Princeton offense, they're usually referring to the style of attack run by Pete Carril and Bill Carmody for many years at that school. The Tigers knew they couldn't attract the kind of highflying stars common at basketball factories like North Carolina and Kentucky. Instead, Carril devised a precision motion offense, one that encourages constant cutting and screening, backdoor passes, and even big men taking open three-pointers. Schools such as Air Force have used talent that's a half-notch better and parlayed a variant of the Princeton offense into major success. But the Hoyas have taken the next step. A high-profile basketball program playing in the elite Big East conference, Georgetown has implemented the Princeton offense, using an array of talented players, some of whom will surely play, maybe even star, in the NBA. And while other schools have tweaked the Princeton offense to include their own wrinkles, the Hoyas have stayed true to the original formula. That's no surprise given that their coach, John Thompson III, succeeded Carril and Carmody as the Tigers' head man before coming to D.C. to carry on his father's legacy.

At 100, Georgetown Looking Strong Thanks to JTIII

More discouraging to followers of the program, the University itself did not appear to care about the slow demise of a team that had long been part of the University’s identity. Then-Athletic Director Joe Lang issued a statement defending Esherick, saying that it was an unreasonable expectation that the team make the NCAA Tournament every year. The outcry from alumni and fans alike was audible. And despite Lang and Esherick’s defiance, as the 2003-04 season ended, the changes began. The Hoyas dropped their final nine games, even losing to a St. John’s team that had suspended six scholarship players for the season after a scandal with a prostitute, and an embattled Esherick was finally fired. When the coaching search began, it was only natural that John Thompson III’s name was included among the candidates. At the time, however, he did not enjoy the almost universal approval from the Hoya fan base he does today. On the popular Hoya Talk online bulletin board at, posters called for Fran Dunphy, Johnny Dawkins or another Duke Assistant du Jour. Some suggested it was best to break from the past and begin a new tradition, feeling that continuing with another member of the Thompson family would mean clinging to the same, tired standard that had led the program to its current state. The doubts lessened over the course of JTIII’s first year, as he guided Georgetown to a win at Pittsburgh in his Big East debut and later claimed a last-second win over Notre Dame (close games had been the Hoyas’ bane during the Esherick days). All of the doubts were silenced on Jan. 21, 2006 — the day Georgetown beat No. 1 Duke 87-84 in front of a sold-out Verizon Center. The proverbial electricity displayed by fans at that game could have powered Manhattan — for a decade. The best example of that emotion came as time expired and the gray-clad fans swept onto the floor. Even Ted Leonsis, as in Washington Capitals owner / AOL mogul Ted Leonsis, sprung from his courtside seat and into the celebration, nearly mauling a wheel-chair bound Hoya fan in the process.

KenPom Loves the Hoyas

KenPom's offensive ratings are therefore based on shooting percentages, turnovers, rebounds and free throws. And, as noted above, this year's Georgetown team has the best offensive rating since he began keeping track. The previous best? The 2005 North Carolina national championship team. "Georgetown is screwed by the fact that they play at such a slow pace, so no one really appreciates what they do offensively," he told me. "They don't score as much as North Carolina, they can't, because they have 20 possessions less than North Carolina. When people look at offensive effectiveness, they look at how many points you score a game. Carolina scores 88 [2nd in the country], Georgetown scores 69 [160th]. Even now, now that the Hoyas are rolling, people get sucked in and think they're a defensive team, but considering the number of possessions they get, their offense is incredible.... "I think [people] misunderstand the team, let's put it that way. I mean, if you see them play, you understand that their offense is pretty awesome, but people that don't see them play game in and game out, they think they're like Princeton or Northwestern, they get them confused with an ordinary low-scoring team. Obviously that's not the case. Their offense is unstoppable."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

John Beilein on Georgetown

We all know that the Hoyas destroyed West Virginia last night. The game was no where near as close as the 18-point difference in scores. There was some bad blood during the game between the fans and Mountaineer's coach, John Beilein. Following a hard foul on J-Wall, Pat Ewing bumped into the offending WVA player. That sent Beilein onto the floor to grab Ewing. I have to admit that I was one of the fans screaming for Beilein's objection. Coaches should never touch an opposing player. Ever. But after seeing the replay of Pat's brazen and low-class move, I can understand Beilein's anger.

Still, it is great to see that despite that incident Beilein had no problem praising Georgetown. After the game he said:

That was one impressive Georgetown team. It was a clinic. We tried hard, but we were certainly not on their level tonight.
And when discussing Georgetown's intense defense, which switched on every screen the Moutaineer's set, he stated:

I can't wait to watch the film and learn, because they're terrific.
That's pretty high accolades. In light of these comments, and Louisville coach Rick Pitino's comments, it would seem that praising the Hoyas is the thing to do if you you're a Big East coach.

Hell Hath Frozen Over

This actually came out before Georgetown's thumpin' of the Mountaineers last night, but I just caught it. Dick "Dukie" Vitale named Georgetown team of the week in his Weekly Awards.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: Georgetown

John Thompson III is doing a super job with the Hoyas. Georgetown won at Louisville (73-65) on the night the Cardinals named the court after legendary coach Danny Crum. Then the Hoyas blew out Marquette, 76-58. Watch out for this Georgetown team as the duo of Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green are dynamic.

When an ACC apologist like Vitale starts singing your praises you know that you must be playing some impressive basketball.

Colbert on Douglas Feith

Colbert's "The Word" last night was "inappropriate," the conclusion the Pentagon reached on Doug Feith's alleged manipulation of intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq war. Quote: "If you do something illegal, you can go to jail. If you do something 'inapporpriate' you can go teach at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University." This, of course, has been a very controversial appointment. But Feith is an alum and provides a good counterbalance to the generally left-leaning facutly. I think his appointment makes sense, but I'm not sure press like this is a good thing.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Week 15 Rankings

The Hoyas are 14 and 16 in the AP Coaches and ESPN/USA Today polls, respective.

Tonight's opponents, the Moutaineers, are ranked 23 and 22.

100 Year Banquet

I thought our readers might enjoy some of the details about the 100 year celebration that have been posted on various message boards. This write-up I particularly enjoyed:

Paul Tagliabue received an award for leadership that almost brought the former NFL commissioner to tears. The former Hoya team captain started off a general theme for the evening. He used a famous quote from former U.S. President John F. Kennedy by telling us not to ask what can Georgetown do for us alumni, but to ask what can we do for Georgetown. He complimented GU President Jack DeGioia and former coach John Thompson, the "Father" on their great vision and leadership. President DeGioia would then make a memorable speech about the history and the future of Georgetown basketball. Next, President DeGioia would surprise the crowd and induct Patrick Ewing, the Hoya Player of the Century, into the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame. Patrick is the first men's basketball player to be inducted since Eric "Sleepy" Floyd. Patrick could not be inducted a year ago since his NBA coaching schedule made it impossible for him to come to the induction ceremony. Patrick was very emotional, thanking coach John Thompson, "the Father," for supporting him and helping him through all of the media attention when he entered college as a shy freshman many years ago. As a member of Generation Ewing it was truly an event to see Patrick's induction.
. . . .

The elder Thompson gave a truly inspiring talk. As those of us who have attended many men's basketball banquets know, he can speak well into the evening. He came straight to the point this evening. He told his family how much he loved them. He thanked everyone who worked with him at Georgetown over the years, especially Frank Rienzo, and former GU President Tim Healey, "the Big Irishman." He told his former players how he loved them as part of his family also. The coach joked about how he had been abusive to his players when they played for him. He asked them to understand that he was only doing what he thought was necessary to bring out the best in them as student-athletes. Coach Thompson has always been proud of the accomplishments of his former players not for basketball, but for what they had done for society and their communities: truly the mission of a Jesuit education. He continued the theme of the commissioner in telling his players that his one regret was that he never emphasized enough that they all needed to give back to Georgetown. There was passion in his voice as he stated that for those that could not give financially, they could also give time or service depending on their situation. He set the tone for the future saying that the University should serve as a power base for them. As they would give and help strengthen the University it would pay dividends back to them many times. Indeed he was proud of the education that they had received. He thanked President DeGioia for his friendship, and thanked former President Tim Healey, who is no longer with us, for "having his back"over time. He reminisced about calling former drug lord Rayful Edmond III into his office to tell him to stay away from his players. . . . He finished imploring the crowd that we needed to build an arena and improve our athletic facilities soon. He mentioned that we could not continue much longer in the prehistoric McDonough Arena. Moreover, he did not want his son to struggle with the same facility that he did for all of those years. It is truly an issue that our University must address.

A Good Head On His Shoulders

The New York Times's report on the game between Georgetown and Marquette contains an interesting nugget about Roy Hibbert. Unable to sleep on Friday night, Hibbert did what every die-hard Hoya should do...he watched a replay on a Hoyas's game from the mid-80s.

Hoyas center Roy Hibbert said he was nervous Friday night, because he did not want to disappoint the alumni at the Verizon Center on Saturday. Hibbert, unable to sleep, watched a replay of a 1985 game between Georgetown and St. John’s at Madison Square Garden.

“I look back at those games like, Wow, I get to put on a jersey and play and represent Georgetown,” Hibbert said.

Hibbert, a 7-foot-2 junior, said he did not fall asleep until nearly 4 a.m., but he was not sluggish against the Golden Eagles, finishing with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Now, that's a player who loves the program!

P.S. - IBP, inquiring minds are still waiting for the recap of your exclusive interview.


Any predictions/prognostications?

This game has made me nervous all year, considering how well WVU's teams are coached. Of course, so are we.

The short turn-around following Sat's thriller has made me anxious all year, but then I realized WVU also played on Sat. against UCLA. So the effect of the rapid turn-around impacts both teams.

I say Georgetown in a sqeaker, 67-64.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Well, maybe there won't be any Hoyas in space, but at least a Georgetown flag will be making the trip.

Apparently recognizing the need for some good PR, NASA is sending the space shuttle crew that will conduct the final mission on the Hubble Space Telescope to the Hoyas' home game against West Virginia next week. The astronauts will be recognized in a halftime cerememony where they will be presented with a Georgetown flag that they will take with them into outer space.

Good stuff. Read the entire article at the Hoyas' Official Site.

The Hoyas' Bandwagon Is Buidling Some Momentum

Each week the experts at put together their college basketball power rankings. These rankings list the 16 most powerful teams in the land. This week Georgetown crashes into this elite company as one of the four No. 4 seeds.


Quiet waltz through the soft part of the Big East schedule is masking the improvement in the Hoyas' play. Roy Hibbert's had two very big double-doubles in the last three outings. Hosting Marquette Saturday should turn up the volume.

I guess not every one is so high on the Hoyas, though. The lead piece on today is a pair of stories by Pat Forde and Andy Katz. Both writers participated in a one day mock that followed the exact process used by the selection committee when picking teams to participate in The Big Dance. By this process the Hoyas only ended up as a 10 seed. Now, to be fair, Katz explains that they crammed a three-day process into a single marathon determination. As a result they spent much more time considering who would make the cut and less time considering actual seeding. However, Forde's account leads me to believe that these mock selectors were not easily sold on even including Georgetown in this collection of 65 teams.

The process is every bit as fun and fascinating as I'd imagined -- and much more mentally fatiguing. By the 11th appraisal of Clemson, Alabama, Notre Dame and Georgetown, this was starting to feel like the "Clockwork Orange" scene when they pry open Malcolm McDowell's eyelids. And we hadn't even gotten to the seeding process or decided who was playing where.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

KenPom on the Hoyas

Ken Pomeroy is one the Hoyas' biggest fans. His program ranks the Hoyas #10 in the country and #1 in offensive efficiency. He had some kind words for the blue & gray this morning:

Comings and Goings in the Tempo-Free World

There’s a perfect storm brewing in the tempo-free world. UNC, one of the 10 fastest teams in the land may well have the best defense in the game, and Georgetown one of the 10 slowest, might have the best offense in the country. I’ve talked about the Tar Heels enough, but how about Georgetown? They provide a deadly combination of shooting (ranking 3rd) and offensive rebounding (10th). It’s Princeton on steroids. Georgetown’s offensive rebounding won’t get the pub it deserves (except for the Friday a while back where they outrebounded Seton Hall 17-7 on the Hoyas’ offensive end.) because they don’t miss many shots and don’t take as many as most teams. Offensive rebounding opportunities are probably rarer for Georgetown than any other team in the land, but they are a significant factor in their success. They can turn the ball over regularly (and do!) and still pummel opponents with points.

You'll recall that Ken has also been singing Roy's praises all year--calling him the best defensive center in college basketball in an article.

Jeff & Roy Slam Pitino's Birds

Somewhere a Kentucky Colonel is smiling. Jeff and Roy were huge as the Hoyas dominated L-ville. The score, I think, really does not communicate how well Georgetown played. Louisville played well, as they only turned the ball over one and shot well from outside. But inside, Jeff and Roy completed dominated. Also showing me something were Jessie Sapp, who shot well from the outside and drove the lane well, and Summers, whose threes down the stretch finished off Louisville. Great all around effort by the guys, with the noted exception of Pat Ewing in the vesper half. He needs to stay under control. Also, Rivers--once again--looked totally overmatched. But he did not turn the ball over too much. He just is a non-threat on offense.

Hoyas Keep Their Cool in Louisville

"We could play them 10 times and they'd win nine," said Pitino, whose team shot 33.3 percent and committed just one turnover. "We had to play almost a perfect game to beat them. . . . Their big guys being 16 for 20, they're almost impossible to stop because of their size. We did some good things, but we just could not defend them."

Hoyas' big men turn in big job

"To be perfectly honest, they were a much better basketball team than us," Pitino said. "We could play them 10 times, and they'd probably win nine. That's a very, very good team. The rankings are a little skewed. There are not 20 teams in the country better than Georgetown. They are a top seven or eight team in the country, no question."

Bonus Video

Hoyas Can Do It All

Big Roy Can Dunk

Monday, February 05, 2007

Georgetown Hoyas Crack the Top 25

The ESPN/USA Today poll for the week of February 5th just came out. After a long absence, the Hoyas return to the Top 25 as the No. 23 team in the land.

UPDATE: The AP poll is out. The Hoyas are No. 22 there.

A Lot of Love From Jay Bilas

In today's edition of's "The Weekly Watch" Jay Bilas gives the Hoyas a lot of love. In short, he says Georgetown has a shot at making a run at the national championship. I don't know if I agree with Jay, but I would sure love to.

At this time last year, was anyone touting Florida as a national championship favorite? The Gators were ranked 11th when the tournament began, and all of the things we are currently saying about Kansas and some of the other teams out there, we were saying about Florida: inconsistent, inexperienced, no go-to guy, and all the rest.

UConn was the best team last year, but didn't win. This year, the best teams are Florida and North Carolina, and one of them may not win, either. One of the teams that could find its way to Atlanta, and is quietly getting better, is Georgetown. The Hoyas have improved steadily over the course of the season and have the chops to be really tough in March.

Before I decide if the Hoyas can make a deep run in the Tournament, I first want to see how they repond against some of the more talented teams in the Big East. This week's games should give us a good opportunity to gain some perspective on how good the Hoyas really are.

Friday, February 02, 2007


The Rivers-haters with the seats behind me have been trying to promote a new cheer at the games. Any times DaJuan Summers does anything they begin chanting: "DA...JUAN...DA...JUAN...DA...JUAN...." It hasn't caught on yet, but I think it will. Though I can't condone these fan's use of racial epithets, profanity, or nasally-sounding voices, I do agree with their accolades for Summers. He has been fantastic thus far. And we aren't the only ones to think so.

In Seth Davis's "Hoops Thoughts" column on he offers this thought:
If Georgetown could get 6-8 freshman forward DaJuan Summers to have an impact
every game, the Hoyas could take a major step forward. He may be the best pure
scorer they have.
I think Seth may be right. I said early on this season that DaJuan will be the best player on the team next year. With my regrest to our trio of outstanding juniors, I'm standing by my prediction.

An Interesting Game for the Hoyas

I have to say, I was worried. With about 4 minutes left in the first half of last-night's contest against St. John's the Hoyas looked horrible. We were lethargic, we were sloppy, we were down by seven. If not for Jeff Green scoring 11 of our first 19 points it wouldn't have been that close. Then our guys started playing. Summers hit a three, Jeff made two free throws, and Wallace and Sapp each hit threes to close the half on an 11-2 run.

In the second half we were a completely different team. We shot over 70 percent. We locked down on defense. We turned that 11-2 run into a 30-4 run. The Johnnies basically gave up, and it ended as a blow out.

But the story of the game was Jeff. He finally played agressive and he finally looked good. I guess he must have felt some pressure after Roy had a career night against Cincinnati. So he went out and did the same. Jeff had a career high 24 points. But in true Jeff Green fashion he really did everything. A quick glance at the stats for the game leaders in last night's contest tells the whole story:

Georgetown St. John's
Points J. Green 24 A. Patterson 16
Rebounds J. Green 8 A. Patterson 8
Assists J. Green 4 A. Mason Jr. 4
Steals J. Green 2 E. Lawrence 3
Blocks R. Hibberts 3 A. Mason Jr. 1

On to Lousiville. This game will be our biggest challenge in quite awhile. The Cardinals are one of the hottest teams in the conference and are tied with the Hoyas for second place in the Big East. If we plan on making any real noise this season it starts with going into Lousiville and stealing one from them at home.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Ewing Jr. at MSG

In anticipation of tonight's showdown at the Garden, the Times has a piece on the Ewings Jr. & Sr. Jr. has been great this year; hopefully he keeps it up against the Johnies.

Ewing Jr. Follows Dad’s Path to Garden

He said his father never pressured him to play basketball and stressed education over sports. “He probably would have rather me not play,” Ewing Jr. said. “But watching him play, I couldn’t help but want to be just like him, good as he was.” When Patrick Ewing was finishing his N.B.A. career with Orlando in 2001-2, his son visited him on an off-day, and they played one-on-one, as they often had before. “I tried to get serious, and I ended up winning a game,” Ewing Jr. said. That was a first. “And we played another game after that,” he added. “I missed my first shot and never got the ball back. He beat me, 11-0. And then he told me, ‘That will be the first and only time you will ever beat me.’ And he won’t play me any more.” Patrick Ewing confirmed the story Saturday at the Verizon Center, where he watched from a courtside seat. “Yeah,” he said, smiling. “Once was enough.”
. . . .

Later, the intergenerational interaction continued when Thompson’s father, John Jr., spotted the younger Ewing in a dress suit in the hallway outside the locker room. The elder Thompson put his arm around the younger Ewing, pulled him toward him and put his mouth near his ear. As he spoke softly and intently, slight smiles grew on both men’s faces. Those standing nearby seemed to edge backward, away from them, in small steps. Although it was a crowded and public place, this chat seemed private, intimate and personal, like family.