The Van Buren Boys

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Tiger Saxa!

There has been a great deal of coverage about the implementation of the Princeton offense at Georgetown and about the support of the Princeton community for JTIII and what he is trying to accomplish at Georgetown.

Carril Is Yoda to Notion of Perpetual Motion

Now Carril is 76, sitting in an orange seat overlooking the court at Jadwin Gym, talking about how his once-anachronistic Princeton offense has been recast as cool. Georgetown, coached by the Carril disciple John Thompson III, reached this weekend’s Final Four with an offense borrowed from the Ivy League. Carril has not been a college coach for 11 years. But he is wearing a Georgetown cap, and people keep calling to talk about the precise pass-and-cut offense that he supposedly invented but never called the Princeton offense. “I didn’t call it anything,” he said.

Princeton paranoia

"[Carril] is such a part of my consciousness," Thompson told reporters after the overtime victory that sent the Hoyas to Atlanta and tomorrow's national semifinal game against Ohio State. "There's not too many decisions on the floor or off the floor where I don't have Coach's voice in my head. He told me how to think and see the game." And he schooled Thompson in the precise and patient Princeton offense, another hot tournament topic. That is one that Thompson has heard too much about and spends a lot of time downplaying. "I think too much is made of that," he said. "People say the Princeton offense, and what pops into people's heads are slow white guys that are gonna hold the ball, for, you know, 35, 40 seconds and then take a 3-pointer and then get a layup. "Some of the teams, the teams I played on when I was at Princeton, we did that. But for the most part, that's just a connotation, an image that comes up. When I say, 'the Princeton offense,' I just think of guys playing together, sharing the ball, talented basketball, talented, unselfish players." No one seemed happier to hear Thompson's comments than Carril. "We buried the Princeton offense, and the Georgetown offense was born," he said in a telephone interview this week. "The things he did to add to the old style, the little nuances, the way they got their shots, the way they incorporate individual things we never did at Princeton to keep the flowing, it was a remarkable job. I'm tired of hearing about the Princeton offense."

Tiger Saxa

Thompson celebrated the East Regional title by cutting down the net at the Continental Airlines Arena and then leading the rabid Hoya fans in a chant of “We Are … Georgetown.” Still, it was also very much a Princeton night. Because of the proximity, there was great support from Princeton, with former players and friends there as spectators and even media members, such as former Tiger Sean Gregory ’98, who writes about sports for Time Magazine. But most of all, there was Carril, the retired coach who sat proudly with his Georgetown hat on, who watched as a former player to whom he gave his highest compliment – “he sees it” – reached a level he never had a chance to at Princeton.“To have Coach there meant a lot,” Thompson says. “He’s a part of what we’re doing. As I’ve been saying, there aren’t too many decisions I make where I don’t have his voice in my head.”

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