Wednesday, October 31, 2007
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!
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
JOHN THOMPSON/BIG THREE INTERVIEW
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.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
|ESPN/USA Today Poll|
|1. North Carolina (10) 0-0 739|
|2. UCLA (12) 0-0 734|
|3. Memphis (8) 0-0 731|
|4. Kansas (1) 0-0 669|
|5. Georgetown 0-0 625|
|6. Louisville 0-0 620|
|7. Tennessee 0-0 598|
|8. Michigan State 0-0 503|
|9. Indiana 0-0 479|
|10. Washington State 0-0 464|
|11. Duke 0-0 390|
|12. Marquette 0-0 381|
|13. Oregon 0-0 360|
|14. Gonzaga 0-0 252|
|14. Texas A&M 0-0 252|
|16. Texas 0-0 216|
|17. Arizona 0-0 205|
|18. USC 0-0 189|
|19. Arkansas 0-0 173|
|20. Pittsburgh 0-0 160|
|21. Stanford 0-0 158|
|22. Kentucky 0-0 155|
|23. Southern Illinois 0-0 137|
|24. North Carolina State 0-0 119|
|25. Villanova 0-0 111|
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Louisville (8) 217
3. Marquette 191
4. Pittsburgh 170
5. Syracuse 153
6. Connecticut 149
7. Villanova 143
8. Providence 141
9. Notre Dame 122
10. West Virginia 112
11. DePaul 79
12. Cincinnati 62
13. Seton Hall 56
14. St. John’s 52
15. Rutgers 32
16. USF 23
This very interesting read was posted in today's Wall Street Journal law blog. I for one applaud the efforts of Profs. Dershowitz and Nesson and in particular the quote at the end of the 4th paragraph.
Poker & the Law
Alan Dershowitz and Charles Nesson have a few things in common. They’re both famed Harvard Law professors. They’re both provocative. And they both love poker.
It’s this last commonality that’s making headlines, at least in the Boston Herald (HT: Conglomerate blog). The somewhat unlikely Crimson couple are fighting for the legalization of online poker. Nesson has teamed up with some Harvard Law students to form the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society, while Dershowitz is helping defending an executive facing charges related to an offshore sports-betting Web site.
Gaming law is in vogue. Indeed, there’s a Harvard Law course taught on the subject, by visiting professor Keith Washburn. “This class will address questions like these in dealing with an industry that lies at a shadowy and uncertain gray area where law meets morality, commerce and social problems,” reads the course description. “The evils attributed to gambling are subject to widespread disagreement and the justifications for prohibiting or regulating gaming have varied across time and across particular gaming industries.”
Nesson told the Herald and says here he was “affronted” when Congress banned online poker and other types of Internet gaming last year. Said Nesson: “The idea of Internet freedom is a core notion of modern political freedom.” As for Dershowitz, he argues that because poker is game of skill it should be legal. “It’s certainly not a game of chance,” Dershowitz told the Herald. “It is ridiculous to call either poker or sports betting a game of chance.”
Nesson, who first wowed the Law Blog with his Second Life course, says that playing poker has tremendous benefits to lawyers-in-training. “It’s really the poker way of thinking that is the most deeply intriguing thing to me,” Nesson said. “The essence of poker is this business of seeing from the other person’s point of view.” He tells the Herald advice for his students: “If they want to do something useful in their outside time, they should play poker.”
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Odds to Win 2007-08 NCAA Championship (as of 10/20/07)
All point spreads/odds are provided for recreational purposes only.
Friday, October 19, 2007
High ceiling for Hoyas
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Roy Hibbert disputes the notion he is Big Man on Campus. "I'm not the star of this team," he says modestly — and incorrectly. Forget about stars, Roy. You're 7-2! "Oh," he says, smiling broadly. "You mean that." Hibbert is Big Man at Georgetown, a campus where some of the great big men of basketball history have played. Celebrated centers such as Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning and Dikembe Mutombo performed here for John Thompson Jr., a Big Man among coaches.
Hibbert remembers coming to Georgetown when he was in high school to play in pickup games against Michael Sweetney, the Hoyas' top Big Man of the time. "He pushed me around," Hibbert says. Sometimes Ewing and Mourning would be there, and they would push him around, too. But they also encouraged Hibbert to bring his size-18 sneakers to Georgetown. He came from Georgetown Prep, a Jesuit high school in Washington's suburbs. He was a project — 295 pounds but weak enough that he bench-pressed just 135. He was awkward, slow and raw: Thompson Jr. called him "The Big Stiff." "Among other things — and it was not jokingly," Thompson III says, chuckling. "But he has come a long way. He's blessed with size. He's blessed with good hands and vision. And he has worked extremely hard in every aspect of the game." Today he weighs 275 and says he bench-presses 225. He's gotten quicker, more agile and more skilled. His improvement can be measured in his scoring and rebounding averages: 5.1 points and 3.5 rebounds as a freshman, 11.6 and 6.9 as a sophomore, 12.9 and 6.9 as a junior. Ohio State beat Georgetown in the national semifinal before losing to Florida in the championship game. Hibbert played well against Ohio State freshman center Greg Oden, who was the first player taken in the NBA draft. Hibbert did not get pushed around, winning the statistical war (19 points, six rebounds and one block to Oden's 13 points and nine rebounds). "Roy is not worried about comparing and contrasting himself to Greg Oden or to anyone else," Thompson III says. "Did he play well that day? Obviously. But I don't look at that as, 'Ooh, Roy had a great game.' That's how Roy played all year. It just happened to be that because of who the opposition was, more people took notice."
Few noticed this summer as Hibbert played on the U.S. team that finished fifth in the Pan Am Games. Alabama's Richard Hendrix hung a nickname on Hibbert at the trials in Philadelphia. "He called me The Governor," Hibbert says, laughing. Hibbert is majoring in government. Hendrix wanted to know if that meant Hibbert might run for governor some day. Hibbert says you never know. He takes courses in international relations. The U.S. Department of Education offered a summer internship that he says he turned down with regret because of his obligations to Team USA. He says Georgetown is an ideal place for students with an interest in government. It's also a good place for 7-2 students with an interest in basketball. Where does today's Big Man on Campus stand in the pantheon of great big men of Georgetown's storied past? "I think it's too early to say," Thompson III says. "He has wanted to be viewed as one of the premier Georgetown big men. Where he fits in the hierarchy is something we'll look at down the line."
Top-recruit Monroe has good head on shoulders
In case you've been on another planet for the past week, or don't care about such things, the 6-foot-10 senior made a pretty big decision Saturday, announcing he'll play at Georgetown. The significance is that making the decision early was a very smart, mature thing to do for a kid that, as Cox Coach Tyron Mouzon said, wants to enjoy his senior year the way a senior is supposed to. "It was a hard decision before, but once I got up there and saw everything and met with all the players and coaches, it was pretty easy after that," Monroe said. "The way I felt was, if I knew what I was going to do, I wasn't going to waste their time or waste my time, either. When all of (the coaches) came in-home (to visit), they all said the same thing. They all said if you take your visits and you get to one and you know that's where you want to go, stop. So I just took their advice." Probably, a couple of them now wish they'd have shut up. "He says he's comfortable with the decision, that he feels relief that it's over," Mouzon said. Now, announcing intent doesn't magically assure Monroe will be left alone. Until he signs on a dotted line, scheduled to occur Nov. 16 at Cox, all the coaches who were after him before Coach John Thompson III and the Hoyas made their winning pitch likely will continue to be after him, pulling and tugging and hoping he'll change his mind, and perhaps change their programs. The early signing period runs from Nov. 14 through Nov. 21. That gives coaches about another month to plead, and heaven only knows what would happen if he postponed signing and waited until the spring signing period (April 16 through May 21).
. . . .
"The whole process is kind of stressful," Monroe said. "It's long. To get it over is good. I'm just going to stay strong, hold on to my decision. I'm not going to let anybody change my decision. Just keep levelheaded. I'm sure that's the right choice, so I'm going to stick with it." Said Mouzon: "He's very different from a lot of high-profile athletes his age. He doesn't have a lot of hangers-on, doesn't have a posse. He doesn't like a lot of limelight, and the kids (at Helen Cox) have been used to seeing him since sixth grade. "In a way, they don't quite get it. Oh, they know who he is and they know he's a big-time basketball player. But there are more people all over him at AAU tournaments than at school." Hopefully, fewer of them will be all over Monroe now that he has announced a decision. Theoretically, that's the way it's supposed to work. Once an athlete takes himself off the market, prospective suitors are supposed to leave him alone.
Since that's not going to be the case, all the athlete can do is make a decision and stick with it. Maybe, even, Monroe gave himself a chance to keep being a kid a little longer. "I was missing a lot of -- not really important things -- but things that students get to do," Monroe said. "This weekend, I would have been missing my homecoming, and this is my last homecoming."
Monday, October 15, 2007
JTIII is transforming Georgetown into the next Duke. It is the next school where you play “the right way” and the media continuously speaks about the upstanding young men. The similarity between the schools is already there — both private, upper middle class universities where basketball is the sport that students follow. And now Georgetown is the Duke of recruiting — besides Greg Monroe, JTIII has also successfully recruited Jason Clark, center Henry Sims and power forward Chris Braswell — all top 100 recruits. I used to wonder how someone could be a Duke fan — the uppityness and being the perennial favorite because of recruiting…how can it be fun rooting for Goliath? But now, I sort of understand.
This is a provocative thesis and an idea that I've had in the back of my head for a long while. Originally, I advanced this theory when JTIII had just arrived on the Hilltop and the Hoyas were in the mix for Eric Boateng. At that time, it appeared that Coach K would be moving out to Los Angeles to coach the Lakers. It seemed to me that we could be witnessing a power shift on the East Coast. Georgetown and Duke have very similar academic profiles, obviously, and play in arguably the two best basketball conferences, year in and year out. Many fans of both teams trace Duke's 1990s rise and Georgetown's swoon to the 1989 Elite Eight game where Duke bested the team of the 1980s to become the undisputed team of the 1990s. I thought maybe the pendulum would swing back. Well, Mr. Boateng chose Duke and that worked out just about as well as his fellow Delaware all-state team member Josh Thornton's selection of Georgetown. (Eric now plays for Arizona State, while Josh is a Towson Tiger.) And, of course, Coach K stayed in Durham. That bring us to January 21, 2006--a game that IPB, Stallion and I all attended--and the game which trumpeted Georgetown's return to the national scene. Since that game, Georgetown has been to a Sweet 16 and Final Four, and has won a Big East regular season championship, as well as a Big East tournament championship. It has also successfully recruited three McDonald's All-Americans and, now, the #1 recruit in the nation. While Duke certainly hasn't fallen off the face of the earth (and remains one of the best programs in the country), one would be hard pressed to claim that, since that game, Duke has outperformed Georgetown. But, more importantly, I think Duke's rise can serve as a model for Georgetown's.
What does that mean? Well, first, it means that the basketball team should be used to sell the university, not just the university's gear. Duke always used its PR department beautifully to advance the notion that its basketball stars were also students and good ones at that. It sold the idea of Duke as a top-flight academic institution, as well as a basketball powerhouse. Was a lot of this smoke and mirrors? Sure. But it worked and one can't argue with the likes of Shane Battier or Grant Hill. They were tendered as the models of Duke basketball (as opposed to some of the less savory fellows who attended Duke).
Georgetown has already made huge progress in this direction. Last year the Washington Post ran a front page article on how studious all of the Georgetown student-fans were and numerous articles and commentators pointed out that Georgetown basketball players wore suits, were well-spoken, disciplined, etc. They also interacted well with "normal" students, as did the Coach and his staff. (I recall one piece even pointing out that the players had very few tattoos.) On top of this, Georgetown has gotten good at releasing fluff pieces about players getting internships on the Hill or, for instance, on Roy's support for Senator Obama. Beyond that, I've noticed that a number of players are majoring in decidedly more difficult Georgetown fields like Government (Roy and Jon) or Business (DeJaun), as opposed to only Sociology. (GU does not have majors especially designed for athletes so no Kinesiology here, thank you very much.) Greg Monroe also fits perfectly into this mold.
This idea of having "smart" players also works its way on to the basketball court, where GU runs one of the most intricate offenses around. It doesn't hurt that this offense is named for one of the best universities in the world. It is refreshing that Georgetown players like Jeff Green and Jon Wallace are described as having high basketball IQs, as opposed to white players on the team. While we want to project an imagine of intelligence, Georgetown should not do so by playing into the old racist canard of the smart white player versus the athletic black player. This is, after all, John Thompson's program and we don't need to play that game. Indeed, JTIII's offense and persona is going a long way to eradicating it. I have a feeling that Duke intentionally played in this stereotype for some time. That's a harsh charge to level, though, so I'll hold my fire....
Of course, the most important way in which Georgetown can emulate Duke is through constant recruiting, pulling in 5-star recruit on top of 5-star recruit. There is no doubt that JTIII is a tireless recruiter and is indeed matching Duke blow for blow at this early point in his career.
Additionally, JTIII is laying a foundation for his eventual departure--whether that be in 10, 20 or 30 years. In three years he has already produced two head coaches (Broadus and Syd Johnson at Princeton). He will undoubtedly produce more. And when JTIII moves on, the most successful among them will be the heirs apparent. Coach K was once in that position but Amaker and Quinn are no longer hot prospects, and Brey looks like he could be in trouble. That said, no one can argue that K hasn't produced an impressive coaching tree.
Finally, there is the person of John Thompson III. Like Coach K, JTIII graduated from one of the country's best schools (West Point vs. Princeton). Like Coach K, he studied under one of the great basketball minds of the 20th century (Bob Knight vs. Pete Carrill). JTIII exudes class and intelligence, while not surrendering his unwavering passion for winning. He has the respect of the students and alumni--so much so that he is quickly becoming the personification of the university itself, much like Coach K at Duke.
So, what is the problem with the Georgetown as Duke thesis? Well, Georgetown still has some unaddressed areas that must be solidified before we can say we've arrived. I'm not talking about performance on the court, because we all know that national championships and final fours are necessary. But there are institutional matters that must be addressed to achieve what JTIII has said he wants to do at Georgetown--to build a program. Although his father had tremendous success, he never built a program that could sustain itself. That is, there was no coaching tree to speak of, no on campus practice or playing facilities of note, and not a tremendous amount of self-sustaining alumni support. We were left with Esherick and a pretty empty cupboard until JTIII came back and saved the Hoyas.
As I see it, here are the issues that JTIII, Jack DeGioia and the alumni will need to address in the next 2 or 3 years, if Georgetown does want to be the new Duke.
First, JTIII needs to be at Georgetown long-term. His new contract, while certainly competitive with other coaches who have made Final Fours (Brady at LSU, for example), is not on the generous side and, I suspect, will shortly be too little for a coach of his ability. Georgetown must be prepared to re-up in a big way if the Hoyas have the success we all expect this year. I don't think JTIII is looking to go anywhere any time soon, but DeGioia would be very wise to lock him up and that means a contract closer to $1.5 million than to $900,000.
Second, and this is the most difficult one, the facilities issue must be addressed. Not only should the university move ahead with the practice facility with all deliberate speed, but an on-campus area must also be in the pipeline. I know that it is not, for now, and I understand why, but it must become a priority sooner rather than later. An 8,000 person arena will give Georgetown great leverage in negotiating with the Verizon Center and permit virtually all games (whether on-campus or at Verizon) to be sell-outs. Further, there is something to be said to striking while the iron is hot. Corporate sponsorship is available for sporting venues like nothing else. A team that is doing as well as any in the country and one that plays in a major media market should be an attractive target for corporate sponsorship. Beyond that, with all the good feelings toward the program, it may be time to tap all of the alumni who have made millions after graduating from the Georgetown basketball program and the former NBA stars whose sons have played on the team. The arena cannot be a pipe dream for much longer.
Finally, Georgetown must work with its basketball peers to secure the long-term viability of the Big East. The Big East is a fantastic conference but some of the football schools (Cuse in particular) are evidently restless. Georgetown can play a role in keeping it together and (at the very worst) making sure that historical basketball powers like itself and Nova are not jettisoned in a split. I have my doubts about the league ever breaking up so long as it is inking lucrative deals with ESPN, but that situation bears monitoring. As long as Georgetown is riding high and JTIII is the head coach, I think things will shake out well on the Hilltop. I would worry if I were St. John's though....
Anyway, those are my thoughts on Georgetown as the new Duke. I'd love to hear what the rest of you think. Hopefully, somewhere in McDonough long-term plans to solidifying what JTIII has already accomplished are being generated. I don't want to live through 1998-2004 again.
Midnight Madness Strikes Twice in Big East
Georgetown and Louisville score hotly sought-after Top 20 commitments
Oct. 14, 2007
By Van Coleman
The addition of Monroe to Georgetown's class will raise it to challenge for a top five spot nationally, and it's definitely among the top ten classes at this point. But what's key is the Hoyas haven't been in the hunt for arguably the nation's top prospect since John Thompson Jr. was the Hoyas coach and players like Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning committed to Georgetown. No doubt that changed over the weekend with Monroe's decision, now the big question is will his commitment have the same impact for JT III's Hoyas that Ewing and Mourning had for his father's.
That really may depend on how long he is a Hoya, as both Mourning and Ewing were four year players. It's something we don't expect Monroe to be, more likely it being one or two years at the most. But, the Hoyas do have a similar timeline leading to Monroe that they had leading to Ewing. Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert have helped built the program like Sleepy Floyd and Craig Shelton did in 1978-80. The current Hoyas certainly don't have an empty cupboard talent-wise as current freshmen 6-foot-4 Austin Freeman and 6-foot-1 Chris Wright come as Top 25 recruits. Couple that with Top 75s Henry Sims and Chris Braswell, who will enter with Monroe, and the Hoyas have all the pieces to once again be a long-term force in the Big East, as well as the NCAA's.
Monroe's commitment came sooner than some close to his situation expected. "It was a little bit of a surprise he decided this early," his summer coach Mike Theus told CSTV. "I really thought he would take three visits, maybe more before deciding. But, Greg always said that if he found the right fit he would end his recruiting. He evidently felt that was what he found in Georgetown." His high school coach Tyron Mouzon had a similar take on his decision recently when he talked to us about Monroe's recruiting. "He wants to take all five visits, but he also said that once he felt good about a place, once he felt comfortable, he would make a decision," Mouzon had said. Evidently he had just that feeling about John Thompson III and his Georgetown staff and players while attending Midnight Madness. "He sees the opportunity to fit in the mold of Jeff Green in the Georgetown offense," Theus explained. "That plus his developing respect for Coach Thompson could have been keys to his decision."
All-in All, Greg Monroe will make an immediate impact with the Hoyas once he arrives on campus next fall. He has tools to make a Kevin Durant-type contribution as a freshman, especially if he develops a consistent effort on both ends of the court. If my sources are right, the Hoyas may have a couple more commitments in the near future from among the close to 20 prospects who visited for Midnight Madness. Stay tuned for more on that.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
And here is what SI had to say:
There was . . . an appearance by Dances-With-Stars wideout Jerry Rice, who got a lesson in the Soulja Boy from Hoya forward Pat Ewing Jr. The most famous Louisiana resident in attendance turned out to be a 6-foot-10 high school senior: Greg Monroe, who's the No. 1-ranked player in the Class of 2008 according to Rivals.com. He was showered with chants of "Greg Mon-Roe" from the Georgetown students who had packed the 2,500-seat gym to the gills. They seemed very interested in having Monroe replace Roy Hibbert in the Hoyas' frontcourt next season.
Monroe, who visited LSU the previous week (witnessing the Tigers' football win over Florida) and heads to Duke next week, wasn't ready to commit on the spot after the festivities. But he did say he had breakfast with coach John Thompson III that morning, and met Big John Thompson, and was "impressed." Asked to compare Georgetown to LSU, Monroe said, "LSU is real big; it has that big feeling. This is smaller and more relaxed. They're two very different schools."
It's unclear whether Monroe will made any college decision during the fall period, but the consensus is that Georgetown and Duke have the leg up in the race to sign him. For what it's worth, he seemed to be in a great mood on Friday: I watched him crack up at the sight of John Thompson III dancing -- "I didn't expect that," Monroe said -- although he did not go as far as to sport one of the "JTIII is my Homeboy" shirts that two students, James DiPietro and Phil McClymont, were hawking in a parking lot outside of McDonough. They said that JTII confronted them last year asking, in a serious tone, where his "cut" was ... before breaking into laughter.
There was far more dancing than basketball on the evening; the lone hoops display was a dunking drill and a few lackadaisical minutes of the weave. JTIII forced the team to do a group Soulja Boy, which somewhat botched until Malik Kilkenny Diaw, the little brother of former Hoyas center Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw and an apparent expert in Crank Dat moves, came out to rescue them. Malik told me he thought it would only take "one hour" to teach JTIII a perfect Soulja Boy.
Here is the report from the Washington Post:
Top Recruit Commits to Hoyas
On the same day the Georgetown men's basketball team started working on its present, its future got a major boost. Greg Monroe, a 6-foot-10 forward from Louisiana who is considered the nation's top high school senior, made an unofficial commitment to the Hoyas, according to his high school coach, Tyron Mouzon. Monroe, the No. 1-rated player in the Class of 2008 according to Rivals.com, plans on signing a letter-of-intent when the early signing period begins Nov. 14. He is the fourth senior to unofficially commit to the Hoyas, joining 6-8 forward Chris Braswell of Hargrave Military Academy (ranked 63rd by Rivals.com), 6-10 forward Henry Sims of Mount Saint Joseph (64th), and 6-2 guard Jason Clark of O'Connell (89th). Mouzon said he was somewhat surprised that Monroe committed so quickly, because he still had scheduled visits to Texas, Duke and Connecticut in the upcoming weeks. Monroe visited LSU last weekend. "He originally said that he wanted to take all five visits," Mouzon said. "But he also said that once he felt good about a place, once he felt comfortable, he would make a decision." Monroe has said he was looking for a program with an established coach that has helped develop players for the NBA. On Friday night, he was part of a capacity crowd of 2,500 at McDonough Arena for Georgetown's Midnight Madness, and he was greeted with chants of "Greg Mon-roe! Greg Mon-roe!" from the students in attendance.
This is the hometown paper:
Monroe commits to Georgetown
Helen Cox center Greg Monroe, considered the top basketball prep prospect in the nation, said Saturday he'll sign with Georgetown. Monroe concluded his official visit to the Georgetown campus in Washington, D.C., by verbally committing to the defending Big East Conference champions. The surprise announcement by Monroe, a Parade Magazine All-American and Louisiana's Mr. Basketball as a junior, came shortly before Monroe and his mother, Norma, boarded an airplane for a flight home to New Orleans following a three-day visit to the nation's capitol. "(Georgetown) just felt comfortable to me,'' Monroe said briefly before boarding his return flight from Washington, D.C. "I was comfortable with the style of play.'' "Greg has committed to Georgetown,'' Helen Cox Coach Tyron Mouzon said in making the announcement for the Monroe family. "He's not going to make any other visits. He said he's not going to go anywhere else. He's going to sign during the early signing period.''
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Not sure how many of us are fans of G'town football, but it still nice to see G'town good press exposure.
Friday, October 12, 2007
On why he came back…
"I love the atmosphere here. I have a lot of things to work on, but starting Saturday, I’m going to put my selfish self away and making sure Georgetown gets better."
And from the Post:
"We're just going to have to make sure that the whole team can take over, because we're not going to have Jeff this year," Hibbert said. "His jersey is up on that wall [inside McDonough], so we're all looking at him and everything like that, but we're going to have to make sure that we stick together and make sure we pull all our weight together."
There will be a ton of 2009 and 2010 recruits there too, but I'm just going to mention a few more (all 2009):
- DaShonte Riley. As I noted here before, Riley is very high on the Hoyas and he is an absolute stud out of Chicago. There are a lot of people who think a commitment could be forthcoming.
- Hollis Thompson: A top 25 player out of Los Angeles. He's a 6'6 small forward.
- Terrell Vinson: A top 25 player our of Baltimore. He's a 6'5 small forward.
- Isaiah Armwood: A top 10 player out of Baltimore (Montrose Christian of Harvey Thomas, Tony Bethel, and Drew Hall fame -- as well as Sweaty Gary's Greivous Vazquez and Jeff Green's teammate Kevin Durant, among others). He's a 6'7 power forward.
- Karron Johnson: A top 10 player out of Durham, North Carolina. He's a 6/7 small forward.
Of course those three commits for 2008 will also be there: Chris Braswell, Henry Sims, and Jason Clark.
JTIII never ceases to amaze me with what a tireless recruiter he is. If you don't like that job, I guess you shouldn't be in the business. But GU doesn't have that many open spaces and yet he never stops recruiting. I do think (having watched both play) that the recruitment of both Omar and Nikita will be the source of some discussion down the road. I don't know if Omar is on scholarship, but this summer he didn't look like a player would could be in the gym with any of these guys. Nikita, on the other hand, was clearly an overlooked gem. His outside shot is as good as I've ever seen from a freshman (and that includes Wallace three years ago). With the right coaching, he could be a key role player in JTIII's sytem. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. I wouldn't mind seeing Greg Monroe in the blue & gray (and any of these other recruits either!)......
Unfazed by the pressure
By Adam CasellaHoya Staff Writer
Friday, October 12, 2007
It’s back to the drawing board.
The Old Georgetown Board rejected last week the university’s design plans for a proposed new athletics facility, holding that the structure of the building would not complement the university’s historic architecture. The decision was announced only days after the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission unanimously approved the university’s proposal to construct the 90,000-square-foot, five-story athletics practice facility during its Oct. 2 meeting.
CLICK HERE for the rest of the story.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
At last evening's Q&A with Coach Thompson, it was announced that those intending to enter McDonough for the official festivities will need a special wristband. These wristbands will be distributed outside of McDonough starting at approximately 6:30 p.m.
The general vibe at the Q&A was that McDonough will definitely reach peak capacity, so make sure to stop by McDonough during the late afternoon tomorrow for the wristband distribution to avoid getting shut out of this event.
The Chimes kicked-off the evening with a rousing rendition of the Georgetown Fight Song, after which Coach Thompson took to the stage. Looking rather dapper in what appeared to be a new suit, Coach Thompson announced that he was all dressed up since he’d just come from an event with President DeGioia (let’s hope it was regarding the on-campus practice facility). Coach Thompson then launched into a brief monologue during which he spoke about many things, including what a great time it is to be a Georgetown undergrad given what is going on in the world, how interpreting the likely nomination of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as signs of progress regarding race and gender has been tempered by the reality that we probably haven’t come as far as we think given recent events in Jena, LA and hate crimes on Georgetown’s own campus, and even Georgetown’s US News & World Report ranking, which he chalked up to poor resources.
Coach Thompson then graciously took several questions from the audience. Some interesting tidbits:
(1) Coach Thompson expects this year’s team to run more on offense because of the maturity of several players and his confidence that they will make the right decisions while playing at an up-tempo pace;
(2) Calling the on-campus practice facility “paramount,” Coach Thompson acknowledged that it faces several “obstacles” until it will be completed. Looking back, Coach Thompson was probably the most serious when addressing this topic. You get the sense that he sincerely believes that this can’t be done soon enough but is resigned to the reality that a completed facility is several years down the road. We will continue to update you on this evolving story;
(3) Coach Thompson’s attempt to schedule a non-conference home game against Kansas was foiled because of scheduling logistics at Verizon;
(4) Georgetown has already sold over 2,500 student season tickets, which is incredible given the undergraduate student population;
(5) Coach Thompson’s two most memorable moments as a coach are being soaked by his players with a cooler of Gatorade after beating Penn for the Ivy League Championship during his first year coaching at Princeton and Jonathon Wallace’s memorable three point shot against UNC;
(6) the stir fry is Coach Thompson’s favorite meal at Leo’s;
(7) some of Coach Thompson’s superstitions include parking under in the same spot under the same basket when parking his car at McDonough;
(8) Coach Thompson requested that the band bring back the Hawaii Five-O theme song even though Coach Thompson conceded he can never hear the band during games at Verizon;
(9) Jonathan Wallace, Tyler Crawford, and Patrick Ewing Jr were in attendance.
Well that’s it for now. Keep your eyes open for more special content from the IPB this season. And for those interested in attending Midnight Madness, make sure to see my post for special info.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
First, Jay Bilas, who I regard as a smart man despite his unfortunate decision to attend that university in Durham, has published his list of potential Wooden Award candidates. Three Hoyas made the cut. While it isn't much of a shock to see Mr. Roy Hibbert as number 2 on the list (behind UNC's Tyler Hansbrough), I was pleasantly surprised to see Jonathan Wallace listed at number 20 and DaJuan Summers at number 43. You have to be happy for Wallace. He put a lot of faith in JTIII when he followed him from Princeton to The Hilltop with no real promises. He has worked hard to show that he belongs as part of a first-rate program and it's nice that the rest of the country is finally starting to realize that.
You can click here to see the entire list on Bilas's blog, but you need to be an ESPN Insider.
Luke Winn, one of my other favorite commentators, also recently published his list of the top front courts in the country for SI.com. Despite the loss of Jeff Green, Winn still has the Hoyas as the number one back court in the land.
How can the Hoyas still have the No. 1 frontcourt after losing Jeff
Green to the NBA? Because Summers, Green's replacement at the four, flashed
future-star potential during the '07 NCAA tournament and should have a strong
sophomore campaign. There's also the matter of a certain 7-2 monstrosity in the
paint. With Greg Oden gone, are there any centers left -- anywhere -- to match
up with Hibbert?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Georgetown is one of four schools that will be included in ESPNU's coverage of this year's Midnight Madness festivities. The other three are Memphis, Southern Illinois, and Davidson. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. at Davidson and ends at 1:30 a.m. at Southern Illinois.
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
. . . .
In addition to being upside down, the car was smoking. Iverson told his friend who was driving to slow down so they could see if anyone was in the car. "It didn't look good," Iverson said. "I looked and seen them upside down. I said, 'Pull over. We got to see if those people are all right.' It was the right thing to do." The police and paramedics soon arrived and Iverson and his traveling party continued down the road. Later that night, they stopped at the hospital to check on the women. Iverson said he has not heard from the women since, but another woman who knew about the accident wrote a letter to the Philadelphia Daily News to commend Iverson for being a good Samaritan. "We, the public, seem to hear only the negative stories, but never the small acts of kindness he performs," wrote April Snoparsky, of Boston. "This story reaffirms my belief that just because he's 'street' doesn't mean he isn't one of the good guys."
Monday, October 01, 2007
- About LSU, he said, "First of all, it's a state school. It's close. People who have come to LSU at my position have gone on and had success in the NBA."
- About Georgetown, Monroe said, "They have a very good coaching staff. (Thompson III) is a very smart coach. Their style of play and style of offense would probably be a very good fit for me. Nobody is confined to the post. You can touch the ball inside and at the top of the key and on the wing. That's appealing to me."
- About Duke, Monroe said, "Another great coach, an established coach (in Mike Krzyzewski). Duke has a history of producing good players and you have to look at their success. Their style of play is a little bit more up and down. It's very open and is appealing to me."
- About Texas, Monroe said, "It's a little bit closer (thank Georgetown, Duke or Connecticut) for one thing. They play an open style. Nobody has a certain position. They want you to get out moving and make plays. So their style of play is appealing, too."
- About Connecticut, Monre said, "Coach (Jim) Calhoun has a track record for getting people to the (NBA) league. He knows what it takes to get to the league. His offense is kind of like a pro-style offense. I really think he's a good coach. When he came to my home, I was comfortable with him."
It is, of course, very difficult to read too much into these comments, but I like that Georgetown was the only program for which Mr. Monroe had a specific, contrasting observation. GU has a different style of play from all of the others. And I think that's a good thing. I'm a little worried about Texas, as it is closer to his hometown and has shown that it can highlight a superstar (see Durant, Kevin). That said, Monroe is supposedly more of a team-oriented player and thus should thrive in JTIII's offense. In any event, I take this as good news.
By the way, I just realized that we have forgotten to post that Chris Wright broke his foot last week. This must have been lost in all of the excitement over JTIII's new contract. I don't expect this to be a major deal. We are very deep at the guard position and he will most likely be back by the Memphis game, at the latest. Also, having see him play, I suspect that Chris will not have too much difficulty picking up the offense. He is quite adept at hitting backdoor cutters.