The Van Buren Boys

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bilas on Hoyas' Win Over UConn

I'll try to post some original thoughts later today, but I wanted to get something on the board about last night's win over the Huskies.

Maybe I was wrong. Maybe we really are a top 10 team.

I think we'll know more after Saturday's game at home against Pitt.

Anyway, here are the thoughts of Jay Bilas (who has consistently been one of the Georgetown's biggest fans over the last few years), who covered last night's game.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rankings, Memphis, and Where For Art Thou VBB?

I admit it. We've been pathetic. Georgetown not only played cross-town "rival" Maryland, but whooped them, and The VBB are silent. The Hoyas rip off one of the most lopsided victories in school history against Savannah State and what do you get, adoring public? That's right. More silence.

What can I say? We suck. Much like this year's Hoyas, The VBB do not seem to have the same kind of depth that they've had in year's past. Imagine this. They Hoyas are deep in Big East play and Greg Monroe finds himself in serious foul trouble. JTIII has to sit him. Where does that leave you? Can you rely on Sims to pound it down low? No, you can't. All he wants to do is shoot three pointers (and he is likely to continue to want to shoot three pointers after finally hitting one against Savannah State). That's how The VBB have been this season. Greg Monroe has been in foul trouble and there's no one else to turn to. But, never fear, I'm coming off the bench with four fouls and I am ready to make an impact!

Yes, you read that right. I just compared myself to Greg Monroe.

And with that done, here are some thoughts.

Second, the rankings. With that victory over Memphis the Hoyas have climbed to 13 and 15 in the ESPN/USAToday and AP polls, respectively. I am a very pleased with the Hoyas play this year, but I am still not convinced that we are a top-15 team. Those 90 points that Tennessee hung on us in Orlando are still leaving a bitter taste in my mouth. Especially, after Tennessee got beat by unheralded Temple.

Memphis Win

First, what a great win this weekend. It was an ugly win, but a great win. I think that the three most important games that the Hoyas are going to play this year are their out-of-conference match ups against Tennessee, Memphis, and Duke. The teams in the Big East are going to bloody up each other in conference play. Even the elite teams will likely have several losses. So, when it comes time to "dance," how you performed in non-conference games are going to be real important. The Duke game is at Cameron. That's tough. Tennessee was a neutral floor and Memphis was at home. Escaping the Tennessee-Memphis stretch with a least one with was very important.

It was also important in what it showed us about our team. First, after a slow start, DaJuan Summers is really starting to assert himself more. If he plays every game with the intensity and physicality he showed against Memphis the Hoyas will be just fine this year. The problem with DaJuan has always been that he tends to disappear some games. He needs to bring that intensity night-in and night-out during Big East play.

The next big point I took from Saturday's game is that Chris Wright is the man! He is the same kind of steadying force on the floor that we used to have in Jonathan Wallace, except that he about ten times quicker. He also showed some serious defensive intensity against Tyreke Evans in overtime. That was huge.

Finally, I am officially worried about our depth down low. Henry Sims got Z-E-R-O minutes. Thompson obviously does not trust him when it counts. Vaughn also got very limited time--only three minutes. Monroe played 42 minutes. I don't think he'll ever make it through the Big East scheduled playing that much. I really hope Vaughn and Sims step up in our two primer games before our trip to Connecticut.


Still, that is nothing compared to what I found today. I love Ken Pomeroy. I, like many, have found his rankings to be one of the greatest barometers of a team's actually talent and chances of winning. Well, today I checked and he has the Hoyas ranked number one. What? I know that Ken has been tweaking his formula. But I'm pretty sure he must have forgotten to carry a number, or misplaced the decimal point, or something. Still, I hope that the Hoyas prove me wrong!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Alonzo Mourning at the Hoyas-Dragons Match-up

Another highlight at the Georgetown game yesterday--besides the drubbing that the Hoyas gave Drexel--was the appearance of former Hoyas' great, and seven-time NBA All Star, Alonzo Mourning. When the in-arena announced Alonzo's pressence to the crowd, he got the hearty standing ovation that a great like him deserves. It was good to have him back.

'Zo was at the Verizon Center to sign copies of his new book, Resilience. In fact, Mourning was set up right outside the section where I sit. Unfortunately, however, the line was crazy long. I would have love to get a signed copy, but it would have meant missing pretty much the entire game. So, I'll have to be content with the photo I took on my cell phone.

Some Good Tid-Bits from The Washington Times

The times provides some good information about two things that were bothering me at yesterday's Georgetown Hoyas' game. First, I was wondering what happened to Julian Vaughan. Second, I was wondering whether I had been pronouncing Nikita's name wrong, seeing as the name on the back of his jersey ended in an "ou."

The Washington Times has come to the rescue.

Georgetown sophomore forward Julian Vaughn didn't practice all week or play in yesterday's game because of a minor sprain just above his left Achilles. The 6-foot-9 reserve is expected to be available for the Old Spice Classic (Nov. 27-30). ...

For those who might have noticed the disparity between the way Nikita Mescheriakov's name is spelled in box scores and official releases compared with his jersey (Meshcharakou), the forward explained that the former is the anglicized Russian spelling while the latter is the official Belarusian spelling.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Greg Monroe = Awesome

I suppose the jury will remain out on any freshman who has yet to see Big East action. With that caveat, let me at least tentatively proclaim that Greg Monroe is very, very good. Seeing him today felt similar to the first time I saw Jeff Green play. Like Green, there is not a single facet of his game that stands out. And yet, he rarely makes mistakes and simply makes those around him better. Monroe made a very good choice by selecting Georgetown. Our offense highlights his outstanding passing and frequently has him at the top of the key with the ball in his hands. Now, I love Roy Hibbert, but what a difference from last year! Greg can drive down the lane; he can fire a pass to a cutting guard; he can step back and hit the outside shot. And I don't cringe when he chases an opponent's guard on the perimeter!

Greg also showed great discipline on defense by keeping his feet planted against smaller players. We'll have to see how he stacks up against bigger teams in the Big East, but I would doubt there was anyone watching today who honestly expected him to be this good. The offense today looked as smooth as I can recall seeing it in recent years. Of course, Drexel was not a fearsome foe, but they aren't terrible either. We may all have to adjust our expectations for this season upwards.

I'm not sure much needs to be said about the game. It was a blowout from whistle to whistle. The most interesting aspect was watching the players. Here are my initial thoughts.

The Good (Greg Monroe aside)
  • Chris Wright had an outstanding game; lots of assists and drives to the hoop; knocked down a three. I don't recall a turnover.
  • Austin Freeman was also great. He hit a nice three and exhibited his upper body strength taking the ball to the hole.
  • Jesse Sapp was solid as always. His shot looks just as good as it did last year and he made no mistakes.
  • Omar Wattad was a pleasant surprise. Sure, he made some unforced errors, but he showed poise and confidence and even hit a three. Omar will be a serviceable sub for years to come.
  • Jason Clark showed some nice things. He is quick; his shot looks good; and his arms are freakishly long--should make him a very effective defender.

The Bad

  • Dajuan Summers simply wasn't having a good day. He disappeared for stretches, missed fairly open outside shots, and didn't take the ball inside. Not his best performance.
  • Nikita! Wow. Not. Good. At. All. And I loved this kid when I saw him play in Kenner. His outside shot--which looked automatic at that point--was not falling, and he made some very bad decisions on offense. That said, if I were JTIII, I'd keep him out there and tell him to keep shooting. Let's see how much of this is a dearth of confidence.

The Questions

  • I don't know what to make of Henry Sims. He had some nice blocks, but seems content to flit around the perimeter jacking up shots. He also looks too skinny to me to bang down low in the Big East. I'm not sure what we can really expect from him this year, but he is someone I could see blossoming under JTIII's tutelage.
  • Julian Vaughn must be injured. I can't think of why he would have been the only player to sit on the bench today.

All in all, this game has gotten me excited and optimistic for the 2009 campaign.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Former Hoya Baller as National Security Advisor?

Former 6-5 Hoyas forward Jim Jones (SFS' 66) may get the nod to serve as President Obama's first National Security Advisor. General Jones has served as the head of the Marine Corps and as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

Jones is the leading candidate to be Obama's national security advisor.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Two sources close to the Obama transition team tell CNN retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones has emerged as President-elect's leading choice to become national security adviser in the White House.
The sources said Jones has been given the impression by the President-elect that the job is his if he wants it. But the officials said there are still private discussions underway and no final decision has been made. The discussions are focused on precisely how much power Jones will have in the staff job since he is used to being in a command role. Among his many posts, Jones served for several years as the operational commander for NATO. In the third and final presidential debate, Obama noted that he deeply values advice from Jones, who has four decades of military service.

One person close to the transition noted Jones is a bipartisan figure who has warm relationships with both current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who may stay on the job for at least a brief period, as well as Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is now on track to be nominated as Secretary of State after Thanksgiving.CNN first reported last week that Jones was getting serious consideration for either national security adviser or Energy Secretary.

Dash Riley, We Hardley Knew Ye

After rumors flying for several days, Barker has retracted his report that Dashonte Riley signed with the Hoyas. He has instead decided to reopen his recruitment. Hollis Thompson has indeed signed, though.

Riley retracts commitment from Georgetown

Georgetown recruit DaShonte Riley informed coach John Thompson earlier this week that he will decommit from the Hoyas. The 6-foot-11, 220-pound center from Detroit Country Day (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) gave the Hoyas an oral commitment last summer but changed his mind after taking his official visit to Georgetown earlier this fall. "[Riley] just said after he returned from his official visit that he didn't feel like it was the right fit for him," Detroit Country Day coach Kurt Keener said. "I know his mother felt that he had committed a little too early in the process. They discussed the situation after he returned from his official visit, and he called the staff at Georgetown recently and informed them he would be reopening his recruitment.

I have a few thoughts on this:

(1) We clearly don't want any player who has serious questions about whether he will fit in on the team or on campus. Transfers have been far too common under the JTIII era--although, unlike during the Esherick error, our best players are staying(!). If Dash was not going to fit in, then it is better he figured that out sooner rather than later.

(2) I wonder if the staff communicated to him in any way that he was not going to be getting immediate playing time. If Monroe doesn't leave after one year, Riley would have been third string, after Sims, presumably.

(3) Riley is clearly a talent and may have had a very productive career at Georgetown, but he is a top 150-type, not a top 25-type, so we Hoyas fans should not lose an inordinate amount of sleep over this. The coaches, however, will have to find some another big man to get up in the mix for 2010. Assuming Monroe only stays two years, we will be very thin up front at that point. If Summers leaves after this year, next year we will probably see a three man rotation in the 4 and 5 spots--Vaughn, Monroe, and Sims. If both Summers and Monroe jump, JTIII will have to start scanning the juco ranks or hope for coaching changes lead to de-commits.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Geogetown-Jacksonville: An Introduction To The 2008-2009 Hoyas

First, of all, The VBB sincerely apologize for the pathetic state of the blog. It seems that we have all let our real lives get in the way of our collective cyber-life. How selfish of us! We also have been neglectful of all of those emails we have received from our readership. Again, shame on us. But worry not. A new day is upon us, for it is November and the college basketball season has begun. We shall make amends for our previous silence.

Last night the Hoyas took on the Jacksonville Dolphins, a team they beat by over 30 last season. This year was a little closer--and a little too close for comfort. Nonetheless, it gave us the opportunity to see what this year’s Georgetown team has to offer. Though the Hoyas are young, last night showed that they have lots of potential. Here are some initial thoughts.


First, Greg Monroe may be the real deal. I was very down on Greg based on the few previous games I saw him play in during high school. Last night he looked polished and smooth on the court. His post moves are very refined for a freshman. And he showed some real promise as a blocking threat. That being said…

He was playing against a team that did not have any starters over 6’-7”. And he began to drag fairly early on in the game. He definitely has to work on his conditioning. He also seemed soft on defense. That could be a major problem when we get into Big East play.

Chris Wright was very impressive last night. He showed flashes of brilliance last year, but the injured foot kept him from fulfilling it. Last night, he was healthy and he was great. He was quick, and he was aggressive. He slashed to the basket at will and, as a result, ended up leading all scorers last night. He will definitely help us to be more up-tempo this year.


DaJuan was still too passive. He ended up putting up good numbers, but it was not because he wanted to. If the Hoyas are going to succeed this year—especially given the Big East’s incredible depth—Summers is going to have to step-up and provide some leadership. He didn’t show me that last night. It’s early, but count me officially worried.

Outside shooting. It was horrible. We couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn…and trust me were trying. Thompson actually scolded the team for taking too many outside shots. He was right to. Their shot selection was troubling. But more troubling was their inability to hit those shots. While our young big men will become a force to be reckoned with, they aren’t there yet. Plus, it is relatively easy to defend against a one-dimensional team. If Georgetown is going to be successful, they have to solve this problem. The report on Nikita is that he is supposed to be an outside shooter. He was not last night (he was just awkward). Hopefully, that was just an aberration.

Free throw shooting. They’re free shots. No one is in your face. You are relatively close to the basket. You are supposed to make them. The Hoyas, as a rule, had trouble with this simple concept last night. This is something else they will have to work on.


Henry Sims only played two minutes. I am not sure why. It looked like Monroe could have used more of a blow. But JTIII was obviously reluctant to but him in, opting for Vaughn instead. Since Vaughn was not overly impressive, I am guessing that Sims is still really raw. We’ll have to watch to see how this plays out.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Respect

The Hoyas aren't getting much love from the Big East coaches. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that we deserve to be in the top 3. Heck, maybe we're not even in the top 5. But you're honestly trying to tell me that we only deserved to be seventh? Really?!?!?

2008-09 Preseason BIG EAST Coaches' Poll

1. Connecticut (9) 214
2. Louisville (3) 205
3. Pittsburgh (3) 200
4. Notre Dame (1) 195
5. Villanova 153
6. Marquette 146
7. Georgetown 141
8. Syracuse 139
9. West Virginia 121
10. Providence 99
11. Cincinnati 91
12. Rutgers 53
13. Seton Hall 50
14. St. John’s 44
15. DePaul 43
16. USF 26

* * *

Georgetown Picked Seventh in Big East
Connecticut Is the Preseason Favorite

By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 23, 2008; Page E02

NEW YORK, Oct. 22 -- On the heels of back-to-back regular season Big East championships and a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, the Georgetown Hoyas were picked Wednesday to finish a humble seventh in the annual preseason coaches' poll.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Midnight Madness

I don't have ESPNU and did not, therefore, get a chance to catch the coverage of the Hoyas' midnight madness celebration this past Friday. If anyone else did, I would love to hear what they thought.

I found these clips on YouTube, which give a sense of the atmosphere inside McDonough. It appears like it was pretty electrifying. I love Sims's enthusiasm. Monroe seemed rather reserved, as usual. Hopefully, he finds some enthusiasm when he hits the hardwood for the Blue and Gray.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

JTIII beats out Beilein for Lubick

2010 is shaping up with Nate Lubick now hopping on board the Hoya bandwagon. The versatile 6'8, 215 lb forward picked Georgetown over John Beilein's Michigan squad. Lubick, who hails from Southborough, MA, is rated as a 4-star recruit by both Scout and Rivals. Rivals has him as #62 nationally.

Here's a scouting report that included video of Lubick.

Lubick looks like the versatile big men that both JTIII and Beilein love. Here's to hoping he can pittsnoggle a few teams for us while donning the blue and grey.

Of course, somebody has to jump all over the race issue. Is this not getting tiresome? JTIII has never coached an all-black team at Georgetown, nor did he ever coach one at Princeton. I mean all anyone has to do is look at the team photos each year. Hopefully, this is the death-rattle of that unfair (and untrue) smear on the Georgetown program.

It’s been more than four years since Georgetown has had an American-born Caucasion [sic] on their team. That was before Matt Causey transferred out of the program and ultimately landed at Georgia Tech. John Thompson III and the Hoyas landed highly regarded junior forward Nate Lubick last night. He isn’t set to arrive on campus until the fall of 2010. ``At first, after Georgetown offered, it was like, `Georgetown doesn’t offer white kids,’” Lubick said. “I thought about it a little bit and after I visited the second time and was with their players, I just said, ‘Who cares.’” ``I went on a bunch of visits and none of the teams were anywhere nearly as close as Georgetown,” Lubick added. “It’s crazy. They all hang out together like a family and couldn’t care less about the white-black thing and that’s what made me so comfortable. I didn’t even pay attention to it.” The Hoyas do have 6-foot-8 Nikita Mescheriakov on the team, who hails from Belarus.

(I suppose Kenny Izzo and Bryon Jansen don't count.)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Markel Starks picks Georgetown

Georgetown Prep's Markel Starks has verballed to the Hoyas, reportedly choosing Georgetown over Stanford, Maryland, and others. The 6-1, 180 lb guard graduates high school in 2010. Both Rivals and Scout rank his as a 4-star recruit; #35 nationally on Rivals.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hoya Hoops Ads on Orioles Games

I know that Hoya hoops season is a long way off, but due to health circumstances, the Stallion has been watching a TON of sports TV. Not sure if my fellow Beltway VBB have seen, but everytime I see an Oriolems game or highlights, there is a huge ad behind home plate for Hoya Hoops tickets for the upcoming season. I'm pretty sure that it's image inserted for TV. But, I thought it was cool that Hoya Hoops frenzy is starting already. Especially cool to see it on TV here in NYC.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Now it all makes sense....

The Julian Vaughn transfer came into sharper focus today. Not that Julian wouldn't be a great pick-up for the Hoyas, but it seemed a little strange with Macklin and Sims and Braswell and Monroe all upfront. Then Macklin left and Braswell didn't qualify. But we will have Braswell next year, along with Vaughn. Well, today we learn that Vaughn will be eligible THIS year. Obviously, JTIII didn't know whether he would or would not be eligible this year, but clearly he and the staff thought it was a possibility and that, I'm sure, made him even more attractive for the Hoyas. Now, I don't imagine we will ever learn WHY Vaughn is suddenly eligible, as this is almost unheard of, but I'll take it. Kenner starts this weekend and the Hoyas are suddenly much deeper up front. Happy Fourth of July everyone!

Waiver Allows Transfer Julian Vaughn to Play Next Season for the Hoyas
NCAA rules Vaughn need not sit out

July 3, 2008
Washington DC -

Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III announced today that Julian Vaughn, a transfer student from Florida State University, has been granted a waiver by the NCAA and will not have to sit out a year before playing at Georgetown. "Julian transferred to be closer to his home for personal reasons which he wishes to keep private. This was considered by the NCAA along with his good academic standing and the lack of objection from FSU. They granted him a waver from the usual transfer rules and we're very pleased that Julian will be part of our program and have the opportunity to lend support to his family." At Florida State University, Vaughn, a 6-10, 245-pound freshman averaged 3.0 points and 2.3 rebounds per game and was second on the team with 21 blocked shots. Vaughn connected on 51.5 percent of his field goals (35-of-68) and 68.8 percent of his free throws (22-of-32). He played in 31 of the Seminoles' 34 games as a freshman, averaged 13.3 minutes played per game and reached double figure minutes in 13 of the team's final 15 games of the season. A native of Vienna, Va., Vaughn was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Virginia following his senior season by the Roanoke Times and World News. He played at South Lakes High School and at Oak Hill Academy. While at South Lakes, he averaged a double-double of 20.1 points and 12.5 rebounds while making 32 three-point field goals and shooting 36.4 percent from outside the arc as a junior, when he earned All-Met Second Team honors from The Washington Post. He led South Lakes to a 17-9 record in 2006.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Congatulations, Roy and Pat!!!!!

I couldn't be happier for these two. They will continue to represent the blue & gray well in the NBA.

From the Post:

"I'm happy," Hibbert said. "People said I was going to parachute, that I was going to go late in the draft. But I ended up with a good organization. . . . I think Indiana is a good fit for me. I mix well with the guys in the front office and mesh well with guys on the team." Hibbert is the 11th Hoya to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, and the second in two years. Former teammate Jeff Green was the fifth overall pick last year before being traded to Seattle, where he was named to the NBA all-rookie first team. "It's an exciting day, without a doubt," his former coach, John Thompson III, said. "Who knows what would've happened last year; conceivably he went one, two, three, four spots [lower] than he would have last year. But then you have your degree, back-to-back Big East championships, and you go to an organization headed by Larry Bird. If there's anyone in basketball that understands that you can be a terrific player and not be a runner and jumper, it's Larry Bird."

Ewing Jr. watched the draft from the home of Georgetown head coach John Thompson III with Hibbert. After Singletary was selected, Ewing's father, former NBA star Patrick Ewing, called to congratulate his son on getting drafted. The pick had not yet been announced, but the elder Ewing found out from a third party. "People were saying I wasn't going to get drafted," Ewing Jr. said. "Just to get picked, it's like a weight off you. It's like, 'Man, I finally made it.' "

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Desert News Reports Georgetown's Hibbert To Work Out With Jazz

The Desert News is reporting that former Georgetown Hoya Roy Hibbert is scheduled to work out with the Utah Jazz today. This adds credence to the speculation of a variety of NBA mock draft sites that the Jazz could select Hibbert in this year's draft. The Jazz hold the 23rd overall pick.,5143,700231614,00.html

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rivers to Indiana - Maybe Not?

This morning's Boston Globe is reporting that the Jeremiah Rivers-Indiana transfer may not be a lock. Marc Spears of the Globe states:

"While Indiana seems to be the favorite to land Rivers's son, Jeremiah, Georgia Tech and Central Florida are also possibilities. Jeremiah will have to redshirt a year before using his two years of eligibility after transferring from Georgetown."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hoyas' JTIII To Coach Team USA U-18s

All I've got to say is that I hope that this helps Georgetown with recruiting. I would think that it could.

Georgetown's John Thompson III to Serve as Assistant Coach for USA
Basketball U-18 National Team

May 21, 2008

Washington, D.C. - Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III has been selected to serve as an assistant coach with the 2008 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team that will compete in the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship scheduled for July 14-18 in Formosa, Argentina.

The 2008 USA Basketball Men's U18 National will be coached by Bob McKillop from Davidson College and Thompson III will serve as an assistant coach along with Anthony Grant from Virginia Commonwealth. The coaching staff selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's College Committee, chairedby USA Men's Senior National Team assistant and Syracuse University Head Coach Jim Boeheim, and approved by USA Basketball's Executive Committee.
For the rest of the story, click here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

DaShonte Riley Commits To Georgetown

DaShonte has been (reportedly) the #1 priority for JTIII since the Hollis Thompson commit. He is a top-flight big man listed at 6'11, 220 lbs. This is Draft Express's write-up:

There is little more that you can ask for physically out of a center prospect then what Riley gives you. Blessed with a big frame, huge wingspan, and ability to run the floor like a gazelle, he constantly gives you flashes of potential that leave you drooling. An explosive leaper, he has very nice timing when attempting to block shots and usually does a good job staying out of foul trouble. The problem with Riley seems to pick and choose when he’s going to display his talents, often instead opting to loaf around the court.

The effort that Riley displayed in the two games that we observed him over the weekend was incredibly disappointing, with the big man often seen walking up and down the floor or pouting on the bench. He seemed as if he would have much rather been at home in Detroit than showing his stuff in front of a plethora of high major coaches in Akron, something rather concerning when you basically had a “who’s who” of college basketball at each of his games. The mental aspect of things is far and away the area that the center needs to work on most because if he ever develops a desire to play the game at a high level, the possibilities are downright scary.

At a legit 6’11, he is very coordinated for a player his size and shows flashes of solid footwork in the post. His post moves are fluid with a turn-around jumper out of the post going towards his left shoulder proving to be his go-to move at the moment, though he did show flashes of a nice right handed jump hook. When facing the basket, Riley showed a decent jumpshot out to the 14 foot area and made a few gorgeous passes. One would expect a player who is so young and still relatively raw to hesitate when faced with a double team in the post, but Dashonte was able to consistently find the open man when placed in that situation time and time again.Defensively, there are times when Riley leaves you gawking at how good he can possibly come. With a wingspan looking to be in the 7’4 area and explosive leaping ability, he has already established himself arguably as the top shot blocker this class has to offer. Also able to move well laterally, Dashonte has shown the ability to guard big men who tend to face the basket just as well as he defends traditional centers.

Needless to say, its Riley’s potential as a stopper on the defensive end that has made him one of the elite prospects in the nation. Very similar to Texas A&M freshman
DeAndre Jordan, Riley has all of the tools to be an elite draft prospect, but very rarely puts them ball together. He will likely have the opportunity to be a first round draft pick after his freshman year based on his upside no matter how he plays, but like Jordan, will probably be better suited to stick around for a few years in college before considering the NBA.

According to , Riley will spend at least one year playing for JTIII., by the way, ranks Riley #15 nationally in its class of 2009. Riley attends the Country Day School in Detroit, alma mater of Shane Battier. Riley, like Monroe, Thompson, and Vaughn, is supposed to be an excellent student--something that JTIII clearly places high on his list of recruit attributes.

Here's some video of Riley in action:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Man Barker On The Hoyas' Transfers

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, my man Barker Davis, had a piece in The Washington Times on Monday about all of the players that have transferred from Georgetown since JTIII took the helm. It is based primarily on an interview with JTIII himself. It's pretty good stuff.

Calmly weathering the losses

May 12, 2008
By Barker Davis

Turnover doesn't always equal turbulence.

Over the past two months, a Georgetown basketball program that
has made three straight NCAA tournament appearances and won back-to-back Big
East regular-season titles has absorbed some painful losses.

First, one of the most successful seasons in school history
ended with two losses in the team's final three games. The sting of the squad's
loss to Pittsburgh in the Big East tournament final was at least tripled by the
season-ending defeat Davidson handed the Hoyas in the second round of the NCAA

That upset loss forced the program to bid a premature farewell
to the senior class that arrived on the Hilltop with coach John Thompson III
before the 2004-05 season and proceeded to compile a 100-36 record to complete a
remarkable revival.

Replacing a class that included an All-American center (Roy
Hibbert) and the most seasoned player in the college game (Jon Wallace with 136
straight starts) qualified as a major task before the surprising developments of
the last three weeks. First came transfer announcements from key sophomore
reserves Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers. Then came confirmation that recruit
Chris Braswell, a much-needed frontcourt player, would not be joining the Hoyas
next season because of ongoing academic issues.

Down to just nine available scholarship players and only one
returning frontcourt player with any experience, the Hoyas aren't likely to earn
any three-peat votes in what perhaps will be the deepest conference in America.

"Obviously, we will not have the sheer number of bodies up
front that we have had the past couple of years. But I have confidence in the
people returning and in those arriving," Thompson told The Washington Times last
week. "We'll be OK. We'll figure it out. ... That's what we do."

Outwardly, Thompson shows no signs of being frazzled by the
events of the last couple of months. He still finds it somewhat difficult to
discuss the Davidson game, proof of the emotion lurking beneath his mellow
demeanor. But he has no trouble discussing the senior class he describes as the
"most special group of young men [he has] ever had the privilege to coach."

Nor does he have any problem discussing the issue of
transfers; seven players have left the team during his four-year tenure: Ray
Reed (2005), Cornelio Guibunda (2005), Josh Thornton (2005), Marc Egerson
(2007), Tay Spann (2007), Macklin and Rivers. None of the seven were starters.

"Attrition is inevitable," Thompson said. "Part of it is
natural when you have a lot of extremely talented kids in an extremely
competitive environment. Everybody wants to play. Everybody expects to play. In
many respects, you want them to have that attitude. But there are only so many
minutes available. I'm not going to make promises about playing time. That's a
fluid situation for every player on the roster, from seniors who have started
before to freshmen who are just walking in the door. Those minutes are earned,
not promised.

"Transfers are just part of the equation at this level. I'm
not going to say they're an unfortunate reality, because look at Patrick
[Ewing]'s situation and how well that worked out. The bottom line is that
Georgetown isn't for everybody. We expect a lot on and off the

Given the team's heavy personnel losses, Georgetown's incoming
recruiting class will have to adapt quickly to those demands, particularly
coveted forwards Greg Monroe (6-foot-10, 226 pounds) and Henry Sims (6-11, 215).
With the team gutted up front by the graduation of Hibbert and Ewing and the
defection of Macklin, both Monroe and Sims will be expected to make an immediate
impact on the boards as the two tallest members of the team.

"The freshman class does not have the luxury of time,"
Thompson said of a recruiting crop ranked No. 3 in the nation by
That ranking will drop a few slots with Braswell's loss, though he was the least
decorated of the team's four signees (also Bishop O'Connell guard Jason Clark).

"There are some similarities to my first year here," Thompson
continued. "The newcomers are going to be thrown into the fire and expected to

Actually, the young Hoyas won't make it through November
without a severe test. Georgetown committed to the Old Spice Classic, an
eight-team, three-game tournament that will take place in Orlando, Fla., over
the Thanksgiving weekend. Aside from Georgetown, the field will feature four
other NCAA tournament teams from last season (Tennessee, Michigan State, Gonzaga
and Siena) and a pair of NIT squads (Maryland and Oklahoma State).

"Obviously, it's an extremely challenging field, and we have a
young team, so I may regret it. But I really want to find out where we stand,
get a true sense of who and where we are quickly in the year," said Thompson,
who knew about the transfers before Georgetown agreed to participate in such a
demanding event.

Thompson also seems genuinely enthused about the possibility
of Georgetown meeting Maryland for just the third time since 1980: "I'm not sure
if that matchup draws much attention nationally. But locally, I know it would be
a very big deal."

In fact, cautious optimism seems to define Thompson's demeanor
as the Hoyas move toward what most assume will be a daunting transition season.

"It's a little like my first year here when we had a group
that was very young and hungry," Thompson said. "I'm really excited about this
year. It should be fun."


With the departure of six players through graduation or
transfer, Georgetown will feature a vastly different roster this season. Though
three starters return, coach John Thompson III loses six players off the 10-man
postseason rotation and returns only one frontcourt contributor (current
sophomore DaJuan Summers). Here's a closer look at the players who are gone, the
players who are returning and the new arrivals for the Hoyas:


Player/position G/GS '07-08 Pts Reb Min

Roy Hibbert C 136/121 13.4 6.4 26.3

Jonathan Wallace G 136/136 10.7 2.1 28.7

Patrick Ewing Jr. F 50/12 6.1 4.2 21.7

Vernon Macklin F/C 65/0 3.4 2.1 12.8

Jeremiah Rivers G 68/0 2.5 2.4 18.6

Tyler Crawford G/F 102/1 1.0 1.1 6.1


Player/position G/GS '07-08 Pts Reb Min

DaJuan Summers F 70/67 11.1 5.4 27.2

Jessie Sapp G 104/70 9.7 4.1 26.8

Austin Freeman G/F 34/23 9.1 3.0 25.6

Chris Wright G 16/0 5.7 2.4 17.3

Omar Wattad G/F 11/0 1.0 0.4 3.3

N. Mescheriakov G/F 0/0 NA NA NA


Player/position Hometown Recruiting ranking*

Greg Monroe F/C Harvey, La. 7.0

Henry Sims, F Baltimore 40.3

Jason Clark, G Arlington 66.7

Julian Vaughn F Vienna Florida State transfer**

* Average ranking from, and ESPN

** Must sit out the coming season as a practice-only player
per NCAA rules

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

No Bras next year.

Yikes! We are going to be thin up front! This is from

Six-foot-8 senior forward Chris Braswell will return to Hargrave Military Academy for a postgrad year. The Georgetown signee was more active this weekend than we've seen in the past; he scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the quarterfinals for Triple Threat.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rivers To Indiana

Several news sources, including The Washington Times, are reporting that Jeremiah Rivers, who announced his intention to leave Georgetown last week, will be heading to the University of Indiana. Rivers is the second major Big East defection to head to IU this offseason. Former Marquette coach, Tom Crean is also heading to Bloomington.

A couple of intersting notes from my man Barker's short article on this topic:
  • Indiana only has one guard returning with any experience. So, in that respect, the change makes sense for Jeremiah, who was looking to be the 3rd or 4th guard for the Hoyas.
  • Rivers reportedly felt that Crean's perimeter-oriented system would help improve his performance.
  • The Boston Globe reported yesterday that Doc Rivers was not happy with his son's decision to leave Georgetown.

There you go IPB, there's you opportunity to make some tangentially related Celtic's post.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's Official: Rivers is Gone

The Hoya has the scoop:

This transfer is a little more understandable than Macklin's. From what we have seen, Clark is already a step better than Rivers and would have cut into his playing time considerably. I also understand these guys (Rivers and Macklin) wanting to take a year off to work on their games and to try to get into a system that may not require quite the skill level that JTIII's does. That said, JTIII really went all out to get them a great deal of experience, putting them into high-pressure games and asking them to make big plays, even as fans cringed. I don't think this transfer will affect us significantly, but I really wanted to JR to say. I loved the connection to Doc and I was hoping we could get the inside track on his little bro. Beyond that, he seemed like a nice kid what was working hard (as did Macklin). Oh well.

In other news, the Hoyas appear to be on the receiving end of a transfer. Julian Vaughn (6'10, 239) is leaving Florida State for the Hilltop. Vaughn averaged 3 points and 2.3 rebounds as a freshman at Florida State, over 13.3 minutes per game. One interesting tid-bit, Vaughn had some weird medical condition last year, that probably contributed to his lackluster performance: My guess is that, like Macklin and Rivers, he probably welcomes the year off to work on his game. One nice bonus is that Vaughn, like JTIII's other two most recent recruits, Monroe and Thompson, is an outstanding student. His GPA at Oak Hill Academy was over 3.7; Vaughn's father is a Cornell alum.

I suppose it is worth wondering if this indicates anything about Chris Braswell's status. With all of the transfers, I sort of doubt it. Vaughn played for DC Assault, so I assume that Coach Cox knew Vaughn and wanted him at the Hilltop.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Macklin to Florida

The Florida media is reporting that Vernon Macklin will be transferring to the University of Florida.

I have to say, I'm a little surprised that Florida would expend a scholarship on a player like Macklin. Not ot say that he's not talented, but a scholarship is a valuable commodity for a big program like Florida and Macklin will only be able to contribute for a year -- and that's assuming that he actually fits into the Gator's scheme.

Very interesting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Barker on Ticket's Strange Decision

Strange timing for Macklin's departure

While there were few answers given to the media for public consumption in the aftermath of the strangest episode of the JTIII era, a reliable source assured us that Macklin's decision wasn't triggered by academic issues nor the competitive challenge of the program's elite trio of incoming frontcourt recruits (Greg Monroe, Henry Sims and Chris Braswell). Rather, Macklin's decision was based on the advice of those inside his circle but outside the program that his growth as a player was being stunted at Georgetown. Said the source: "Ticket [Macklin's nickname] chose to listen to what he wanted to hear from some folks outside the program, rather than what he needed to hear from those within it. When expectations don't meet reality, the hardest thing to do is point the finger at yourself." The picture of Macklin as hoops prima donna isn't pretty. From a strictly basketball perspective, Macklin's timing couldn't be more perplexing. After waiting his turn for two years behind an All-American center (Roy Hibbert), Macklin was finally going to be given the opportunity to shine next season. ... and in a more up-tempo scheme that would have accentuated his strengths (transition speed) while de-emphasizing his weaknesses (halfcourt post-up strength). And yet, Macklin chose to walk out the door just when his ultimate window of opportunity as a Hoya was opening.

The Big Ticket Is Leaving Georgetown

Fox Sports is reporting that Vernon Macklin is leaving the Hilltop. This could be huge for the Hoyas, who are obviously losing a considerable inside presence with the graduation of Roy Hibbert and Big East Sixth Man of the Year, Patrick Ewing Jr. Though several new big men will be arriving on the Hilltop next year, Macklin was poised to get considerable playing time next season -- especially if he could build upon the flashes of greatness he demonstrated down the stretch this past season.

We'll report more when additional information becomes available...and when I finish up a couple of projects here at work.

Georgetown reserve sophomore and former McDonald's All-American Vernon Macklin is transferring out of the program, according to sources close to the situation.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound athletic big man played sparingly behind Roy Hibbert in his first two seasons in college. Hibbert graduated after this past season, but the Hoyas will bring in one of the most talented frontcourt players in the country in skilled freshman Greg Monroe.
Macklin averaged 3.4 points and 2.1 rebounds this past season while playing 12.8 minutes per game.

P.S. - Thanks to Behemoth for alerting me to this story.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jester!

I hope you and the Mrs. do something special to celebrate.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

WaPost on Chris Braswell

We've known for some time that Braswell might not be showing up on the Hilltop in the fall. This article goes a long way to clarifying the situation. Hopefully, he can make it.

Unlocking the Door to His Future

The end of a curious high school career could come today for Braswell when he suits up for the Capital All-Stars in the Capital Classic at Comcast Center. The player once dubbed the Washington area's next great big man orally committed to the Hoyas in October 2006, but it's far from certain when he will suit up. Braswell repeated the eighth grade at Andrew Jackson Middle School in Forestville. Then, he spent his freshman year at Suitland dogged by rumors of poor grades and attendance. He spent the next two years at DeMatha, but he missed the final six weeks of his second season there without any explanation. He's spending this year at Hargrave Military Academy, a landing spot for athletes hoping the strict environment will help them improve their grades and gain initial NCAA eligibility. If Braswell can complete the class work this spring and summer to satisfy those eligibility requirements, and enroll at Georgetown in August, he expects the skeptics to say there is something fishy. If Braswell cannot, and has to return to Hargrave for all or part of the 2008-09 school year, he expects those people will say they knew it all along: Chris Braswell is a bad kid who can't do any schoolwork. "People are running their mouths about me," Braswell said. "But they don't know what I'm going through." A year ago, Braswell discovered he had a learning disability, which explains his childhood of academic struggles.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More 2009 predictions

Fox Sports has the Hoyas a #5, but Andy Katz has us all the way down at #19. I think that may be more realistic, but it is worth pointing out that he does not take into account players leaving for the draft. For instance, he has Cuse at #18 thanks to the play of Donte Green, who announced for the draft yesterday.

From Fox:

5) Georgetown
2007-08 Resume: 28-6, lost to Davidson in 2nd round of NCAA
Likely Early Departure: None
The Hoyas lose plenty of experience with the departure of four seniors, including starting point guard Jonathan Wallace and 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert. However, John Thompson III will likely have Dajuan Summers back, and he'll have a far more athletic group. Jessie Sapp and Austin Freeman return in the backcourt, and look for Chris Wright to take the reins from Wallace as the starting point guard. The Hoyas also add a strong recruiting class led by the consensus No. 1 player in skilled big man Greg Monroe.

Andy Katz:

19. Georgetown
John Thompson III has kept the Hoyas winning, regardless of personnel losses (like Jeff Green) that might have otherwise dropped them out of the Top 25. Georgetown still has a core group of players that can run the Hoyas' system, like Jessie Sapp, DaJaun Summers, Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jeremiah Rivers around one of the top big man recruits in the country in Greg Monroe.
Why not? Losing Roy Hibbert and adding Monroe won't be a crusher. Not having Patrick Ewing Jr. takes away an athletic finisher. But, perhaps, the biggest loss will be not having point guard Jonathan Wallace. There are not many glue-guy point guards in the country that had as much to do with his team winning a conference championship like Wallace.

Jason Clark: All-Met Player of the Year

Jason follows in the footsteps of Austin Freeman to be named the Player of the Year by the Washington Post. Congraulations Jason! We can't wait to see you in action next year.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Congrats to Kansas. Now, on to next year!

Luke Winn already has an early look at the top teams in the country next year, with the Hoyas coming in at #8. Here's his take:

8. GEORGETOWN - Greg Monroe is no Greg Oden, but the 6-10 forward from Harvey, La., is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2008 and will help fill the void left by center Roy Hibbert's graduation. Look for unsung point guard Jessie Sapp to emerge as the Hoyas' MVP.

I'm as excited as anyone about next year, but let's not get too caught up in expectations. The Hoyas will be a young team with scary but unmolded talent. Let them develop at their own pace. No one would accuse me of being short on enthusiasm for the Hoyas, but this year was the first year since JTIII arrived that seemed to me to be a bit joyless. No matter how well we did--and the Hoyas had a great season--there was a sense that the team was underachieving. I think it will be nice next year to get out from under the expectation that we have a Final Four caliber squad. Could they actually be that good? Maybe, but I'm not counting on it. I just want to see some great basketball with exciting young talents like Chris Wright, Austin Freeman, and Greg Monroe. If they turn out to be great, we'll all enjoy it that much more. So when does Kenner League start up???

An "Illustrated" History Of Pat Ewing Sr.

As part of its coverage of Pat Ewing's selection for the basketball hall of fame, has a great series of photos documenting his career. It's definitely worth the visit.

Monday, April 07, 2008

PE2 Is Sick!

Pat Ewing Jr.'s days as a Georgetown Hoya are coming to an end. But, seriously, he deserves to go to the NBA. Why you ask, since he did not even start for most of his senior year.

The answer, my friends, is because of this dunk. This dunk, by itself, qualifies him in my mind.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


There is a good deal of All-American news on the Hilltop these days. Two future Hoyas made the Parade All-American list for 2008. Greg Monroe was, of course, a first team All-American. And Henry Sims made the fourth team. Congrats to both!

As for current Hoyas, Roy Hibbert was named a second team All-American, making him the second Hoya to receive such an honor during the JTIII era. (Jeff Green made the third team last year.) When discussing Roy's place among Georgetown's great centers, it is noteworthy that Dikembe Mutombo was only a third team All-American in his senior year. Of course, Roy's place in the pantheon at this point will depend on his performance in the NBA.

On last piece of good news, Jeff Green will be attending summer school at Georgetown this summer. He is reportedly 24 credits shy of graduation, so it sounds like he still has maybe three or four summers in front of him before finishing. I hope he sets a model for other Georgetown players who leave early. It would be great if under JTIII everyone who doesn't transfer earns a Georgetown degree.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Greg Monroe at the McDonald's All-American Game

I didn't catch the McDonald's All-American game last night. Maybe someone else who did can comment. But it appears that future Hoya, and No. 1 high school player, Greg Monroe, laid an egg. This is what had to say about the game.

Greg Monroe, considered the nation's top player by recruiting sites and, had a tough game for the West, committing five turnovers and scoring one point after an 0-for-2 performance from the field. He had six rebounds.
Based upon Greg's performances in the big, televised games he's appeared in this season, I'm not expecting him to shine right away on the Hilltop. It seems that after this year's disappointing run in the tournament, next year will not provide any quick fixes.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Friday, March 21, 2008

UMBC Point Spread

Georgetown is a 17 point favorite in today's opening round game, making them one of the heaviest favorites on the board (behind only UNC, Memphis and Tennessee). The over/under is 131.5. Go Hoyas!

Point spreads/odds provided for recreational purposes only

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Greg Monroe Named High School Baller of the Year

Firmly solidifying his claim on being the #1 high school player of 2008, Greg Monroe was named this month the Morgan Wootten National High School Basketball Player of the Year on the McDonald's All-American team. Past winners include Kevin Love (2007), Greg Oden (2006), Josh McRoberts (2005), Dwight Howard (2004), LeBron James (2003), Chris Duhon (2000), Jason Williams (1999), and Shane Battier (1997). Monroe is the first Hoya to achieve this honor. Congratulations, Greg!

The Washington Post On The Hoyas' First Round Match Up

The Washington Post has a good article today on UMBC and their preparations for meeting Georgetown. The main point is that many UMBC players know the Hoyas. Some played against future-Hoyas during their days of high school basketball. Some play in the Kenner League during the summers. Some transferred from the JMU team that squared up against the Hoyas a few years ago. The point is the Retrievers come into the game with their eyes wide open.

If you think about it, that's the downside with playing a low-seeded team from the same geographic area as you. It's not like UMBC is playing Tennessee. Their local papers cover the Hoyas. The Hoyas are on TV around here. And many of these kids probably grew up as Georgetown fans.

Another Article To Get You Pumped For The Tourney

As should be expected, the last week has seen a flurry of great articles about the Hoyas. One of my favorites so far, however, is this one from the Wall Street Journal. The author, Nick Timiraos, is a Georgetown grad (C' 2006). The main thrust is, to put it succinctly, what a difference four years make. He recounts the Hoyas low point when he was an undergrad and their phoenix-like return to national prominence. Mr. Timiraos also astutely notes how fun this has been because of the quality student-athletes that have led the charge.

It is definitely worth a read.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hoyas in Sports Illustrated

This week's SI has really got me pumped for the tournament. On the cover is this outstanding shot of DaJaun Summers and inside is one of the best pieces written about JTIII I have read (and I've probably read them all!). Seriously, if you are a Hoyas fan take some time to read this.

Also recommended reading is the current AP story on Big Roy. It contains what is undoubtedly my favorite Roy Hibbert quote this side of "I am a monster. Be afraid." When asked about his interest in running for office with Jon Wallace, Hibbert quipped, "I’m nice. Jon’s a charming young chap. I’ll let him be at the top of the ticket. He can do all the work, and I’ll just go to funerals." I love Roy. He is treading into Gilbert Arenas quirkiness territory.

Tournament Comebacks

Interesting top 10 on CNNSI - best tournament comebacks. # 7 on their list was last year's G'town triumph over UNC in the Regional Finals. I must say, not only because I was there and G'town won, that this was quite possibly one of the best games I can remember (although the victory over Duke in 2005 was prety nice too). Mrs Stallion can vouch for the fact that with 7 minutes to go I was whispering to her that maybe we should head out to beat the bus line. To her credit, her faith in the Hoyas never waivered. Because I listened to my wife, I witnessed the most exicting 12 minutes of basketball I've ever seen. Althoug we sat deep in Tar Heal country in the last row of the arena, the game was awesome!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Another Final Four Prediction

I'm sure there are a lot of these out there, but I'm just noting them as I come across them. Jim O'Connell is predicting that Georgetown returns to the Final Four in a piece he wrote for the Associate Press.

* * *

GEORGETOWN (2) vs. Maryland-Baltimore County (15) — The Hoyas are
trying to return to the Final Four. The Retrievers are playing their first NCAA
tournament game.

* * *

GEORGETOWN vs. Davidson — Few teams have
the ability to shut down shooters the way the Hoyas do. Curry can ask Joe
Alexander of West Virginia.

* * *

GEORGETOWN vs. Southern Cal —
Hoyas center Roy Hibbert doesn't dominate every game, but his eyes will light up
against the Trojans who barely outrebounded their opponents this season.

* * *

Kansas vs. GEORGETOWN — The Hoyas return to the Final Four
in what has the trappings of an entertaining defensive matchup. The Jayhawks
keep looking to get there for the first time under coach Bill Self.

* * *

NORTH CAROLINA vs. Georgetown — When these teams met in the regional
final last year, the Tar Heels blew a late lead and turned it into a cause for
this season. They'll run their way to revenge to get to the Final....

A Number 2 Seed

So, we couldn't get the job done against Pitt in the Big East Tourney final. I think that we were really done in by foul trouble. Roy Hibbert got into trouble, which meant that one of Georgetown's best weapons on offense and defense spent a lot of time riding pine. DaJuan Summer fouled out with lots of time left to go in the second half, which meant the Hoyas were without their most explosive offensive player. And Jeremiah Rivers fouled out during crunch time, which means we were without our best, lock-down defender as we tried to make a run down the stretch (though it also meant we didn't have to watch any of his ill-advised shots, like the shot from the corner that he took that bounced off the side of the backboard; just plain ugly).

Still the Hoyas managed to get a number two seed in the Midwest. I don't know where they rank amoung the two seeds yet, but I figure that it must be pretty high. They avoided the brutal Eastern Region, where Tennessee got punished as the two seed. And I heard the head of the NCAA Selection Committee say last night on ESPN's Bracketology that Georgetown is playing in Raleigh instead of Duke because we were a higher rated #2 than they were and it was the closest venue that we were allowed to play in.

I haven't really studied the bracket yet, but my initial reaction is that we got a good draw. Don't get me wrong, assuming that we handle UMBC, every subsequent game will be a struggle. The next game will feature the winner of Gonzaga or Davidson; two excellent mid-major teams. And then we would likely play Wisconsin, the winner of the Big Ten regular season and tournament (though it is possible we could have to play one of the freshman phenoms if Kansans State or Southern Cal pulls the upset). If we get through those teams, we have to take on the Big 12-champs, Kansas; a team that I think could very well win it all. Still, I think that the Hoyas have a chance against all of these teams.

In fact, I heard Dick Vitale on ESPN radio's Mike & Mike show this morning (he was on right before JTIII). He said that he had Georgetown beating Kanasas in the Elite Eight to return to the Final Four! You have to like that.

Friday, March 14, 2008

On to the finals

Admittedly, I didn't get to see the entire game; however, from what I saw, Roy seemed to step it up big time. 25 points / 13 boards done quite efficiently & effectively in his 28 or so minutes of PT. I know that I've been critical of Roy at times during the season (& yesterday); however, tonight, I must give him due credit for a job well done. With a nearly 2 to 1 rebound advantage of the 'Neers, the paint, as well as the entire garden floor, belonged to the Hoyas. The big guy looked pumped up out there from tip-off.

No need for a recap as I'm assuming that most, if not all of my fellow VBB watched the game, but I must say that the Hoyas looked tough tonight. I have trouble thinking of anything not positive about the result of this game. Having said that, here's to a big game from the big man.

Although I witnessed the Hoyas cut down the nets at the Garden last year, I am sad to say that I will not be there to see it tomorrow night. To cite one of Jester's prior postings, I think at this point, a # 2 seed is looking quite realistic. While I am by no means looking past Pitt or Marquette (I'm typing this post as the nightcap game is on), I personally would have love to have seen a G'town / L'ville BE final matchup. 24 hours till we find out if the Hoyas cut down the nets again.

PS - I may have been asleep at the wheel when we discussed this, but I thought Chris Wright was redshirting this year?? Did I miss that message?

Down Goes Nova; Bring On The 'Neers

What a bizarre game.

For the first time since his freshman year in high school, Roy Hibbert laid a doughnut. His final line was no points on 0-2 shooting with four rebounds, no blocks, and four turnovers in 14 minutes of play before fouling out. That’s horrible. And his replacement, Vernon Macklin, was almost as bad. The Big Ticket had no points on 0-1 shooting with four rebounds, three blocks, and three turnovers in 15 minutes of play before fouling out. Georgetown’s post players only took 3 shots! And some how the Hoyas still one…big…against a team that was needed a win to write their ticket to the Big Dance and who felt like we had stolen a win from the earlier in the season. Incredible.

The story of the game was, obviously, the team’s three-point shooting. The Hoyas finished with a school-record 17 three pointers, which also tied a Big East Tournament record. For the game the team shot just over 60% from Three-Point Land (17-28), but there were stretches where it seemed that we could not miss. Jon Wallace was lights out in the first half. Before the first-half buzzer sounded he had scored 19 points; 15 of which came on his 5 for 5 shooting from beyond the arc. And quite a few of them were well beyond that arc. They were solid NBA threes. Jessie Sapp shot 6 for 9 from down town on his way to a game-high 23 points. Summers was 3 for 5, and Freeman was 1 for 3.

But one of the biggest stories of the game was Chris Wright. After missing all of conference play with an injured foot, and after only returning to full practices in the last week or so, Chris stepped right in without missing a beat. He came in early in the first half to spell Wallace and within seconds he had nailed his first three-pointer. He finished the game 2 for 3 from down town, and had four assists with no turnovers in 15 minutes of play. Chris definitely added something to the Hoyas’ guard play. He looked confident handling the rock and, in my opinion, helped Georgetown push through the Villanova’s full-court press more effectively. Wright’s return adds some great depth to the team for both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. I’m very happy that he was able to play.

The West Virginia Mountaineers beat the Connecticut Huskies yesterday in a match-up of the two other teams that Georgetown beat on crazy last second plays (a last second block by Ewing in Morgantown and a three-pointer by Roy Hibbert against UConn in DC). I think it will be a good match up tonight. Joe Alexander was fantastic for the ‘Neers yesterday and could cause trouble for Georgetown. But I think the Hoyas will find a way to contain him and will come away with the victory. That would set up a game against either Pitt or Marquette for the Big East Championship. To be honest, I’m pulling for Pitt in the other game. I’d love a chance to avenge our lost at the Peterson Events Center. Pitt is the only Big East team that we played this year without beating. Wouldn’t it be great to change that?

Let’s hope Georgetown wins tonight and we get the chance!

Other notes: Yesterday, after the game, I found some video on showing a post-game interview of Jonathan Wallace and Jay Bilas. I can't find it now, but let me just say it made me feel uneasy. Jay’s infatuation with Jon is scary. At one point during the interview Jay commented on how he thought other players might start wearing the protective wrap that Wallace has had on his wrist if it led to a shooting performance like Wallace had against Nova. As Bilas said this he reached out and grabbed Jon’s hand. He proceeded to turn his hand-grab into an end-of-interview handshake, but I definitely felt that Jay’s hand-hold lingered a little too long. He definitely loves J-Wall.

Speaking of Wallace, a commenter on one of the previous posts noted that ESPN analysts had been playing up the prospect of Wallace and Ewing Jr. being NBA prospects. I love those guys, but I just don’t see it. I just don’t know how they can be competitive at that next level. This is especially true of Wallace. He’s not that quick and he’s not an outstanding ball-handler or defender. He’s good at those things, but not NBA good. Ewing might be another story, but I doubt it. He just isn’t that consistent of a shooter and I have a hard time seeing him transition effectively to the NBA. He’s crazy athletic, but so are a lot of guys playing Division I ball. That being said, if he has an outstanding NCAA Tournament I might see a franchise taking a chance on him; especially given his famous dad. But right now, I’d be shocked. I’m no expert on the NBA. I like to keep focused on the Hoyas. But I just don’t get the vibe that either player has a realistic chance at a career in the Association. I think I’ll just chock this one up to ESPN’s analysts trying to hype up the game.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Big East Tournament Odds

As expected, the Hoyas are favored to win the Big East tournament, with Louisville as a close second. Here are the odds currently listed on bodog - sorry Providence fans.

Georgetown 3-2
Louisville 2-1
Connecticut 5-1
Notre Dame 10-1
West Virginia 10-1
Marquette 12-1
Syracuse 12-1
Pittsburgh 12-1
Villanova 15-1
Seton Hall 30-1
Cincinnati 30-1
Providence 40-1

Odds provided for recreational purposes only

Georgetown Up To A 2 Seed?

I caught a few minutes of Joe Lunardi's appearance on Tony Kornheiser's radio show this morning. Mr. Lunardi now has the Hoyas as a 2 seed in his most recent bracketology.

I think that's about right.

Cabinet Officials, And Mayors, And Owners, Oh My!

The New Yorker magazine recently ran a commentary by Hendrik Hertzberg suggesting that John McCain would be well served by selecting Condoleezza Rice as his vice presidential running mate. I don't know whether or not that would be a politically expedient decision for Senator McCain, but I do know that my opinion of the Secretary of State recently improved with her decision to attend Georgetown's home finale against Louisville. Not only did Ms. Rice attend the game, but she apparently knows a fair amount about college basketball -- as the beginning of the embedded video below demonstrates.

And the Secretary of State wasn't the only DC celebrity to grace the Verizon Center this weekend. The list of luminaries included: Mayor Adrian Fenty; Washington Redskins Jason Campbell and Carlos Rogers; Capitals owner (and Georgetown alumnus) Ted Leonsis; and new Nationals owner Mark Lerner. Pat Ewing Sr. and Jeff Green's mom were also there.

Ted Leonsis was asked to explain the recent increase in interest in the Hoyas. His simple answer was: "Georgetown's back."

We are indeed.

There Are No Cinderellas

This is the first of two Georgetown videos I saw on Dan Steinberg's DC Sports Bog over at, which I just had to post. It's the latest ad from Nike's Jumpman 23 line and it prominently features JTIII and the Georgetown Hoyas.

Nice. Very nice.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Big East Tournament Seeds

Even with the #1 seed, we have a formidable road ahead. I don't want to hear about the PAC 10 or ACC - to me, the Big East is clearly the toughest conference in college basketball.

2008 BIG EAST championship presented by AĆ©ropostale

Wednesday, March 12 – First Round (ESPN)

Noon No. 8 Villanova vs. No. 9 Syracuse

2:00 No. 5 West Virginia vs. No. 12 Providence

7:00 No. 7 Pittsburgh vs. No. 10 Cincinnati

9:00 No. 6 Marquette vs. No. 11 Seton Hall

Thursday, March 13 – Quarterfinals (ESPN)

Noon No. 1 Georgetown vs. 8/9 winner

2:00 No. 4 Connecticut vs. 5/12 winner

7:00 No. 2 Louisville vs. 7/10 winner

9:00 No. 3 Notre Dame vs. 6/11 winner

Friday, March 14 – Semifinals (ESPN)

7:00 Thursday afternoon winners

9:00 Thursday evening winners

Saturday, March 15 – Championship (ESPN)

9:00 Semifinal winners

Out Of Great Silence

Silence. Stone cold silence. For the last couple of weeks that is what you’ve gotten out of old Jester. I could have written. In fact, I had a couple of solid posts in mind. I had a “We’re Just Not That Good Post” already penned in my brain. And I had a “The MSM Gives Us No Respect” article. But I was taking a stand. My co-contributors weren’t posting, and I wasn’t going to carry the load myself. The Iceman offered to step in. But, no offense to Iceman, if he was the only one posting then it really wouldn’t be the VBB, would it?

But the Stallion came to the rescue. The guy works all day, goes to school all night, and has an infant to take care of. Yet he still found a way to post. If that isn’t inspiring I don’t know what is.

Oh wait, yes I do – The Hoyas.

What a game against Louisville! The Phone Booth was jumping on Saturday afternoon my friends. I can’t even remember a game that loud at Verizon. And despite some of the worst dunking that mankind has ever seen during the first half (DaJuan missed his third dunk in the last two games, and Macklin missed a dunk on an otherwise good move), Georgetown was playing some very good basketball. Their defense was insane. Louisville only managed 19 points in the first half. By my count they were 8 for 21 from the field (38%). And they made only one three-pointer in eight attempts. The Hoyas went into halftime up six. And after a barrage of excellent shots from Austin Freeman towards the beginning of the second half the Hoyas were up 11 and I started to day dream about how a blow-out of the Cardinals would change the public perception of Georgetown’s chances in the NCAA Tournament.

Of course, I was getting ahead of myself. The Hoyas went through an eight-minute stretch where they only managed four points, and the Cardinals tied up the game at 44 all. But the Hoyas did what they’ve done well all season. Louisville took a 51-50 lead with a little over three and a half minutes remaining and Georgetown ratcheted up its defense to close out the game, limiting the Cardinals to only one more point. They worked methodically on the offensive end of the floor and found an open DaJuan Summers for an open three point shot with 40 seconds to play. It wasn’t the blow out I had dreamed of with 15 minutes to play, but it was another classic, JTIII win — a close game where the Hoyas came out on top.

Now, this is not a game that is going to prove to the MSM that they’ve been wrong about Georgetown this year. The powers-that-be have suggested that Georgetown is overrated, and have consistently picked against them in all of their big games. Against Marquette two weekends ago I couldn’t find anyone who thought the Hoyas would win. But they did. This weekend everyone expected Louisville to write the final chapter in the story of their heroic comeback from injuries to become the team everyone thought they would be at the beginning of the season. But they came up just short. But in both of these Georgetown victories, like so many Hoya victories this year, it wasn’t clear that Georgetown was going to win until that final buzzer sounded. When a shot or two falling the other way could turn a victory into a loss, people say that you are lucky. Sometimes that’s true. But when a trend develops where you are always winning those close games, you can’t call it luck. Georgetown is now 6-0 in games decided by 5 points or less.

I’m almost a believer. I used to panic down the stretch. We’d approach the final minute or two of the game, we’d be up by one, down by two, or whatever, and I would start to say to myself “we’re going to lose; I know it, we’re going to lose.” But we wouldn’t. Time and again we’d pull out a “W.” I’ve grown so use to it that in the final minutes of the Louisville game I never had that thought. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous as hell. I still cheered until I was horse when DaJuan’s three-pointer fell. My heart was still racing. But I didn’t expect to lose. I had faith. Just like the Hoyas’ players do.

The players, led by their corps of outstanding seniors, trust in the system and trust in each other. The Hoyas are consistently balanced in their offensive attack. All of the starters had between 6 and 15 points. Austin Freeman led the team with 15 and had one stretch where he scored eight straight points for the Hoyas. Hibbert did not score until the final seconds of the first half, but came alive in the second and finished with 12. Summers had 8, including that huge three-pointer. The point is you never know where the knock-out blow is going to come from with these Hoyas. A lot of people have faulted the team (and Roy Hibbert) because there is no “go-to guy.” But that’s the genius of what JTIII has developed on the Hilltop. All of the players are go-to guys. You just don’t know who that guy is going to be until after it happens. Georgetown doesn’t have to worry about their star having an off night. No one player is expected to carry the load.

All that being said, I still have concerns. Rebounding. It’s been one of our Achilles’ Heels all year. We out rebounded the Cardinals by 4, but I think it should have been by more. Why can’t Roy Hibbert have a 10-rebound game? He’s only had four this season and his last one was a month and a half ago against WVU. How on earth Jessie Sapp ends of the teams leading rebounder (7) is beyond me. This could be a problem come tournament time.

Of course, Achilles only had one weak heel. Georgetown has several. Turnovers are also a problem. We still had 17, against the Cardinals. Though I thought we were much more effective against the full-court press than we had been in previous games, this is still outrageous. We need to learn to take care of the ball.

The next week will be very telling. Despite getting the number one seed in the Big East Tourney, I think the Hoyas have a tough draw. They will have to play the winner of the Syracuse-Nova game, and I know that both teams believe that they can beat the Hoyas. The Orange already did once. And Nova might have had it not been for the last second (or, should I say, last fraction of a second) foul called with Jonathan Wallace 70 feet from the basket. I think either team can give Georgetown a fun for their money. Of course, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This is the Big East after all. There shouldn’t be any gimmees. If Georgetown wins that one, it’ll probably have to play West Virginia or Connecticut – two more teams that undoubtedly feel like they should have beat Georgetown. Against the ‘Neers the Hoyas survived thanks to a last-second block by Pat Ewing that some (wrongly) believed was a goal tend. Against UConn Georgetown escaped thanks to a last-minute three-pointer by Big Roy Hibbert. And who knows, if we can make it to the finals we may have to take on Louisville for a third time…this time on a neutral court. One thing is clear. If Georgetown can run the table again and win the Big East Tournament they will have proven themselves to be a formidable team going into the NCAAs.

If that doesn’t earn us at least a two-seed, there is no justice.