The Van Buren Boys

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

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.