What an impressive win by the Georgetown Hoyas over the #2-ranked UConn Huskies last night! UConn’s starting line-up featured five NBA-quality players (all juniors and seniors), including 7-foot, 3-inch Hasheem Thabeet (the nation’s top shot-blocker). Plus, the game was on the road.
The Hoyas, with three sophomores and freshman, were the decided underdogs, but they came out smoking – quickly jumping to an 18 – 3 lead! And, Greg Monroe, perhaps the best freshman in the country, totally out-played Thabeet. They had balanced scoring — as Monroe, Summers, Freeman and Wright all scored in double figures. What a great start to Big East play!
I’ve been a Hoyas for a long time. I still recall sadly watching Freddie Brown throw away the pass near the end of the championship game against UNC (where UNC frosh, Michael Jordan, canned the game-winning shot). But, then joyously watching the Hoyas defeat Hakeem and the Houston Cougars the next year for their first-ever national championship.
It’s been a great joy to watch the program over the years … Coach Thompson II (Big John) created such a great program at Georgetown. The success of the program helped raise the profile of Georgetown Univ across the nation … and helped it become an “it” school for many years. As important, Coach Thompson also helped so many of his student-athletes become successes, both on and off the court. Yes, there are the many NBA players like Iverson, Mourning, Ewing, etc, but there’s also the success stories of a Ralph Dalton (who got his MBA and worked on Wall Street) and Michael Jackson (who got his Masters from Harvard’s Kennedy School).
Then, in a unique twist, John Thompson III took over the program in 2004. I’ve known John a long time (he played and coached at Princeton with a couple of good friends of mine — Howie Levy and Joey Scott). He and his wife, Monica, are tremendous people. It must give Big John so much joy and satisfaction to see his son continue the excellence for the program he single-handedly created.
Back in 2004, my mentor Ted Leonsis (who is a GU grad and strong supporter of Hoyas basketball), asked to meet JT III when he first came back to DC (my friendship with Ted started in Spring ’95 with a discussion about our love of Hoyas basketball – the first emails I exchanged w/ him were all about GU basketball). JT didn’t have a lot of quality players on that first team – and people didn’t expect much that first year – but his “Princeton Motion” offense played immediate dividends. In fact, in the first four years at GU, JTIII has won a couple of regular season Big East titles, made it to the Final Four, named Coach of the Year, etc.
The foundation is now in place. The Georgetown Hoyas should be a strong contender for the Big East and NCAA Tourney titles for years to come … just like in the ’80’s when his father’s Hoyas dominated the action. Hoya Saxa!