There have been 34 coaching changes in Division I this season but only remains vacant. Various reports suggest Georgetown has now engaged an executive search firm to assist in the search. With the basketball coaches convention this weekend in Phoenix, Georgetown's search figures to be a major topic. So what are the pros and cons of the Georgetown job?
1. Tradition. Among teams below the major college football level, no program has the name recognition of Georgetown.
2. Salary. John Thompson III's salary was among the top 10 in the nation, and various reports suggest Gerogetown is not cutting costs if the right candidate steps forward.
4. Access To Talent.
5. Practice Facility
2. Athletic Emphasis.
3. Current Talent.
4. Recruiting Standards.
A few thoughts on a coaching search that may be over before we least expect it:
1. Georgetown is change-averse. Since 1976, there have been only three presidents at Georgetown University and three head basketball coaches. Coincidence, perhaps, but it's reflective that Georgetown likes coaches and administrators who are prepared to stay for for the long run and are not using the schools as a stepping stone. No one is going to cite former athletic director Bernard Muir as an example, but others have.
Change works well at some places. Xavier coaches come and go and the program gets better all the time. A look at the line of XU coaches in the last 35 years is impressive (Bob Staak, Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser, Thad Matta, Sean Miller, Chris Mack). Other schools, less so: here's the list of coaches at Seton Hall since P.J. Carlesimo left: George Blaney, Tommy Amaker, Louis Orr, Bobby Gonzalez, Kevin Willard.
2. Georgetown doesn't like to rotate coaches in and out, and needs to think long and hard about when that next rotation will inevitably come. Of the six names tossed about in the press as potential candidates, three are over the age of 50.
Which brings Georgetown to an inconvenient truth: Patrick Ewing is not an ideal candidate. Putting all the hagiography aside, the 54 year old Ewing has never coached a team before. The job of an NBA assistant is about positions, and while Ewing may have taught the art of the NBA center in various stops, he's not calling plays and he certainly isn't knocking on doors to talk to 17 year old kids that never saw him play. Major college basketball is not a place for on the job training, and a big name only gets you so far--there's a reason why Alabama returned to greatness under a former defensive back from Kent State and not someone named Namath, Starr, or Stabler.
3. The ideal candidate likely finds itself in a Venn diagram of sorts between four factors: youth, experience, local impact, and integrity.
Shaka Smart seems too good to be true: 39 years old, a bonafide star in coaching circles (2016-17 notwithstanding), and someone who gets it when it comes to recruiting and winning the right way. Smart is tied to a long term deal at Texas (2022-23) and doesn't want to be seen as cutting and running, although another season or two like this past year and it won't matter, because Texas will cut him loose first. (A small note: if Smart were to terminate his own contract, he owes the school $500,000 and a two game series for Texas with whatever school he goes to. If he waits until May 1, that number drops to $400,000.)
Dan Hurley, 44, just piloted Rhode Island to its best season in 20 years. He has the Big East pedigree and the ties to recruiting in the Northeast that John Thompson III often lacked. What he doesn't have is the ties to Washington DC and the inevitable chatter that a coach from outside DC is a calculated move away from the Thompson-Esherick-Thompson line of succession. Hurley will coach in the Big East someday, that's almost a given. Where and when is the question. His URI contract runs through 2019-20.
The youngest of the names in the news is 34 year old Richard Pitino. He's got the name, the style of play, and he's even got a brother that went to Georgetown. He's also carrying his father's name and the damage of a series of off the court incidents at Minnesota. Second generation coaches have worked at Georgetown, but would he be committed for the long run? His contract runs through 2021-22 and like most on this list, would require some sort of termination penalty to leave.
Two other coaches also are getting some online ink. At 57, Mike Brey would seem unlikely, but he's a DC native and has a national reputation for getting the most out of his players, something john Thompson III did not do. Why Brey would leave Notre Dame is one story, but it is an issue that the school has been dawdling on building him a new practice facility. He's 12 wins from passing Richard (Digger) Phelps as the all time winningest coach in South Bend, and his contract runs through 2021-22.
Tommy Amaker, 51, is no longer a "young" coach. His Duke degree and his academically-oriented wife (psychologist Stephanie Pinder-Amaker) fit the bill of a school that sells academics like GU, but his coaching career is a decidedly mixed one: one NCAA bid in four years at Seton Hall, no NCAA's in six years at Michigan, and a Harvard team where Amaker was accused of gaming the Ivy league admissions process to turn a moribund Crimson program into a winner from 2010-14, but without the same success over the last two seasons. A local DC product, Amaker is not a candidate for other high profile positions--his last serious offer was for Boston College in 2011 and he turned it down.
4. Which begs the question: is there someone else out there? A younger coach with a higher upside would be a change of pace in terms of name and recruiting recognition, but it's a tougher argument to sell. Yes, John Thompson was 29 when he became head coach in 1972, but Georgetown may be too big a job to hire an assistant--32 year old maryland assistant Dustin Clark or 40 year old Duke assistant Nate James may be out of scope as a result.
5. Some names you won't hear at all: Georgetown assistant coaches, past or present. The GU coaching tree not a distinguished one and only three of JT III's 11 assistants ever made head coach. Of these, Robert Burke dropped out of coaching in 2012, Sydney Johnson is 90-108 at Fairfield and Mike Brennan is 57-60 at American. Much like former one year assistants Jaren Jackson and Chuck Driesell, Akbar Waheed and Anthony Solomon are more than likely looking elsewhere in 2017-18.
Georgetown's only alumni in head coaching are Horace Broadnax (198-299 at Savannah State) and Mike Riley (37-73 at UDC).
If Georgetown wants a real upward change in this program, and not to return to this same search in a few years, it should go young. The top coaches in this conference each arrived with youth on its side--Jay Wright was 40 when he took the Villanova job, Chris Mack was 40, Chris Holtmann 42, and Steve Wojciechowski 38. And Jack DeGioia was 44 when he took his job at Georgetown. It's worked out pretty well.
For only the third time in forty-five years, Georgetown University is seeking a new men's basketball coach, as the school fired 13-year head coach John Thompson III following consecutive 18-loss seasons. The architect of a remarkable Final Four run in 2007, the 51 year old Thompson struggled as Georgetown dropped steadily in the reconfigured Big East Conference.
"It is with profound regret and deep appreciation that I informed John Thompson III this morning that the University will no longer be retaining his services as our Head Men's Basketball Coach," said University President John DeGioia (C'79, G'95) in a news release announcing the decision. "For thirteen years, he has been one of the elite coaches in college basketball. His performance as a coach has been exceptional, and he has served our community with remarkable distinction and integrity, sustaining our commitment to the academic performance of our students and providing them with the very best preparation for their lives beyond the Hilltop. Our tradition of excellence as a University will forever be inextricably linked with John and his family."
Thompson was 278- 151 (.653) in his 13 seasons at Georgetown, the second most wins of any coach and the second longest tenure, both trailing his father, John Thompson (1972-99). In his last four seasons, however, he was 69-62 (.526) and was the first coach to suffer back to back losing seasons since Jack Magee in 1970-71 and 1971-72, the latter of which led to his resignation under fire.
The younger Thompson arrived to the Hilltop in 2004 following a 14-16 season from Craig Esherick and Esherick's abrupt firing on March 17, 2004. Esherick, a 1978 alumnus who fatefully offered that he would be part of Georgetown "for another 30 years", cut all ties with the University following his dismissal.
From Thompson's opening season in 2005, which resulted in an NIT berth, the Hoyas rocketed skyward. A 2006 upset of #1 Duke led the Hoyas to the 2006 NCAA regionals, where they fell in the final moments to eventual national champion Florida. A year later, the Hoyas won its first Big East tournament title since 1989. Powered by emotional wins over Vanderbilt and North Carolina, the Hoyas reached the Final Four for the first time in 22 years, falling to Ohio State. The 2007-08 team may have been one of Georgetown's all-time best, winning the regular season title and entering the NCAA's with a 27-5 record. A second round game versus #10 seed Davidson proved a turning point in Thompson's tenure: the Hoyas lost a 16 point second half lead behind 36 points from Stephen Curry, knocking the Hoyas out of the tournament. For each of its next four NCAA appearances, the Hoyas (with no seed lower than #6) were defeated by double digit seeds, raising doubts on Thompson's coaching abilities.
Georgetown managed just one NCAA appearance in its last four seasons, but back to back losing seasons ignited a firestorm of resentment, particularly among students and younger alumni who had no memory of the remarkable team play displayed in Thompson's earliest years as coach. Following a trend seen in Esherick's final years, transfers and attrition led to a lack of talent in key positions and poor showings late in games. The 2016-17 team lost its final six games and a spotty recruiting list for 2017-18 was further damaged by the decision of guard Tremont Waters to decommit from Georgetown on March 12.
The Hoyas' hopes for 2017-18 may have played a factor in Thompson's exit. With four unfilled scholarships and significant losses in the starting lineups, next season figures to be even worse than 2016-17. Georgetown may have determined a rebuilding effort was needed to start now and not another year later.
"Decisions like this are not easy to make and are not made without a thorough process," said athletic director Lee Reed, who will join former Georgetown letterman and board of directors chairman Paul Tagliabue (C'62) as the search committee. "Our focus now remains on supporting the student-athletes in our men's basketball program as we begin the process to identify a new coach who will lead us forward.
The tenor of the release strongly suggests this was not a mutual decision, complicated by Thompson's salary. An extension to his 2007 contract, signed in 2013, provided a steady increase in compensation which was last reported at over $3.6 million in 2015, the last public disclosure of salary information per non-profit reports. A sizable buyout would be expected upon a "termination for convenience", the legal term of a firing without cause.
The terms of the buyout are expected to remain confidential, but are germane to the coaching decision ahead of the school. The size and term of the buyout, which could range from one lump sum to a multi-year annuity, may ultimately determine the caliber of coach Georgetown is able to recruit and secure.
Further details on the decision remain guarded. The basketball office was uncharacteristically quiet throughout the last two weeks, with no news releases or social media messaging since the Hoyas lost to St. John's on March 10. Decisions on the assistant coaches were not announced, but it is likely they will not be retained. Two of the three coaches, Anthony Solomon and Akbar Waheed, arrived in the 2016-17 season; in a parallel to 2004, two of Craig ESherick's assistants were hired and fired within one season.
There's a long way to go for Georgetown, but when a seventh place team in the Big East conference is on the verge of a Final Four berth, opportunity awaits.
Additional news links follow below and will be updated on Friday:
ESPN.com is reporting junior guard L.J. Peak will forego his senior season and pursue the NBA draft.
The 6-5 junior averaged 16.3 points as the second leading scorer to Rodney Pryor this season, and was seen as likely to test the NBA waters. Peak led the team in scoring over 15 games, with a season high 24 in the Hoyas' season finale versus St. John's in the opener of the Big East tournament. His career high was 30 versus Villanova in the 2015-16 regular season finale.
Opinions on Peak's NBA chances are mixed. CBS Sports.com ranks Peak 49th among college recruits, with an increasing number of draft picks going to seldom seen, often unheard international prospects. Draft Express takes a more skeptical approach, ranking Peak 76th and saying that "While certainly improved, Peak is not a good enough ball-handler at this stage to be called upon to create offense for himself or others consistently at this stage. He doesn't change speeds or directions very effectively with the ball yet, being especially limited using his left hand, which makes it difficult for him to create high percentage looks for himself on the fly in the half-court. He's not incredibly creative with his finishes if he can't get right into the teeth of the defense, showing average touch on his floaters, and isn't a brilliant passer off the bounce either, demonstrating just average court vision."
Peak's career stats are below:
From the HoyaSaxa.com archives, March 21, 2007: "A Harris poll taken last week lists Georgetown as the nation's seventh most popular basketball team.
"The poll of 2,223 adults, with a statistical error of +/-2%, lists Georgetown seventh, its first placement in the poll since 1996. Eight of the top ten played in this year's NCAA tournament, with four of the remaining 16 represented in the poll, which was conducted before the beginning of the tournament."
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do newspapers.
With no press release or social media in over a week following Georgetown's loss in the Big East tournament, an editorial in The HOYA asks for greater transparency within the program.
"Regardless of whether Thompson is head coach next year, the Georgetown administration and athletic department must start treating its basketball program the way peer universities treat theirs," writes the paper.
No TV cameras. No cheerleaders. No fans.
For the third time in four years, Georgetown was nowhere to be seen on the NCAA selection show, thanks to a 14-18 season that leaves fans raising increasing questions on the viability of the men's basketball program.
Seven of the ten Big East schools earned a post-season invitation: Villanova, Creighton, Butler, Seton Hall, Marquette, Providence, and Xavier. It's the most teams invited from the conference on a percentage basis since 1990-91, when a remarkable seven of nine schools earned a bid.
No NIT bids were awarded, as Georgetown's recently adjacent peers, St. John's and DePaul, each turned in sub-.500 records, also rendering them ineligible for consideration.
Following the season-ending loss to St. John's in the opening game of the Big East tournament, head coach John Thompson III was asked where the program was positioned going forward.
"I don't think it's the time to do that," he said.
How does Georgetown's two year record compare against teams from the six major college basketball conferences (Big East, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC)?
The Hoyas' 29-36 mark ranks in the bottom 10 of the 75 major college teams represented among these conferences:
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The second half of the 2017 Big East final between Villanova and Creighton was rocked with news that Tremont Waters, a 2017 commitment for the Georgetown Hoyas and one of the top senior point guards in the nation, asked to be released from his national letter of intent signed in November.
ESPN's Adam Finklestein broke the news just after 7:00 pm EST, with Waters' family later confirming that Georgetown would not challenge Waters' decision to leave. The image above is listed as from Waters' Instagram account.
Waters chose Georgetown over offers from Kentucky, Indiana, Duke and Connecticut, among others, and the news adds growing public concerns about the men's basketball program following its early exit in the Big East tournament and consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72 and 1972-73.
Georgetown officials have not released any comment on the matter.
A missed layup. A missed put back. Game over.
The description could apply to any number of games in Georgetown's star-crossed 2016-17 season, a season where the Hoyas had all the tools but not the tenor to do what teams do to win. Instead, it came at a most painful of times--at season's end, as St. John's won its first Big East tournament game in six years via a 74-73 decision before a surprisingly large crowd for the dreaded Wednesday night early round at Madison Square Garden.
As fateful finishes go, this lacked the raw emotion of Jerome Williams' missed put back that would have won the 1996 Big East title over Connecticut and a #1 seed, sparing the Allen Iverson-led Hoyas a trip through the brackets with Massachusetts. Nor was it the "bang" heard at the end of the 2010 Big East title when a missed layup sounded the West Virginia musket and GU's pending assignment with Ohio, beginning a run of fateful first round losses. Instead, the bang was more of a whimper, with memories casting back to Nikita Mescheriakov's awkward shot off the side of the backboard in the 2009 opening round game, sending the Hoyas to the NIT and a half-hearted loss to Baylor.
There will be no NIT this year.
For the third time in four years, Georgetown found itself in the bottom of the bracket and for the second time bowed out with a resolutely poor performance. In a battle of Big East legacies, this was a battle of two not very good teams and each proved it.
The game mirrored so many of the tendencies which have made Georgetown painful to watch: inconsistency, poor defense, inattention to detail. L.J. Peak opened the game with a basket 29 seconds into the game, and failed to score for the rest of the half--in fact, he only took one shot the rest of the first half, saddled with early fouls. The Hoyas shot a powerful 7 of 10 from the field to open the game, charging to a 18-9 lead seven minutes into the first half. Any hopes of a redux to GU's walkover of the Redmen at Verizon Center were short-lived, as a prodigious run of Georgetown fouls kept the struggling Redmen hanging on.
Georgetown picked up its seventh foul less than eight minutes into the half, sending St. John's to the line 18 times by halftime. Two pair of free throws and a thee pointer keyed a 9-1 run that erased GU's early lead, whereupon marcus derrickson picked up two fouls in 43 seconds and joined Peak on the bench. Up three, 22-19, the normally sure handed Rodney Pryor missed both free throws, points that, like many mistakes of the first half, would come back to cast a specter over the second.
Missed shots were everywhere: the teams combined for 45 rebounds and missed 18 of 25 attempts from three point range. St. John's tied the score with under five minutes to halftime, as the two teams engaged in the Big east's version of "hot potato" down the stretch. Up two with 2:26 to halftime, Georgetown missed its last three from the field, as free throws and a layup by St. John's freshman Shamorie Ponds gave the Redmen a 38-34 lead at the half. Georgetown ended the period with 13 field goals and 14 fouls.
St. John's came out of the locker room ready to play and opened up a 51-43 lead, with four of its first five baskets by either dunk or layup against the tired Georgetown defense. Georgetown awoke to return six straight and tied the game at 51 on a Peak basket, the beginning of a great second half effort by the junior that will be quickly forgotten by Thursday morning. St. John's retook the lead and the margin hovered at four midway through the second half when St. John's Amir Alibegovic picked up a hard foul on a driving L.J. Peak under the Georgetown basket . A few words were exchanged, Alibegovic was assessed a technical, and that should ahve been it, but St. John's coach Chris Mullin pulled out a trick from the WWE and went across the floor to start barking at the Georgetown coaching staff, picking up a technical but not an ejection. In wrestling parlance, it's called "cheap heat", but it ignited the crowd and seemed to give his Redmen a boost of energy that it sorely lacked all evening.
Peak was the only hope Georgetown had Wednesday night and he practically willed the Hoyas to stay close in this game. Peak scored the Hoyas next 12 points as the Hoyas stood six points down with 2:58 to play. A jumper by Rodney Pryor closed to four, and two Peak drives late in the game were converted on the line to close the gap to 74-72 with 1:29 to play.
On its next series, Georgetown's defense held St. John's Marcus Lovett to a tough shot under the basket that was stopped and Georgetown looked to tie. Fouled with 42 seconds, Bradley Hayes missed a free throw and GU still trailed 74-73. Again the Hoyas held late, as Ponds missed a layup with 15 seconds and GU had one more chance. With the clock running down and no other options, Peak's drive to the basket missed with two seconds left, but fell into the hands of Derrickson, who only needed a short tap-in to end a three week losing streak and send the Hoyas to the quarterfinals. But like a shaky golfer with a case of the yips, Derrickson's put back clanged off the hole and the competing fan bases exhaled equal doses of relief and revulsion. Derrickson collapsed to the free throw line with his hands over his face following what happened. The season, one like no other, had fallen at his hand.
L.J. Peak scored 22 of his game high 24 points in the second half. The Hoyas missed seven of eight from three and seven of 17 at the line. Any free throw, any three, would have been enough for the win, but for a team that could not learn how to win all season, it was not enough, and a long off season for coach John Thompson III began one day earlier this year.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 21 1-3 0-0 1-2 1 1 3 3 Pryor 38 4-7 3-10 0-2 5 3 3 17 Peak 26 8-11 0-3 8-13 3 3 2 24 Derrickson 26 3-6 1-5 2-4 9 1 3 11 Govan 26 2-3 1-1 0-0 6 1 4 7 Reserves: Mosely 29 1-2 0-1 2-2 5 3 3 4 Cameron 6 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0 Agau 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 Johnson 10 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 0 1 0 Hayes 20 3-6 0-0 1-2 4 0 2 7 Team Rebounds 5 DNP: Campbell, Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 200 22-38 5-21 14-25 42 12 23 73
Graduate transfer Rodney Pryor was the only Georgetown player named to the All-Big Easthonorable mention team as announced Sunday.
Villanova earned four selections across the teams, follwoed by three each from Butler, Creighton, and St. John's. DePaul was the only Big East school without a selection.
A cumulative list of Georgetown's All-Big East selections through the years is found at the Georgetown Basketball History Project.
Marcus Foster, Creighton, G, Jr., 6-3, 210, Wichita Falls, Tex.
Angel Delgado, Seton Hall, F, Jr., 6-10, 240, Bajos De Haina, Dominican Republic
Jalen Brunson, Villanova, G, So., 6-2, 190, Lincolnshire, Ill.
Josh Hart, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-5, 215, Silver Spring, Md.
Andrew Chrabascz, Butler, F, Sr., 6-7, 230, Portsmouth, R.I.
Trevon Bluiett, Xavier, G, Jr., 6-6, 205, Indianapolis, Ind.
Kelan Martin, Butler, F, Jr., 6-7, 220, Louisville, Ky.
Justin Patton, Creighton, F, Fr., 7-0, 230, Omaha, Neb.
Rodney Bullock, Providence, F, Jr., 6-8, 225, Hampton, Va.
Kyron Cartwright, Providence, G, Jr., 5-11, 185, Compton, Calif.
Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall, G, Jr., 6-4, 195, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rodney Pryor, Georgetown, G, Gr., 6-5, 205, Evanston, Ill.
Kris Jenkins, Villanova, G, Sr., 6-6, 235, Upper Marlboro, Md.
Justin Patton, Creighton, F, Fr., 7-0, 230, Omaha, Neb.
Marcus LoVett, St. John's, G, Fr., 6-0, 175, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Shamorie Ponds, St. John's, G, Fr., 6-1, 165, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Kamar Baldwin, Butler, G, Fr., 6-0, 170, Winder, Ga.
Markus Howard, Marquette, G, Fr., 5-11, 175, Chandler, Ariz.
Donte DiVincenzo, Villanova, G, Fr., 6-5, 205, Wilmington, Del.
The Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year and Coach of the Year honors will be announced on Wednesday.
#2-ranked Villanova outscored Georgetown 35-14 in the final 11:24 of the second half in an 81-55 rout of the Hoyas before a season high 15,143 at Verizon Center Saturday.
Georgetown got off to a good start, at least as it related to Rodney Pryor. While the Wildcats missed three of its first four shots, Pryor was ready to play. He scored six of Georgetown's first eight, eight of its first 10, and 11 of 13 as the Hoyas led 13-11 seven minutes into the first half. Pryor's quick start covered up some familiar Georgetown weaknesses-- foul trouble, poor perimeter defense, and lots of turnovers. Georgetown's last lead was 15-14 at the 11:23 mark when Josh Hart scored his first basket, a three pointer, which keyed a 12-2 run to put the Wildcats up 26-17 at the 6:29 mark.
Villanova was able to get to the line early and often--GU did not get to the line until the 5:12 mark of the half, which by then Villanova had already taken 11 free throws. Georgetown had the first of three opportunities in this game to get back in the game, but each fell short. A basket and foul shots by Akoy Agau closed to 26-21, but the turnovers picked up and the Wildcats took advantage, going on a 12-2 run to go up 38-25 with under a minute to halftime. Baskets by Jessie Govan and Reggie Cameron closed the lead to 10, 38-28, but this is not a Georgetown team that play well from behind, given that it is is 2-13 when trailing at the half.
Rodney Pryor had 13 points at halftime, but his teammate L.J. Peak was missing in action right from the start. Peak had two points in the first half, and picked up a fourth foul 58 seconds into the second half, a mortal wound that GU could not muster enough second half points to contend. But contend they did, thanks to a better defensive effort and some cold shooting by both teams. Despite 15 turnovers midway in the second half, Georgetown closed a second time, this time to 46-41 on a Govan basket with 11:41 to play. Foul shots and a turnover led Villanova to push the lead back to 49-41, but a Cameron turnover spurred the Wildcats to another run that put the Hoyas away for good.
Down six, 49-43, Marcus Derrickson fouled Kris Jenkins from behind the arc, which Jenkins deposited for a 52-43 lead. A foul by Jonathan Mulmore extended the score to 54-45 with 8:12 to play, whereupon a Derrickson air-ball set up Hart for a three pointer and a Cameron miss set up Hart to drop in a second three pointer. All at once, Nova was up 15, 60-45, and never looked back.
Georgetown shot exceptionally poorly to end the game. L.J. Peak returned at the 7:07 mark and fouled out 35 seconds later. Georgetown missed eight of its final nine attempts from the field, scoring one field goal in the final 6:11 and leading to some easy run outs which the Wildcats took advantage of. The 26 point lead was reached in the final minute, while the Hoyas' final possession of the regular season was, what else, a turnover, its 20th of the game.
Villanova put four starters in double figures, shooting 54 percent in the second half. Georgetown shot a woeful 29 percent after halftime, 0-6 from three. pryor led all georgetown scorers with 21 but only eight after halftime; no other GU player managed more than three field goals. The Wildcats were a +6 on foul shots and committed only seven turnovers--a number Georgetown passed 13 minutes into the game.
Threats of booing and demonstrations against coach John Thompson III did not come to pass, as a happy Villanova visitor's section provided most of the last minute noise. Georgetown's 16th home loss over two seasons--its most ever, was a variation on a theme that this program has faced in the reconstituted Big East--the inability to match perceived talent with actual results.
"I've said before, most of the year, for us to win, we need L.J., Rodney and a third person to play well," said coach Thompson, who did not take questions on the media heat placed upon him for a losing record. "For L.J. to be so limited today with foul trouble against this team, where he normally draws the toughest defensive assignment, hurt us at both ends of the court."
With his college career nearing an end, Rodney Pryor offered up some small hope.
"We just have to have a new mindset, a new slate. We've got to win four."
It's been 26 months--Jan. 13-24, 2015-- since Georgetown has won four Big East games in a row. First, they've got to win one, as Georgetown seeks to end a five game losing streak Wednesday in the 8/9 game versus St. John's before a friends and family crowd at the Garden.
The Georgetown half of the box score:
MIN 2FG 3FG FT REB A PF PTS Starters: Mulmore 23 2-2 0-1 2-2 0 2 4 6 Pryor 37 4-10 3-9 4-5 7 0 3 21 Peak 12 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 5 2 Derrickson 30 1-3 0-1 4-5 7 1 3 6 Govan 29 3-8 0-0 1-2 7 1 0 7 Reserves: Campbell 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 Mosely 18 0-3 0-1 0-0 1 2 2 0 Cameron 16 0-1 1-2 2-4 2 0 0 5 Agau 12 1-1 0-0 4-4 1 0 0 6 Johnson 11 1-2 0-0 0-0 3 0 2 2 Hayes 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 3 1 3 0 Team Rebounds 1 DNP: Hines, Muresan, Mourning TOTALS 200 13-32 4-15 17-22 32 9 22 55
The last man standing from the class of 2016, Bradley Hayes gets a second appearance at Senior Day. Here's the salute of Hayes from last year's coverage: a reprint from Feb. 25, 2016.
Three years into his college career, Bradley Hayes was every bit the project that he was arriving at Georgetown in 2012. Among nearly 200 scholarship basketball athletes at Georgetown with three or more years on the varsity over the last 70 years, he ranked in the bottom three in points scored, with only Lonnie Duren (1976-80) and Vladimir Bosanac (1990-93) trailing him.
Overcoming long odds is at the heart of the Bradley Hayes story. growing up in Jacksonville, FL, Hayes entered high school at a mere 6-2 and proceeded to grow ten inches in three years, leading to a variety of injuries that limited his basketball development. Hayes was literally growing into his frame, and by his senior season at Sandalwood HS he scored 13 points and averaged 12 rebounds a game. Hayes chose Georgetown over interest from Georgia and Connecticut, but his would be a long climb up the depth chart.
Hayes appeared in only nine games as a freshman, failing to score--he sat alongside fellow freshman brandon Bolden, who also failed to score a basket that year. While Bolden transferred to Kansas State, Hayes stayed on course. Sophomore year wasn't much better, with 14 points in 16 games, and six of them coming in just two games. Hayes rededicated himself to learning the game and putting in the time in the weight room and in practices for when he was called upon. By junior season, Hayes was still a fixture on the bench: eight points in 15 games. On March 19, 2015, Bradley Hayes arrived.
The opening round of the 2015 NCAA's put Georgetown in an awkward position. Its poor showing in past tournaments had led the #4-seeded Hoyas to be a universal pick for an early exit--the coach at #13 seed Eastern Washington had publicly predicted a win against Georgetown, and with nine minutes remaining in the first half, Eastern Washington was on their way to following script where schools like Ohio, Virginia Commonwealth, and Florida Gulf Coast had embarrassed its share of John Thompson III-coached teams. The Hoyas had just given up back to back threes to trail 21-15 when Hayes entered the game and helped steady the Hoyas at a critical point of the game. An offensive rebound and a put-in, followed by a rebound and short jumper closed the gap to 24-19. After EWU let loose with another three, 24-20, Hayes answered with a third basket (surpassing his career high). An assist followed, then two free throws that gave Georgetown a 31-30 lead. Georgetown then ended the half on a 13-4 run, and Hayes delivered.
"That's what this time of year is about," said coach Thompson in pos-game remarks. "What B.J. did today is unbelievable. That's what this tournament is about, stories like that. B.J. articulated it best. We tell them to be ready, be ready. He was ready."
With the departure of Josh Smith in the starting lineup, Hayes was tabbed to start at center his senior year. He shocked the stat sheet with a 19 point, 12 rebound effort in the season opener, and became a consistent inside presence for the Hoyas, with a old-school hook shot that seemed untouchable by opponents. Hayes started every game this season until a hand injury suffered in practice on Feb. 11 took him out of the lineup, and surgery followed. Though Georgetown would not say as such, the Hoyas' dwindling post-season hopes strongly suggest Hayes has played his last college basketball game barring an unusually fast recovery.
Bradley Hayes made the most of his Georgetown education, and while his basketball career was cut short by injury, he will have a place among those select Hoyas who stepped up when called upon.
The son of Bradley Sr. and Mary Hayes, Bradley is on target to graduate from the College this spring. Please show him your support when he is introduced at Saturday's game. His career statistics are below:
Rodney Pryor's time on the Hilltop has been brief, but he has made quite an impact.
Pryor's basketball story began on the "B" team at Evanston High School outside Chicago, followed by two years at Notre Dame Prep in Niles. By 2011, Pryor had the tools, but not the grades, and his next step was a year at Kirkwood Community College, which plays in the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference. For his second year in junior college, he transferred to Cloud County Community College in Concordia, KS, where a foot injury cost him one season and a knee injury sidelined him a second season, Unranked, and with just two years of eligibility remaining, In 2014, Pryor attracted the interest of Robert Morris, where he made an immediate impact.
Pryor started 52 of 64 games for the Colonials, averaging 16.7 points per game. The MVP of the 2015 NEC tournament, he led the Colonials to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2010, where RMU earned only its second NCAA victory all-time in a win over North Florida in the opening round, and lost to Duke in the round of 64. Eligible under the NCAA fifth year waiver for graduates which had not previously exhausted their eligibility, teams took notice: Kansas, Florida, Gonzaga. His only visit was to Georgetown, however, and a year later, he completes his college career Saturday.
Pryor recalled his visit with the Chicago Tribune. "I played pickup ball with the guys, and it was just a good vibe. My mom had a good feeling there, the area is nice, there are so many different kinds of people and great networking possibilities. A lot of friends talked about how great a degree from Georgetown would be."
In his single season at GU, Pryor leads the Hoyas in scoring and has led the team in scoring in 10 of 30 games, with a season high 32 in the opener versus USC-Upstate. His 78 three pointers is more than twice that of any other teammate, and despite standing only 6-5, he leads the team in rebounds. Pryor's defensive efforts are still a work in progress if he is to be seriously considered for the NBA, but his ability to score from a variety of places on the court will likely get him a close look by scouts as the next step in his basketball journey continues.
With only one year of statistics, Pryor is also on the precipice of joining some unique company in Georgetown's record books. If Pryor averages 25 points over his remaining games, he will pass Mike Sweetney (2000-03) for second on the career points average list, trailing only Allen Iverson's 23.0 career average over two seasons from 1994-96. Pryor's 18.0 average currently stands third, just ahead of four year veteran Eric Floyd (1978-82), with a 17.7 points per game average.
The son of Robert Pryor and Xenia Roach, Rodney Pryor is on schedule to graduate from the School of Continuing Studies this spring with a graduate degrees in sports management, and would be the first basketball player graduated through the SCS. Congratulations to Rodney and his family at Senior Day. His career statistics are below:
Much has changed in Hoyas basketball since September 26, 2012, the day Hudson Catholic senior Reggie Cameron committed to Georgetown. Rated by ESPN as its #63 prospect in 2013, Cameron was Georgetown's only signing that year and the #9 rated prospect among all Big East signings.
Cameron averaged 24 points a game as a senior at Hudson Catholic, and started 12 games as a freshman following an injury to Jabril Trawick midway through the 2013-14 season. he scored in double figures in three games that season, but his shooting touch was inconsistent (36 percent from the field, 32 percent from three point range) and he returned to the bench following Trawick's return on Feb. 22, 2014.
The role of the small forward has been a mystery for much of the last three years in John Thompson III's offensive game plans, and Cameron's playing time suffered as a result. the move to a three guard offense to accommodate adding L.J. Peak to the offense severely limited Cameron's role over the ensuing seasons. He averaged less than five minutes a game as a sophomore, where he scored only six points in Big East play and averaged 1.2 points per game overall.
Cameron's junior season was his most productive. He averaged 5.6 points on 40 percent shooting, and was third on the team in three point shooting. His 15 points against St. John's that a season was a career high, and Cameron averaged nearly nine points a game during his six starts. But just as lineup changes sent Cameron to the bench as a sophomore, the arrival of Rodney Pryor did the same as a senior. As such, Cameron has been all but invisible as a senior, averaging less than two points a game in very limited roles. His eight point, four rebound effort earlier this week against Seton Hall provided a glimpse of Cameron's abilities, which were never fully utilized in Georgetown's last two seasons.
The son of Reggie and June Cameron, Reggie Cameron II is on schedule to graduate from the College this spring. Congratulations to Reggie and his family at Senior Day. His career statistics are below: