Georgetown Basketball: August 1999 News Archive
After two months of negotiations, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (otherwise known as Virginia Tech) has accepted a bid to join the Big East Conference in all sports, beginning in the 2001-02 season.
The Hokies arrive after a prolonged campaign to join the Big East for the last seven years. Virginia Tech and Temple were rebuffed in 1995 when the Big East added West Virginia and Rutgers, but as more I-A football schools lobbied to add the Hokies to the roster, the consensus of the conference was that VT could add stability to the conference, especially in football.
The two year wait is as much financial as it is tactical. Waiting an extra year saves the Hokies money from paying additional Atlantic 10 exit fees and allows for some buildup on basketball recruiting. The extra year also gives the Hokies some wiggle room should Miami decide to pull up roots and join the ACC--unlikely now, but always a possibility. Rev. Philip Smith, O.P., president of Providence College and chairman of the conference's presidents committee, noted that the acceptance is conditional on no further changes in the conference membership (read: Miami).
The acceptance ensures divisional play by the 2001-02 season in basketball, with other sports to meet later this year to determine appropriate divisional lineups. A recap of the expected divisional lineups in basketball may be found at this link to the Off-Season page.
There are a number of links to learn more about Virginia Tech and its teams, many of which will be added to the Big East Links page this weekend. In the meantime, the first place to start is HokieCentral.com, a comprehensive site of all things Hokie, with a message board second to none.
Big East Briefs has reported that 6-7 WF Gerald Riley has made a verbal commitment to join the Hoyas in the 2000-01 academic year.
Riley, who averaged 28 ppg as a junior in Milledgeville, GA, told Big East Briefs that "I've been looking at Georgetown for a while. I went ahead and committed so I can focus on my classwork." According to reports, Riley chose Georgetown over Kentucky, Arkansas, Georgia, and Auburn. Here's a link to a story on Riley from the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.
Because it is only a verbal commitment, Georgetown cannot comment on the situation unless and until a national letter of intent is signed in November, as is also the case with 6-8 PF Mike Sweetney from Oxon Hill, Maryland. The two verbal commitments leave Georgetown with one open scholarship remaining for the 2000-01 season.
A post on the HoyaTalk board alerted us to this link from Fast Break Recruiting, reporting that Norfolk State coach Wil Jones has signed former Georgetown guard Ed Sheffey to play this fall.
Sheffey played at Georgetown in 1996-97, but was suspended from the team following a traffic incident in the summer of 1997 and transferred that spring. Sheffey has not played basketball since 1997, but he will have two years eligibility at Norfolk State, which plays in Division I's Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
With all the success from the past quarter-century of Georgetown Basketball, it is easy to lose sight of the alumni from the years before John Thompson's arrival on the Hilltop. Only a handful pursued basketball careers after college, while many more are prominent in business, law, and medicine. So when we saw this story and found no mention of it on GU's public relations page nor its alumni news pages, this seems like a good opportunity to salute a Georgetown basketball alumnus in some very, very select company.
This alumnus is Jim Jones (SFS '66), once a 6-5 reserve forward for the 1963-64 Hoyas. This summer, he received a distinguished honor: the former #30 is now four-star General James L. Jones, selected to serve as the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps.
Following his graduation in 1966, Gen. Jones has served his country at various posts across the world. His military decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star, among others.
Congratulations to Gen. Jones and his family.
Freshman recruit Raynardo Curry has been released from his verbal commitment to attend Georgetown this fall, according to a press release issued on GUHoyas.com.
The release reads, in part, "Georgetown University and Raynardo Curry have mutually agreed that Raynardo withdraw his application for admission because of personal reasons." Curry's high school coach told the Washington Post that Curry was homesick and decided not to return upon the conclusion of Kenner League play this summer.
Curry will have four years eligibility at Western Kentucky, where he intends to enroll.
The Washington Post has posted a review of local players in summer basketball camps, noting the fine performance of verbal recruit Michael Sweetney. An brief interview with Sweetney can be found in this link to Superhoyas.com.
Superhoyas.com is part of RivalNet, a group combining a number of new or formerly independent sports web sites under one roof. While this site was approached to move to RivalNet, we declined--we're happy right here at HoyaSaxa.com, and the upcoming developments coming to the main part of HoyaSaxa.com will make it even more worthwhile to stay as an independent, not-for-profit site. We've posted a link to Superhoyas.com on the left and hope they will return the favor.
Congratulations to Jaren Jackson, who recently signed a three year contract with the San Antonio Spurs for up to $2 million per year, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
It's the first multi-year contract in Jackson's ten year pro career, which has seen its share of twists and turns. Jackson, who graduated in 1989 with a degree in finance, was not selected in the NBA draft. But even after four stints in the CBA, one in the World Basketball League, and tenures with seven different NBA teams, Jackson never gave up. Now he has found success--and an NBA championship ring--with the San Antonio Spurs, and was a major contributor down the stretch in the Spurs' 1999 title run. Again, congratulations to Jaren and his family.
Virginia Tech will accept its invitation to join the Big East, but will delay entering the conference until the 2001-02 season, according to reports.
So why the wait? Tech athletic director Jim Weaver told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot that it "allows us to see what the [conference] landscape is", which sounds a lot like they would like to see if they can get a better deal from the ACC at some future point.
This rationale is raising cries of disgust from the very schools that lobbied so hard to get Tech accepted. "If I'm the Big East, I show Tech the door," said columnist Dave Hickman in the Charleston Gazette. Writes Hickman: "If Tech's waffling angers even one or two football schools into withdrawing their support, the balance of power on the issue will revert to the basketball schools and Tech will be on the outside looking in. Could that happen? Sure."
Another comment by Mr. Weaver is raising eyebrows, too. At the Big East's football media day, Weaver said that "If I'm an AD in the ACC, I'm fighting to go to 12 [teams]. Because right now they have the chance to cherry-pick the best teams they want. Say, go with Syracuse, Miami and Virginia Tech."
To their credit, Syracuse is staying above the fray. And Miami, even though they have been exposed as seeking the ACC, will not publicly say so. For a Virginia Tech official to come to a Big East media day and openly discuss that the ACC "cherry-pick" three of its schools is an embarassment.
"Our schools have to stop talking to people," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese in this link from Fox Sports. "Anytime one of our schools doesn't step up and say, 'I have no interest in talking' to people, then the talk is going to continue."
According to numerous press accounts, the Big East has decided on a two division alignment when (or if) Virginia Tech joins the conference. The divisional structure will be as follows, with schedules involving 12 games within each division and four games against teams in the other division:
The alignments are sure to cause consternation from fans of either division for lost rivalries, but this may have to be the best of a complicated situation. Each division retains some major rivalries (Georgetown-Syracuse, Pitt-WVU, BC-Providence, etc.) and a mix among private and public schools. At first glance, Division 2 appears to be a stronger hoops division, but time has a way of changing first impressions.
The other major change reported (but not officially confirmed) in these articles is that only the top 12 teams will be invited to future tournaments at Madison Square Garden. The last place team in each division stays home for the four day tourney if the format is adopted.
Why not all 14? A 14 team tournament would have either required 1) six first round games, beginning at 8:30 am Wednesday and running until well past midnight, or it could 2) split the first round games between MSG and St. John's Alumni Hall. Both ESPN and the Garden wanted no part of these choices.
The changes would not go into effect until 2001-02 at the earliest, assuming all 14 teams remain in the conference. For the next two years, all teams go to the Garden.
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