Georgetown Basketball: September 2012 News Archive
Georgetown has received a verbal commitment from New Jersey forward Reggie Cameron, according to the New York Post and various recruiting sites.
"I loved the campus and the area of D.C. it's in,” Cameron said. “The coaching staff did a great job recruiting me and I could really see myself playing there and having a great career. According to the Post, Cameron chose Georgetown over offers from Virginia, Michigan, N.C. State, Seton Hall, Miami and Connecticut.
The 6-7 Cameron averaged 15.6 points a game as a junior at Hudson Catholic HS, and was a top 100 selection nationally owing to his three point shooting, which topped 50 percent. He is the first scholarship recruit for the Hoyas from New Jersey since Anthony Perry in 1997.
"Reggie Cameron isn't the best athlete or the most explosive scorer. What Cameron is, though, is a skilled forward who can knock down shots from behind the arc," writes CBS Sports.com.
"He's one of the top five shooters in the country," Cameron's AAU coach told SNY.TV, per this link to Adam Zagoria's blog.
Georgetown cannot comment on the status of any prospect until a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
Further complicating the situation: for now, anyway, Georgetown is out of scholarships. The summer signing of Stephen Domingo was Georgetown's 13th and final available scholarship, and there are no graduating seniors on the team this season. While the staff understands where it is going with the commitment, the public will have to wait until next spring to see how it comes to pass.
Remember the bravado from the Atlantic Coast Conference that is would move its conference tournament to Madison Square Garden once the Big East was kicked to the curb? Well, even the ACC PR team at ESPN.com has acknowledged it just isn't so.
As the ACC is entering its bidding process for the 2016 through 2021 tournaments, neither Madison Square Garden nor the Barclays Center in Brooklyn submitted bids. The Big East and MSG continue to work towards a 10-year extension of the tournament through the 2025-26 season.
The NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) will carry Georgetown's 2012-13 season opener with Florida at 9:00 (EST) on Nov. 9, per this link from the Florida Times-Union.
The event will feature a pre-game concert by popular country band Little Big Town, who will perform on a stage adjacent to the USS Bataan three hours before game time. Should inclement weather become an issue, the concert and game will be moved to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The capacity for the event was reduced from 8,000 to 3,500 as a smaller ship was procured for the game, and as many as half of tickets were reserved for military personnel. As a result, the 1,750 or so public tickets are now sold out.
For over 30 years, Georgetown and Syracuse have been the definitive rivalry within the Big East conference. But what about next year?
University of Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin wouldn't mind seeing his Bearcats in the conversation, reports this link at Adam Zagoria's blog.
"People say, 'well, the Big East isn't the same Big East.' That's good for Cincinnati,” Cronin said.
"Even though you win and you finish ahead of Georgetown last year, you beat them twice, and in the final national poll they're ranked ahead of you," Cronin said. "And then they get beat in the first round." (Note: Georgetown won its first round NCAA game.)"But name-brand connotation, Big East basketball, what's the first thing that comes to your mind? Big Monday, Georgetown vs. Syracuse. It's nobody's fault, it just is what it is. So the changing of the Big East, it just gives us a chance to plant our flag deeper."
The recent reconfiguration of the Big East raised some concerns that the league may seek to move out of its home base in Providence towards a more football-friendly location. Not so, says the new commissioner.
"Our office is stable and solid there," said commissioner Mike Aresco in this link to GoLocalProv.com. "We have no plans to move that." Aresco added that a satellite office in new York is not out of the question, however.
What do you do if your athletic director has thumbed his nose at the Big East and you find the closest ACC opponent is 375 miles away? If you're Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, you make nice with Big East teams that your school is kicking to the curb.
"We're not [playing] in Philadelphia anymore so we definitely want Villanova, we want to go to New York with St. John's and keep DePaul and Marquette," Brey told Andy Katz and the ACC public relations team at ESPN.com. "We will be in the D.C. area with Maryland, but we'd still like to play Georgetown. Villanova, DePaul, Marquette, St. John's and possibly Georgetown are definitely the five I'd like to do."
Brey's hopes of "possibly" playing Georgetown would appear, at best, wishful thinking. Ask Boston College.
After an athletic series between the Jesuit schools once rooted in football and later as an annual basketball series dating to the 1946-47 season, BC left the Big East in 2005 for relative obscurity in the ACC. Since then, Georgetown no longer plays Boston College in any non-conference sports, nor that of fellow expats Miami and Virginia Tech. West Virginia, which left for the Big 12 this season, is not on any Georgetown schedules.
Boston College drew just 4,705 per game in men's basketball last season despite a home game with Duke.
"We talked about a non-league game with BC after they left and I got a strong vibe from the Big East office," he said. "I took that suggestion and didn't play them. I guess it could happen with us, but I don't sense Villanova wouldn't want to play home-and-home or St. John's. I know DePaul and Marquette want to keep the Midwest Catholic rivalry going since it goes way back."
Georgetown played Notre Dame just twice in the regular season through 1995, both in South Bend, before ND joined the Big East. Much as with other ACC jumpers, this season's Jan. 21 game may be the end of this rivalry altogether.
Coach Thompson took time out of his schedule to travel to Greenville, SC, where he addressed students through the Coaches 4 Character program. Details follow in this link to the Greenville News.
By next season, John Thompson III's nine seasons at Georgetown will be among the three most veteran coaches in the conference:
Jersey numbers have been assigned for the five newest members of the 2012-13 Hoyas.
A review of jersey numbers over the years can be found at the Basketball History section.
Former basketball analyst Billy Packer, who has been out of the public eye in recent years, weighed in on the Notre Dame migration to the ACC, and brought back some of the homer hyperbole that dogged him as an analyst.
Packer, 72, is a Wake Forest grad who served as the color analyst on ACC basketball games for two decades before moving to CBS, pronounced last rites on the conference and its flagship schools. "I think it's basically over," he told USA Today. "I hate to say this, but Villanova and Georgetown, which have been so much a part of the fabric and history of intercollegiate basketball, I think it's a piece of history, not the future."
Packer was famous for his premature eulogy of the Georgetown basketball program in 2004 when he remarked "I see no reason why Georgetown basketball can ever be as successful as it was. There's no evidence of that. I think they need a superstar. Why would a superstar go there?"
The ACC is great, so says ESPN. The Big East is dead, also sayeth ESPN. Is there a larger story going on here?
"ESPN is not an unbiased observer offering objective analysis," writes Ty Duffy at Big Lead Sports. "The network has a $3.6 billion long-term television contract with the ACC. Notre Dame enhances the value ESPN extracts from that deal. Moreover, losing Notre Dame detracts from the Big East which (a) turned down a previous extension from ESPN (b) has a negotiating window presently with ESPN and (c) may soon end up the asset of one of ESPN’s competitors."
Duffy continues: "We now have ESPN personalities all but gloating about an ACC addition at the expense of [the Big East] that just had its negotiating position with ESPN further weakened and may soon be unaffiliated."
"ESPN has been criticized in the past for obscuring its own pivotal role in conference realignment. With Notre Dame’s move to the ACC, we have yet one more example. In journalism ethics even the possibility of an interest conflict is worth mentioning. ESPN has a tangible, material one that proceeds unacknowledged."
Of course, you'll never hear about it on ESPN.
If the Big East constructed a Mount Rushmore of its greatest coaches, the first three are already on the mountain: Thompson. Boeheim. Carnesecca. The fourth of these titans retired Thursday, as Jim Calhoun ended a 40 year career in coaching, the last 36 at the University of Connecticut.
The 70 year old Calhoun grew up in a working class home in postwar New England, and fought for everything he earned. A 1967 graduate of American International College in Springfield, MA, Calhoun worked a stone cutter at a cemetery before a series of jobs coaching high school basketball. In 1972, he was named head coach at Northeastern, taking the Huskies to five NCAA tournaments from 1980 through 1986. Hired in the spring of 1986 to a Connecticut program that struggled to stay out of the Big East cellar, he took the challenge of taking a rural school in an urban conference, with little or no recognition outside New England, and turn it into a national power. He retired with a record of 873-380, third among active coaches behind Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim.
The Huskies won all of one Big East tournament game in the 1980's before Calhoun took over from Dom Perno in 1986. A losing season in 1986-87 was his first and only such record. Within two years, the Huskies won the NIT title, within four, its first Big East championship and a trip to the NCAA regional finals. Seven Big East tournament titles, 10 regular season titles, adn three national titles (1999,2004,2011) transformed the program and the university. In tandem with its women's program, Calhoun helped UConn get out of the dusty UConn Field House and built an on-campus facility, and the Huskies became a statewide phenomenon. For 20 years, the hordes of Huskies fans taking the New Haven line to Penn Station would overwhelm Madison Square Garden as the Huskies advanced daily in the tournament. Most years, they did.
Calhoun fought through numerous physical challenges as coach, from three diagnoses of cancer to a pair of falls which led to severe back and hip injuries. He never mellowed, however, and well into his sixties would berate his players and assistants on the bench when an opposing team took over in a game.
"I always said that I would know when it was time, whenever that might be," said Calhoun. "The hip injury really didn't enter into the decision, except that it gave me more time to think about it and the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this was the right time to move on to the next phase of my life."
Calhoun retires universally respected but not revered by all segments of the coaching fraternity. His coaching style could be abrasive, his recruiting tactics subject to question. For every great player through the Connecticut system--Tate George, Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor--Calhoun was dogged by the cloudy nature of his recruiting: names such as Khalid E-Amin, Rudy Gay, Stanley Robinson, and Nate Miles, among others. Most of these stories stayed within the coaching fraternity, and were not seriously investigated by the statewide press.
"He was as good as anyone coaching his team, that's for sure," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, but added "Obviously we had our differences." It was Calhoun that, while recruiting Rudy Gay, paid Gay's Baltimore AAU team $25,000 to play an exhibition game with the Huskies that led Gay to decline an offer at Maryland to play at UConn instead.
The Nate Miles case received attention outside the coaching fraternity, however. A promising high school prospect, Miles became involved with Josh Nochimson, a former UConn manager turned NBA agent, which steered his recruiting to Calhoun and assistant coach Tom Moore. According to testimony, Miles was given cash, clothes, and medical expenses, including help to meet minimum NCAA admission requirements. A report even alleged that Miles's SAT was taken by a third party. After six different high schools in five years, Miles arrived at UConn, only to be expelled by the school within two months, never playing a game for the team. Calhoun denied any wrongdoing but was still suspended three games by the NCAA.
Calhoun also suffered from a quick trigger to push out underperforming players. After an 18-16 finish in 2009-10, Calhoun turned over most of the roster. In the end, the NCAA took the unusual step of not only reducing scholarships for continuing graduation non-performance, but later banned Connecticut from the 2013 NCAA's for his team's graduation rates, the first major college program ever penalized for such turnover. UConn will not appear in this season's Big East tournament as well.
If Calhoun's age and health led him to leave, the prospect of a long and frustrating season to come also played a role.
As have many coaches before him, Calhoun appointed his successor, former UConn player Kevin Ollie. And, as have many before him, UConn's athletic director had the final word. Calhoun's retirement agreement is only for one year. Ollie was signed not to a long term rebuilding deal, but a one year, $384,000 contract, the lowest paid contract in the conference. With only five returnees and the post-season ban, Ollie's task is enormous. Some would say, prohibitive.
"Whoever succeeds Jim basically has no chance," said basketball analyst Billy Packer. "That was the greatest building of a basketball program in intercollegiate sports history. No one took a program and brought it where he took it."
As one era in the Big East ends, a new one begins. For Jim Calhoun, his legacy remains.
Extensive coverage follows in the Connecticut press.
UConn Daily Campus
Tis the season.
Almost a year to the week when the ACC made a predatory move to remove Pitt and Syracuse from the Big East (with the tacit help of ESPN), it has moved again, as the University of Notre Dame has announced it will leave the conference.
"We have monitored the changing conference landscape for many months and have concluded that moving to the ACC is the best course of action for us," said athletic director Jack Swarbrick. "This will enable us to maintain our historic independence in football, join in the ACC's non-BCS bowl package, and provide a new and extremely competitive home for our other sports."
ND, which joined the Big East for basketball in 1995, will remain a football independent but will commit to five games annually versus ACC schools in football. It is expected that if the Irish have to move to a conference to maintain playoff eligibility in the post-BCS framework, they will settle in with the ACC.
"The University of...Notre Dame has informed us that it is joining the Atlantic Coast Conference in all sports other than football," said the Big East conference in a prepared statement. "Notre Dame has been a valued member of the BIG EAST Conference and we wish them success in the future. However, Notre Dame’s departure does not change our plans. We have prestigious institutions that are excited to be a part of the BIG EAST. We remain committed to making the BIG EAST stronger than it has ever been.”
Notre Dame never won a Big East title nor advanced to the conference finals in its 17 years in the league.
This leaves the Big East with 17 schools in basketball. Football is not affected.
Additional coverage follows below.
Despite the addition of a 15th ACC school, sources report the league will not consider a 16th school and has added a prohibitive exit fee ($50 million) for its membership, presumably to avoid poaching by the SEC.
The Big East has made no comment whether it will pursue an 18th member for basketball.
ESPN, the cable network that has done its part to destabilize the Big East conference over the past year, could hardly contain its glee at the news.
"The Big East...was inarguably the deepest and toughest conference in the country. So much for that," writes Dana O'Neil. "The king is dead. Long live the king."
ESPN football beat writer Andrea Adelson proclaims: "[The Big East's] relevancy has been downgraded. Perhaps this creates further instability and unhappiness among member schools that just saw yet another coveted member turn its nose and walk away," but offered no specifics.
This comment from Yahoo Sports columnist Dan Wetzel, unencumbered by the cloud of ESPN's duplicity:
"Conference realignment could be entering a quiet period. If so, the Big East is in good shape," he writes. No, it's not what it once was, but it maintains a strong basketball presence on the East Coast. The additions of Temple and Memphis actually bolster that sport. The Big East tournament is still a big deal, and there are still very strong hoops brands, including UConn, Georgetown, Villanova and so on. If the Big East wants to add another team, either exclusively hoops or in all sports, then there are candidates. BYU would strengthen both. Xavier would be a big plus competitively in basketball. Massachusetts could add another school in the Northeast.
The options are endless, and by no longer fearing being hunted, the Big East can take a deep breath and consider its options.
Just announced this morning: a #21 ranking for Georgetown in the annual US News guide to the top colleges nationwide, up from #22 in 2011.
Here are the 2012 totals, with the 2011 rankings in parentheses.
Also included at #24: Southern California and Virginia.
Former Georgetown center Henry Sims (C'12) was one of four free agents added to the New York Knickerbockers training camp roster, reports the New York Post.
Sims figures to be battling with veterans Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, and Steve Novak for the backup role to big men Tyson Chandler and Amare Stoudamire on the roster. The Knicks have 19 on the roster and must cut to an active list of 12 by the start of the season.
Earlier this summer, Hollis Thompson was a free agent addition to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"As the league evolves, do I think it's important that we maintain the position as a cornerstone? Yes I do. Hopefully we're in a position to keep that going."
So says John Thompson III in this link to a feature article at ESPN.com. Although Georgetown's young team is not projected by the network as a Big East favorite, hopes are high among the players.
"You don't want to say there is added weight on our shoulders, but we're going to be good," said junior forward Nate Lubick, who with Markel Starks and John Caprio are the elders on a team comprised of freshmen and sophomores. "We put ourselves in position to be good. With some of the top-level teams leaving, there is some responsibility within this league [for Georgetown]. We don't have the type of football like the others do. We're going to be good and it's very important that we are very good."
That's our mindset this year. We have a shot. We have a very good shot," said Starks. "Granted we're young, but from a basketball standpoint we should be very good."
Also of interest: Coach Thompson believes the Big East will move to a 20 game Big East schedule in 2013-14, removing two non-conference games from the current schedule. This would likely affect Thompson's interest in future games with the Orangemen when Syracuse leaves for the ACC, as Syracuse has avoided scheduling non-conference games unless they are at the Carrier Dome or in intersectional tournaments.
The final scheduled game in the series is set for Verizon Center on March 9.
Although he enters NBA training camp as a free agent, forward Hollis Thompson (ex '13) is doing his best to become part of the Oklahoma City community. The Daily Oklahoman talked with Thompson following a weekend book drive.
"I'm just really happy to be here," said Thompson. "I'm looking forward to getting better and working with the coaches every day and getting an opportunity to play basketball every day. So I'm very excited.
"My strength is I can score. I love to score. I love to play for my team. I can do a lot of things. And I've got weaknesses in all areas. I can get better in all areas. So I'm looking forward to playing basketball and getting better."
In the 24 hours news cycle, stories can get out of hand quick. Ask the Big East conference, which went into spin control late last week when a quote from former interim commissioner Joe Bailey sent the media into overdrive.
Bailey remarked that the Big East had set up a committee to recommend a possible change to the conference's name. After some indigestion at the league's office, current commissioner Mike Aresco said there will be no such change.
"We have no plans to change the name,” Aresco said.
The remainder of the Big East schedule has been released per the news release from the conference.
Some items of note:
Twelve of the 18 games feature national television clearance, including six on ESPN, two on ESPN2, two on ESPNU, and two on CBS, including the Hoyas' last appearance at the Carrier Dome on Feb. 23.
Here's an extended look at the Big East portion of the schedule (home games shaded in gray):
Saturday morning, we received news of the passing of former Georgetown Hall of Famer Mike Laughna (C'72) at the age of 62. His outstanding play as a varsity basketball player from 1969 through 1972 helped him become one of the very best that played for the Blue and Gray.
Born on July 15, 1950, Laughna grew up in N. Caldwell, NJ, and was a high school star at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, choosing Georgetown over 35 scholarship offers as he led St. Benedict's to a 17-5 record as a senior. He matched his high school average on Georgetown's freshman team in 1968-69, averaging 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Laughna was the dominant player on the 1970-71 team, a group that began with high hopes of a return to the post-season but dropped seven of its final 10 to finish below. 500. Nonetheless, he averaged 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds a game. "Without his scoring, rebounding, and all-around leadership, we wouldn't have won half of our 12 victories [in 1971]," coach Jack Magee said.
If Laughna was responsible for half his team's wins as a junior, he may have been responsible for all of them as a senior. Graduation losses and the unexpected departure of Art White decimated the 1971-72 Hoyas, and its five week road trip in December and early January began a fateful run that changed the course of Georgetown basketball forever. Laughna's 48% shooting and double figures in points and rebounds was the only bright spot on the 3-23 team: the rest of the team shot just 39 percent. By the end of the season, Laughna had graduated as the school's all-time leading scorer, but its head coach and athletic director were gone, with new leadership to follow.
To this day, Mike Laughna is one of only two Georgetown players whose scoring and rebounding averages are among the top ten, and he is the only player ever to average double figures in rebounds in each of his three varsity years.
Following a pro basketball career overseas, Laughna returned to the U.S. and began a 35 year career in the logistics and energy industries. He was elected to the Georgetown University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.
Laughna is survived by his wife, two sons, and three grandchildren. Services were private; a memorial service is pending.
(Season details excerpted from the Georgetown Basketball History Project.)
The One-Stop Web Site For Hoya Basketball