Georgetown Basketball: October 2003 News Archive
The Big East held its Media Day in New York--with high expectations for teams like Connecticut and Syracuse, and decidedly less so for Georgetown.
The Hoyas were picked 12th of 14 teams in the Big East coaches poll, the lowest pre-season mark since Georgetown helped form the league in 1979. Georgetown's 12th place finished ahead of only Rutgers and Virginia Tech in the voting. The Hoyas also placed 12th in an unofficial poll of Big East sportswriters (including the Washington Times' Ken Wright) in this link from the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Georgetown returns only two starters and seven letterman from last year's 19-15 NIT finalists. The losses of Mike Sweetney and Tony Bethel coupled with Georgetown's recent performance in Big East play contributed to the poor poll ranking--in the past four seasons, Georgetown is only 31-33 in conference play.
No Georgetown players were selected to the pre-season all conference teams.
Here are the results of the coaches poll:
Links to Media Day coverage are found below. (The Washington Post report was a wire service summary and is not included below.)
The cutback of college basketball coverage by the ESPN networks continues, as the ESPN Full Court schedules were released and a number of Georgetown games will not be seen.
The Full Court package refers to games not broadcast nationally, but available on DirecTV subscription service and selected regional cable networks. ESPN, now broadcasting NBA and NHL games in addition to college basketball, has cut back its coverage across a number of leagues.
Out of town fans without Full Court access could see the Hoyas as few as four times all year, with national games at home against Duke (CBS, Jan. 21), at Temple (ESPN, Feb. 14), at home versus Syracuse (Feb. 21) and at Notre Dame (ESPN2, March 4). However, a number of other games against Big East opponents will be seen on the Full Court package. In addition, a handful of games will be seen on News Channel 8 (NC8) in the Washington area, but have not been listed for Full Court clearance.
As a result, here is the current TV outlook for the 2003-04 conference schedule:
Big East expansion plans will continue in spite of Boston College's decision to leave the conference, according to various reports.
The Newark Star Ledger reports that the University of South Florida is gaining support to replace BC and join a four team expansion list that is expected to be announced early next month. A ninth football team, playing in the league for football only, is also under consideration.
Sunday's New York Post suggested that Army and Navy may now be in the mix as football-only schools, while other schools remain hopeful as well.
And despite its planned departure from Big East football after 2004, "I think Temple has become more attractive to a lot more people," Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw told the Philadelphia Daily News. "The shifting of the sands hasn't ended."
In other news, the four Big East schools that filed a lawsuit against the University of Miami have now done so against Boston College officials, citing unfair trade practices, civil conspiracy and breach of contract.
"The more we learn, the more appalled and astonished we are by the depth and breadth of the illegality," said Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal.
The Washington Post has an in-depth story on Alonzo Mourning (C'92) and his determination to fight through kidney illness in pursuit of an NBA championship. Recommended reading.
"Eventually, I will need a kidney transplant. At some point, I'll run out of time," Mourning says, "The window of opportunity is closing. If I'm going to do this, I need to do it right now."
Despite a previous commitment to keep the Big East conference together, charter member Boston College accepted an offer to join the Atlantic Coast Conference, hours after ACC schools voted 9-0 to add a 12th member to host a football playoff game.
"Our decision to join the Atlantic Coast Conference is based on my judgment in terms of what is in the best interest of Boston College academically, athletically and financially," said BC president William Leahy, S.J. in a statement posted on its web site.
"The ACC is a good fit for us because it has five top 40 national institutions, as we are," Rev. Leahy said. "It has a balanced mix of private and public institutions. Also, the demographics within the area of the ACC will enhance our student recruiting efforts in that area in the years ahead. In addition, the ACC has a program of academic corroboration and cooperation that is attractive to us."
As to the 9-0 vote, sources tell CBS Sportsline that the original straw vote was 7-2, with former expansion opponent Duke University siding with the "yes" votes. At that point representatives from the University of North Carolina and N.C. State University then were asked to drop their opposition.
If the ACC sought to hide their plans in lieu of litigation, some have not. "Our position is we wanted to expand the league which we've done, expand the footprint," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in the Sportsline link above. "We wanted those northeast markets and Boston gives us that opportunity."
Mindful of an ongoing lawsuit which threatens to pull BC in, ACC officials did not settle on a move-in date. Boston College could pay between $1-5 million in exit fees depending on the departure date.
"Our presidents and chancellors are very impressed with Boston College, not only with the quality and breadth of their athletic programs but also with their excellent academic success and reputation," said Clemson president James Barker said in an ACC press release. They would be both an outstanding academic and athletic partner."
Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese released a statement which read, in part, "We are extremely disappointed with Boston Collegeís decision to leave. Our membership is very surprised that the ACC Presidents continue to come back into our league for membership. We are continuing to move forward with our plans to maintain our status as one of the nationís top athletic conferences."
While many league schools are keeping its comments private for now, Syracuse officials came out blasting the decision.
"Three months ago, the presidents, chancellors and athletic directors of the six remaining Big East football schools sat face to face and pledged their loyalty to one another and to the Big East," said athletic director Jake Crouthamel in a release posted to its web site. "I guess handshakes don't mean much anymore."
"There were those who felt the intent of the ACC all along was to appreciably weaken the Big East Conference," said Syracuse chancellor Kenneth Shaw. "Iíve told a number of ACC presidents that taking another Big East school would serve to reinforce this belief, given that weíve spent all this time putting together a new [Big East] conference."
"I am particularly distressed at the lack of integrity displayed by the presidents and athletic directors of the ACC, and by the senior administrators of Boston College," Rutgers athletic director Robert Mulcahy told the Newark-Star Ledger.
The Georgetown staff continues to aggressively sign recruits for the University's class of 2008. ESPN.com and other recruiting publications have reported that a fourth verbal commitment has been received from 6-9 forward Cornelio Guibunda from Stamford, CT.
Guibunda, originally from Mozambique, averaged 25 points, 14 rebounds and 8 blocks in 2002-03 for the King and Low-Heywood Thomas School, a private school in Stamford, CT. A summary on Guibunda's stats are found in this link to Hoya Report.com.
"Cornelio is an interesting guy. Heís a very eclectic young man. Heís very very concerned about academics," said his AAU coach, Ervin Braun, in this link to a Michigan recruiting site report on Guibunda. "He comes from a good family in Mozambique and they think basketball is a vehicle for an education. So, he has great respect for the educational process." Guibunda chose Georgetown over a variety of programs, including Virginia, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Villanova, and Rutgers.
The verbal is also notable in other ways. Over the years, Georgetown's recruiting team has been largely unsuccessful in signing prospects within the Big East geography north of Baltimore, and especially in New England. In fact, Guibunda is the first scholarship commitment for Georgetown from New England since Patrick Ewing in 1981, and the first signee from the Nutmeg State in forty years, dating back to when Jim Lyddy arrived on the Hilltop in 1963.
Georgetown officials cannot comment on any recruits until a letter of intent has been signed, which takes place no sooner than November 12. With four verbals, Georgetown will have one other scholarship available for the 2003-04 recruiting season.
On another recruiting note, former Georgetown recruit Darian Townes has signed with Arkansas. Townes, who signed a letter of intent to attend Georgetown in 2002-03, failed to graduate from high school and his letter of intent was rendered null and void. Townes opened his recruitment soon thereafter.
"You know Ronny [Thompson] had a lot to do with his decision," said Kevin Keatts, the coach of the Hargrave Prep team where Townes will play for the 2003-04 season. Keatts told the Northwest Arkansas Morning News that "Ronny was there when they recruited him at Georgetown and certainly him being at Arkansas didn't hurt."
The basketball office has added jersey numbers to its official roster. Some items of note:
For a historical review of jersey numbers worn throughout the years, visit the Hoya Basketball History section.
Despite a gag order on Big East member schools not to discuss negotiations, sources close to Boston College and/or the Atlantic Coast Conference tell Sunday's New York Post that "the ACC will extend and offer and Boston College will accept, all in the same day."
Why the rush?
The Big East is about to increase exit payments from $1 million to $5 million per school, according to earlier reports. An additional issue looms: Connecticut attorney General Richard Blumenthal is prepared to add BC back into an ongoing lawsuit against Miami for their moves to leave the conference.
"We will scrutinize very critically any offer made to Boston College [by the ACC]," Blumenthal said in this link to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. "Any departure by Boston College would be cause to consider renaming that school as a defendant and bringing additional claims against the ACC."
"The joke in some circles about BC is that the school wants to be Harvard during the week and Miami on weekends," writes columnist Mark Blaudschun in the Boston Globe. "BC's athletic success in football and basketball has been modest at best. Yet, there is almost an elitist attitude about the school that stems from its strong academic reputation."
A decision on Big East changes is not expected until later this year. Other recent expansion-related stories can be found at the Off-Season News Archive page.
Some notes as the NBA preseason unfolds:
The Houston Rockets have signed former Hoya center Jameel Watkins (C'99) to its training camp squad. Watkins will be among 19 Rockets competing for the 12 man squad.
Various media reports say that the New Jersey Nets will offer Dikembe Mutombo (SLL'91) up to $30 million to buy out his contract. "I think I have four or five more years that I want to play," said Mutombo, who North Jersey.com lists as 37 but notes that "[his] listed age is questioned by many in the league." Still on the Nets' roster: Alonzo Mourning (C'92), who told the New York Post that "it goes to show you, the main objective of whether you win a championship, that's our concern, the players. The people in the front office are about making dollars."
Toronto Raptors forward Jerome Williams (C'96) told the Toronto Globe and Mail he's bulked up to 220 pounds in advance of the season. Williams released a hip-hop CD last week with positive messages designed to encourage kids to stay in school. When asked if he sang on the compilation album, Williams joked: "What do I do? I bark."
Representatives from eight Big East schools met Wednesday in an ongoing series of meetings to solidify the conference moving forward, according to various media reports. Georgetown was one of two schools with both its president and athletic director participating.
"Our current members have been extremely supportive over the past several months and have recommitted themselves to each other," said Big East commissioner Michael Tranghese in a news release. "We will now focus our collective energies on reconfiguring a league which continues to maintain the national academic and athletic presence that the Big East has long represented."
News sources also report that the exit fee for any schools leaving the conference will be raised from $1 million to $5 million per school.
Meanwhile, the Boston Globe reports that the Atlantic Coast Conference official are considering a bylaws change that would lower the number of votes needed for expansion from a 75% of school presidents to 66%, a move that would help efforts to secure Boston College as an ACC target. However, the Syracuse Post-Standard reports that as few as six schools could approve expansion under the plan, noting that "Such a move would allow the six-school, pro-expansion block of Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Maryland, Virginia and Wake Forest to vote in any school they desired."
BC appears to be the leading candidate for a 12th ACC team after exploratory talks with Notre Dame ended last week.
Additional news links on the meeting follow below:
Various media sources, including ESPN and the Washington Post, have reported that Jeff Green, a 6-8 forward from Northwestern HS in Hyattsville, MD, has verbally committed to the Georgetown Class of 2008. Green averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots a game for the Wildcats his junior season.
Georgetown officials cannot comment on recruits until a letter of intent has been signed, which takes place no sooner than November 12. With three verbals, Georgetown will have up to two other scholarships available for the 2003-04 recruiting season.
Former Georgetown forward Mike Sweetney suffered a loss in his family last week, with the passing of his father at the age of 52. The New York Times has a profile with Sweetney discussing the impact of his father on his life and Mike's outlook going forward.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Sweetney family.
Reports from the Boston Globe that the Atlantic Coast Conference is set to invite Boston College as its 12th member are, at least for now, premature.
The Greenville News reports that ACC schools did not discuss a 12th school at its meetings Tuesday.
"I don't know exactly who that [school] would be, but to my knowledge, I think people have a great deal of respect for Boston College, the university and the program," said Clemson athletic director Terry Don Phillips.
Meanwhile, others still question the league's rush to expansion. The Duke Basketball Report notes that ESPN will be paying the 11-team ACC even less in TV revenues than with nine.
The One-Stop Web Site For Hoya Basketball