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Georgetown Basketball: October 2013 News Archive

Allen Iverson Retires From NBA 10/31/13

It's rare that one man change the way a sport is played, but Allen Iverson (ex'98) was just such a man.

The 11-time All-Star formally retired from basketball Wednesday in Philadelphia, starting the clock for his selection into the Basketball Hall of Fame and bringing to a close a difficult three year period where Iverson played basketball overseas and navigated through contentious divorce proceedings.

Iverson, 38, acknowledged former coach John Thompson and men's basketball trainer Lorry Michel, who attended the press conference. "Coach Thompson gave me an opportunity when nobody in the world would, and he believed in me," Iverson said. "He basically saved my life and helped my dream come true."

Recruited to Georgetown in 1994, Iverson played two years for Coach Thompson and became the first player in the modern era to leave early for the pros. In the corporate NBA of the 1990's, Iverson became a symbol of the hip-hop generation and was a nonconformist in every sense of the word. But no one doubted his on-court effort, where the 6-0 guard was without peer for most of his career. Lebron James called Iverson "pound-for-pound, probably the greatest player who ever played."

"Often lost in the controversy that enveloped Iverson was a man desperate to win," wrote SI.com. "In 1999, Iverson broke his thumb. He missed 10 games, a stretch that may have been longer had Iverson not removed the cast himself. Once, in New York, Iverson was told by Philadelphia's medical staff to sit a game out with a nagging injury. Iverson declined. An equipment manager hid his jersey. Iverson said he would go to the NBA Store and buy a new one."

Iverson's post-basketball plans are cloudy given his ongoing financial issues, but he said he plans to spend more time with his children. Ask if there were any regrets during his career, Iverson said he had none.

"I gave everything I had into basketball," he said.

A sample of coverage follows below:

Realignment: Winners & Losers 10/30/13

In the wake of the realignment changes that transformed Division I, which conferences fared best in the transition? An article at SI.com considers the Big East one of the fortunate ones.

"An 18-game round-robin schedule will make this league as competitive as any other major conference in 2013-14," writes columnist Brian Otskey. "While Marquette, Georgetown and Creighton are considered by most as the league favorites, none of the three clearly stands out. Additionally, nine of the conference’s 10 teams are ranked at least No. 63 or better in Ken Pomeroy’s preseason ratings and even DePaul (No. 10 in the league) checks within the top 100 at No. 84. The Big East ranks second in overall strength, according to Pomeroy, better than the ACC but behind the Big Ten."

Porter, Thompson Join NBA Alumni Ranks 10/29/13

Three members of the 2011-12 team have been named to opening day rosters as the 2013-14 NBA season opens Tuesday.

While much has been written about Otto Porter and the Washington Wizards, forward Hollis Thompson has earned a roster slot with the Philadelphia 76ers. Henry Sims, who had a 10-day contract with the former New Orleans Hornets, is on the roster of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The three join Jeff Green (C'12, Boston), Roy Hibbert (C'08, Indiana), and Greg Monroe (ex'12, Detroit) as Georgetown players on active NBA rosters.

FS1: Big East Basketball Announcers 10/28/13

Fox Sports 1 has confirmed a list of announcers for the 2013-14 season, including a former Georgetown player and assistant coach.

Ron Thompson (C'92), known in his playing and coaching days as Ronny Thompson, has joined the Fox Sports 1 broadcasts as an analyst. Other analysts include former ESPN analysts Bob Wenzel and Jim Spanarkel, former St. John's guard Tarik Turner, former UConn forward Donny Marshall, Jim Jackson, Stephen Bardo, and Kevin O’Neill. Also added as an analyst: former Maryland coach Gary Williams.

Class of '15 Verbal 10/28/13

Georgetown received a verbal commitment over the weekend from 6-7 junior forward Marcus Derrickson, committing following the event formerly known as Midnight Madness.

Derrickson notified the Georgetown staff Saturday while the team was en route to a scrimmage with Virginia.

"Coach Thompson was really happy and he said he wanted to shout but he couldn’t because of the rules on the bus,” Derrickson told the Washington Post. “Georgetown is just a great all-around school, from the academics to the basketball. I was always kind of leaning toward there and just talking with the guys and being there Friday, I knew I wanted to be a Hoya."

Derrickson averaged 12.8 points and 9.3 rebounds for Paul VI HS in Fairfax, VA during his sophomore season, earning his first team All-Met honors, a rare honor for any DC-area sophomore.

Georgetown cannot comment publicly on any recruit until a letter of intent is signed, which for Derrickson would be in November 2014.

Interim Women's Basketball Coach Named Updated 10/25/13

The Georgetown women's basketball team has a new coach following Keith Brown's resignation two weeks ago.

With the season just days away, Georgetown has added an interim coach in Jim Lewis, reports the Washington Post. The 66 year old Lewis was a former head coach at George Mason and Fordham and served as a local high school coach before his most recent role as an assistant with the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks. He will make his on-campus debut Friday as the women's team participates in the Tip-Off Celebration at McDonough Gymnasium.

The three current assistant coaches will be retained through the 2013-14 season, reports the Post.

Josh Smith: Two Years Eligibility Updated 10/24/13

 An NCAA committee has ruled on the eligibility of junior center Josh Smith, awarding him two full seasons following his transfer from UCLA after the sixth game of the 2012-13 season.

The ruling was an expansive interpretation of the NCAA's general rule on attendance, which specifies that a student-athlete must complete athletic competition within five years from when he first enrolled at a NCAA institution. Smith had transferred in the fall of his junior year (five semesters) and will have completed two semesters at Georgetown before beginning play Dec. 21. A strict interpretation could have awarded Smith as few as one semester of remaining eligibility, or as many as three. Instead, it chose to waive Smith's fall 2012 semester at UCLA, where he played six games, and award him four semesters of eligibility at Georgetown through the 2014-15 season.

NCAA officials did not discuss the case directly. "We are excited that the NCAA has approved the waiver for Joshua,” head coach John Thompson III said in a statement. “Now he has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court. He will provide a significant low-post presence for this team.”

The "commitment" in the above statement is a reference to Smith's weight. Georgetown lists the 6-10 junior at 350 lbs. which makes him the heaviest player ever to play at Georgetown--weighing 60 pounds more than Jahidi White (C'98), who played at 290 his senior season in 1997-98. The weight made Smith a non-factor during his later years at UCLA, limiting playing time and effectiveness, and risking his potential to develop into a viable pro basketball prospect.

College basketball columnists nationwide reacted to the news with a mix of disbelief over what some considered a loose interpretation of the eligibility rules. As compiled on HoyaTalk, Twitter comments ranged as follows:

Seth Davis: "I predict the Josh Smith decision will be the tipping point on cbk transfer waivers. Everyone sits or everyone plays. Enough already."

Gary Parrish: "The NCAA has granted some inexplicable waivers. But what it granted Josh Smith is the wildest ever."

Dan Wolken: "Josh Smith getting a two-year waiver at Georgetown is remarkable. Left UCLA after 6 games b/c he was disgruntled, NCAA says "No prob!"...From the messages I'm getting, compliance folks aren't real thrilled with this Josh Smith ruling either."

Jeff Goodman: "NCAA clears Josh Smith to play immediately at Georgetown. Shocker."

Andy Katz: "The door is wide open now for mid-semester transfers to appeal to play the following fall at a new place."

Smith is now eligible to play in the opener Nov. 9 vs. Oregon.

B.o.B at the T.o.C 10/22/13

Hip-hop artist Bobby Simmons Jr., known as B.o.B, will be the headliner at Georgetown's revised Midnight Madness event this week, with the otherwise generic name of "Tip-Off Celebration", per a link at GUHoyas.com.

The event begins at McDonough Gymnasium at 7:30 and will be streamed at GUHoyas.com, with the practice portion of the event being picked up later that evening at Fox Sports 1.

Big East: Then & Now 10/18/13

Jim Calhoun is retired. Bob Huggins toils in anonymity as an outlier of the Big 12. Jim Boeheim will end his career in exile. For Villanova's Jay Wright, he is now the dean of Big East coaches, and talked to the Philadelphia Daily News about the old--and the new -about the fourth incarnation of the Big East Conference.

"What feels the same to me is that it's a basketball conference the way it started," he said. "As much as you loved seeing Pitino and Calhoun and Boeheim, you'd see a lot of other schools that you'd just look at [and ask] what are they doing in the Big East.

"I cared so much about the league from the beginning because I grew up with it. Over the last 4 or 5 years, watching all the changes, it was killing me. It was really killing me because I felt a responsibility to Villanova and to the history of the Big East. Now that it's all played out, I just really feel great about it because I just feel like this is what we all enjoyed about the beginning.

"Will it be the same? Who knows? Nothing's the same. College basketball is not the same. You know you are going to go into a city. It's going to be a big happening basketball-wise."

Big East Media Day 10/17/13

With three new schools, and a number of old ones in faraway places, the 35th Big East Media Day brought coaches and player from all ten schools to midtown Manhattan Wednesday. Georgetown was picked second in the pre-season poll, below:

1.Marquette (5 first place votes), 74 votes overall
2.Georgetown (2) 70
3.Creighton (1) 61
4.Villanova 58
5.St. John’s (2) 56
6.Providence 41
7.Xavier 38
8.Seton Hall 20
9.Butler 19
10.DePaul 13

The biggest news for Georgetown was no news at all--specifically, no update on the transfer status of junior/senior transfer Josh Smith, who is awaiting an NCAA ruling of whether the 6-10 center has one, two, or three semesters of eligibility following his mid-season departure from UCLA last December.

Pre-Season all-Big East teams are noted below. Senior Markel Starks was the only Georgetown selection.

Player of the Year
Doug McDermott, Creighton

Rookie of the Year
Rysheed Jordan, St. John’s

All- First Team
Markel Starks, Georgetown, G, Sr., 6-1, 175, Accokeek, Md.
Davante Gardner, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-8, 290, Suffolk, Va.
Bryce Cotton, Providence, G, Sr., 6-1, 165, Tucson, Ariz.
D’Angelo Harrison, St. John’s, G, Jr., 6-4, 204, Missouri City, Texas
Semaj Christon, Xavier, G, So., 6-3, 190, Cincinnati, Ohio

Second Team
Cleveland Melvin, DePaul, F, Sr., 6-8, 208, Baltimore, Md.
Jamil Wilson, Marquette, F, Sr., 6-7, 230, Racine, Wis.
JaKarr Sampson, St. John’s, F, So., 6-9, 214, Akron, Ohio
Fuquan Edwin, Seton Hall, G/F, Sr., 6-6, 215, Paterson, N.J.
Ryan Arcidiacono, Villanova, G, So., 6-3, 195, Langhorne, Pa.
JayVaughn Pinkston, Villanova, F, Jr., 6-7, 240, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Honorable Mention
Kadeem Batts, Providence, F, 6-10, 245, Boston, Mass.
Chris Obekpa, St. John’s, C, So., 6-9, 240, Makurdi, Nigeria

On the women's front, Georgetown was picked sixth of ten teams, with Georgetown forward Shayla Cooper as the pre-season rookie of the year.

Even if the some of the names have changed, the event received strong and optimistic coverage in the traditional print media, with over 300 attendees. Extensive coverage follows below:

The Long Road Of Victor Page Updated 10/17/13

Seventeen years ago, he was the center of attention in midtown Manhattan on Big East media day. Today, he sits in a county jail.

In 1972, John Thompson introduced the symbol of the deflated basketball as a challenge to his players to focus on getting an education for life. And yet, after 18 years since he first arrived at Georgetown, and 16 years since he left college for unfulfilled NBA dreams, former All-America guard Victor Page continues to struggle through this challenge.

Page's story is well known to Hoya fans and his life after basketball has been difficult, with a a notable headline from the New York Times which once said of Page, "Without Bad Luck, He'd Have No Luck At All". With his playing days well being him, the 38 year old is a "frequent flier" in the Prince Georges County court system on a variety of civil and criminal actions ranging from breaking and entering to assault. Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times talked with Page about where he is and his plans for the future.

Or tried to.

Page, whose ninth case in the PG county courts since 2010 led him to plead guilty to a 10-year sentence on second degree assault charges, referred comment to his "agent", former Maryland basketball player Jerrod Mustaf. It was Mustaf who previously tried to get Page to turn his life around but who remains discouraged by Page's continuing downfall.

"I thought he’d be better served as a teacher to other kids, a guy who had so much going for him but mistakes led him to this,” Mustaf said. “He could offer them some sort of advice on how to avoid those pitfalls... You’re a legend who had everything, going to Georgetown, wanting to play in the NBA. But poor decisions led [him] to this type of lifestyle.”

In the day since the Times story, a number of national outlets picked up on the story, something along the likes of "Ex-Georgetown Star Gets 10 Years In Prison". The fact is, Page's problems didn't begin last month. The media forgot about Victor Page and it took a local story to revisit him nationally, if only for a few moments before the next story comes along.

Preseason Q&A 10/14/13

Over the weekend, CBS Sports posted a Q&A interview with Georgetown head coach John Thompson III. Some excerpts:

  • On the reconstituted Big East: "Maybe it will feel different by the time games start, but right now it's all about preparation. It doesn't feel any different than it was before. As much as you can stress who's in, who's out, who left, who came in, when I sat down and looked at the field and the teams in the league, I still know we're going to have to play very well to win every night. That hasn't changed."
  • What figures to be different in 2013-14: "I think we're still sorting through that. I know that this team will guard. We were a very good defensive team last year and I think that this team will guard. From an offensive perspective, we have veterans. We have Markel Starks, Nate Lubick, even the junior class with Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick. They played significant minutes and won games. Moses Ayegba goes into that category as well. I think D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera has worked very hard in the offseason as well. He's probably 15-20 pounds lighter than he was last year. He's in great shape and is playing really well. We have some questions that need to be answered, but the answers are in the gym. The answers are here. We just have to figure it out."
  • Josh Smith's adjustment to the Georgetown style of play: "He has to understand accountability. He has to understand how hard it is to be successful at this level every day. Not just sometimes. There are sacrifices that he has to make everyday. Just like in life, he has to make them when he gets on the court. If he does that, the conditioning will take care of itself. In terms of how we do things, he's pretty good at picking stuff up."
Brown Resigns As Women's Basketball Coach 10/11/13

Multiple sources have reported that Keith Brown has resigned as head coach of the Georgetown women's basketball team following allegations of unprofessional conduct directed towards members of his team.

Assistant coach Tim Valentine, who was placed on leave eight days ago along with Brown, has returned to the staff.

Brown was 15-16 in his only season as head coach.

Additional coverage follows in this link to The HOYA.

An Act Of Kindness 10/9/13

From the Washington Post, a reader spotted a random act of kindness from former Georgetown basketball player Otto Porter (ex' 16), one which has made its way across social media.

"It was just Otto being Otto," said coach John Thompson III in this link to GUHoyas.com. "I said it a lot last year when it came to the way he plays, but it's also about the way he carries himself off the floor too. He's a great young man with a terrific future and this story is just an example of something all young men can look up to."

USA Today: #25 10/8/13

'Tis the season for pre-season previews, with USA Today ranking the Georgetown Hoyas #25 on its list.

"The Hoyas' consistency serves as a double-edged sword. While Georgetown is a perennial top 10 team, weak finishes - five consecutive losses to double-digit seeds in the NCAAs - are overshadowing championships," it writes.

"Nevertheless, the post season judgment can wait. For the upcoming regular season, it's difficult to ignore Georgetown's top 25 merit."

Battle 4 Atlantis 10/8/13

The 2013-14 season is more than a month away but the Hoyas are already in discussions for a tournament next season.

The Nassau Tribune reports that Georgetown is among eight schools being finalized for the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis, to be held at the Bahamian resort in November 2014.

"According to Andy Katz of ESPN, early indications suggest the eight team field will feature the North Carolina Tar Heels, Georgetown Hoyas, UCLA Bruins, Florida Gators, Wisconsin Badgers, Oklahoma Sooners, UAB Blazers and Butler Bulldogs," said the Tribune.

2013-14 Jersey Numbers 10/2/13

Jersey numbers have been assigned for the newest members of the 2013-14 Hoyas, with freshman Reggie Cameron wearing #1 (last worn by Hollis Thompson from 2009-12) and Josh Smith wearing #24 (last worn by Octavious Spann from 2005-07.

A review of jersey numbers over the years can be found at the Basketball History section.

The Question 10/1/13

The season opener is less than 40 days away, but questions remain about the availability of junior transfer Josh Smith.

ESPN.com reports Georgetown has submitted a request with the NCAA to allow Smith to play in the fall semester instead of sitting out until Dec. 21. Smith played six games last season as a junior before transferring from UCLA.

"We don’t know when or how long we'll have him," said coach John Thompson III. “But we think we should know pretty soon."

Smith arrived at Georgetown with tremendous potential but a questionable work ethic at UCLA, hampered by a reported weight approaching 350 pounds.

"He has to make a decision if he wants to be good or not," Thompson said. “He has all the tools. He always has. When and if he commits, he’ll see the positive results. It’s a process."

Tightening The Leash 10/1/13

The University's exact plans for the next Jack the Bulldog remain cloudy, but they will not include a student caretaker nor the current Jesuit tasked with the dog's upkeep, reports The HOYA.

"The university felt that it would be better to find a more permanent person — seniors would change every year — who would be able to take on all of the responsibility for the role of mascot caretaker,” said Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., who has been the Jesuit in charge of the dog since Rev. Scott Pilarz, S.J. (C'81) left for the University of Scranton a decade ago.

Georgetown officials are not commenting on the direction the mascot program will take, but the dog may be located at a University town house just off campus.

"I think that the thing is we’re really still working on how we will be evaluating that person,” said spokesman Rachel Pugh. “I think we’ll know when we meet that person and they’re the right fit.”


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