Another inauspicious Division I team marks the fourth addition to Georgetown's 2017-18 schedule.
Joining the likes of Maryland Eastern Shore (#279 of 351 in 2016-17) and Alabama A&M (dead last in the 2016-17 RPI) is the University of Maine, scheduled for Capital One Arena on Tuesday, November 28. The Black Bears (#332 in the 2016-17 RPI) return three starters from a team which went 7-25 in 2016-17.
With less than two weeks before the announcement of the full schedule, Georgetown appears to be setting a low bar for opponents for first year coach Patrick Ewing. The three opponents cited above combined to go 19-72 (.208) against Division I opponents last season.
The Washington Post doesn't often run extended features on the Georgetown men's basketball team but when they do, it is sure to get attention. Its 1972 account titled "We're Being Used, Georgetown Star Feels" helped bring down the curtain on both coach Jack Magee and athletic director Bob Sigholtz; a quarter century later, Post writer Bill Brubaker called into question the admissions program at Georgetown in the story of how Victor Page was granted admission.
Saturday's Post features interviews with a number of local recruiters and former classmates of the new coach, asking whether his approach to recruiting and coaching can, as the Post calls it, "resurrect" the program.
"People say how tough [recruiting] is," he said, "but I don't really see it being that tough," Ewing said."
"I'm not going to kiss the ring," he said.
"He can't be quiet at that helm," said former teammate Reggie Williams, a former high school coach. "It's too big of a job to sit back and think people are going to come there because you're Patrick Ewing."
Also of interest: an change in tone from athletic director Lee Reed. In April, he referred to "a very thorough national search" that selected Ewing among numerous candidates that withdrew interest, but according to the Post, "Reed now says Ewing was the school's "only choice."
Former players were quoted in the article as as suggesting coaching candidates may have been overshadowed by the man "down the hall", where John Thompson maintains an office in the building that bears his name.
"They didn't want to look down the hallway and see Big John," said Williams. "I don't think that shadow would go away for anybody," said Don Reid (C'95).
"It's [John] Thompson's program," said Michael Graham (ex'87). "As long as he's alive, it's always going to be his program."
Ewing insists he is his own man. "This is my program," he said.
From Sports Illustrated, a feature on their early rankings of the Big East.
"This won't be the year for the Hoyas, but it's an important year nonetheless", says the article, placing Georgetown last in their survey.
Georgetown's withdrawal from the PK80 tournament led some to suggest Patrick Ewing was seeking only marginal opponents in 2017-18. Thursday's announcement of a game with Alabama A&M won't change that perception.
Alabama A&M earned the dubious distinction of the lowest rated Division I team in the nation last year per the Ratings Performance Index, (351st of 351). The Bulldogs return two starters from a 2-27 team last season and will have played 11 of its first 13 games on the road when it visits Capital One Arena on December 23.
This is Georgetown's first opponent from the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) since Craig Esherick scheduled Grambling State in 2003-04. Overall, teams from the SWAC are 0-15 all-time against Georgetown.
Earlier this summer, we noted the interest of former All-American Dikembe Mutombo (I'91, H'10) in purchasing the NBA's Houston Rockets. Now, another Georgetown alumnus appears to have interest.
Dan Friedkin (B'88), a Houston-based Toyota distributor, issued a statement which reads: "I've expressed interest in exploring the purchase of the Houston Rockets. Les Alexander has done an outstanding job building a high caliber organization with a winning tradition. Over the years we have enjoyed a close partnership with the Rockets and Les through Toyota's naming rights of the arena. "As a Rockets fan and Houstonian it would be exciting and a privilege to build on the storied legacy of NBA basketball in this city."
Courtesy of GUHoyas.com: the jersey numbers for the 2017-18 Hoyas.
All returning players are keeping their numbers from 2016-17, with the following additions:
#0 - Jahvon Blair (Freshman)
#5 - Antwan Walker (Freshman)
#11 - Greg Malinowski (Listed as junior)
#12 - Chris Sodom (Freshman)
#13 - Trey Dickerson (5th year graduate)
Not listed: Forward Jamarko Pickett, a reported signee as of July 28.
What's in your wallet? If you're Ted Leonsis, an extra $10 million a year.
The 1977 Georgetown graduate and owner of Washington's Wizards and Capitals wasted no time after signing a 10 year, $100 million naming rights deal with McLean, VA-based Capital One Financial Corporation that will rename the former Verizon Center as Capital One Arena, effective immediately.
As noted below, Capital One had bought a number of domains in advance of a name change, centering on either "Capital One Center" or "Capital One Arena". While the name "Capital One Center" would have been serendipitous given the former home of the teams at the Capital Centre, the bank went in another direction.
The naming rights will have little impact on the average fan, although the news coverage suggests the arena will develop a new point of entry system and help Leonsis manage a sizable debt when he bought out the balance of the teams in 2010.
Barring an acquisition (which is how Verizon assumed the name of the MCI Center) Capital One figures to be the last naming tenant on the current building. The arena is 20 years old in 2017, and among unrenovated arenas in the NBA it is now the 9th oldest, with three of the nine already building or developing new arenas (Golden State, Milwaukee, Los Angeles Clippers). Within the next ten years, there will be pressure to either rebuild the arena or move the team to a new location, with a cost that could approach $1 billion.
Senior Tre Campbell (C'18) will not return for his senior season, head coach Patrick Ewing announced Wednesday. Campbell will not transfer and will graduate next spring.
Ewing opted not to post the release via GUHoyas.com.
Campbell averaged 3.4 points per game last season prior to the Feb. 7 bus crash south of Baltimore, where he injured his knee and played for only six minutes for the rest of the season. For his career, Campbell averaged 3.7 points over 83 games, with a career high 21 versus Xavier on January 19, 2016, Georgetown's last win over a ranked Big East opponent.
Barring the addition an under recruited player with less than three weeks to the start of the school year, the latest depth chart is below, with the points per game average of GU's six returning scholarship players and two walk-ons listed. Greg Malinowski, the inbound transfer from William & Mary, is inactive for the 2017-18 season.
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Chris Sodom |
Whatever the reason for Georgetown's withdrawal from the Phil Knight Invitational, the Hoyas' upcoming schedule is now as barren as any in Division I.
As of last week, 123 of 352 Division I schools had finalized and published its 2017-18 schedules, with some schools needing just one or two games to fill in the gaps. At present, only two schools have announced a game with Georgetown, leaving nine open slots to confirm over the next month. (At this point last August, all but four of the non-conference games had been confirmed by other schools.)
Joining the Dec. 16 game with Syracuse is a November 18 game versus Maryland-Eastern Shore (2016-17 RPI: 279), returning four starters from last season's 14-20 squad. The game will be the eighth meeting all time between the schools. The last meeting on December 1, 2015 set a record low of just 4,062 at 20,500 seat Verizon Center, since surpassed by the 3,996 who saw Georgetown play Coppin State last season.
Georgetown is working on schedule dates but it's not clear what's left out there. A total of 32 of the RPI top 50 from 2016-17 have finalized schedules and none include Georgetown. Television negotiations would be in play for major schools, and none have been publicized to date. Further complicating matters: Georgetown is contractually obligated to play a certain number of home games at Verizon Center and many of these top teams want home games of their own.
There are a number of low ranked schools in the region which have not finalized schedules yet: fans could be seeing UMES join the the likes of Delaware State (#322 RPI from 2016-17), Howard (#339) and Longwood (#343) on their season ticket plans as a result. But if Patrick Ewing wants an even softer schedule to build up wins, he may go down a path that a Georgetown schedule hasn't seen in over a decade: lower division and NAIA schools. Limited to two a year by NCAA rule, the last lower division team on the schedule was November 16, 2001, when Georgetown walked over Division III Marymount College, 108-47--it was a shortsighted move as the game didn't count in the RPI standings and the Hoyas' eventual 19-11, 9-7 Big East record left them just short of an NCAA bid.
The last season Georgetown scheduled two lower division teams was in 1997-98, John Thompson's last full season as coach. Back to back games with Division II St. Leo College and NAIA Southern-New Orleans were won by GU by a combined score of 186-85.
Most Big East teams are close to filling its schedules. Here is a list of current scheduling based on the RPI's from 2016-17, excepting tournament entries for RPI averaging purposes:
The owners of Verizon Center are in talks with Capital One Bank about renaming the arena in 2018, according to the Washington Post and numerous local reports.
A report from the Domain Name Wire, which tracks recent domain purchases, noted that the McLean, VA based bank holding company has purchased a number of domains around the names "Capital One Center" or "Capital One Arena" as the naming rights currently held by Verizon Communications nears its 2018 expiration.
Originally named MCI Center at its debut in 1997, the name transitioned to Verizon Communications following their acquisition of MCI. Capital One is already the naming rights sponsor at Maryland's Byrd Stadium.
NBC Sports.com: "Ceding their place among the game's greats is [a] bad move for Georgetown, even more so if it comes from a place of fear of their ability to compete."
In a major setback to the reputation of its men's basketball program, Georgetown unilaterally withdrew from the PK80 Tournament, a select group of 16 Nike-affiliated schools invited for a once in a generation event in Portland Oregon this November.
The PK80 event, held over four days and two arenas from Nov. 23-26, was a select group of 16 of the most prominent Nike schools invited to celebrate the 80th birthday of company founder Phil Knight. Georgetown was invited along with such schools as North Carolina, Duke, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio State, and Michigan State, among others. The Hoyas' seeding in the "Victory" bracket, with a prime time game on ESPN against Michigan State, was apparently too much for first year coach Patrick Ewing (C'85), whose team is projected for a last place finish in the conference.
The announcement caught Georgetown off guard, as the school did not release comment for an hour after news broke. In an unusual statement, athletic director Lee Reed cited its "seasoned" head coach as a contributing factor in the withdrawal, despite the fact that Ewing has not coached a single game.
"The Georgetown's men's basketball program is in the midst of an exciting time of rebuilding," Reed said. "Georgetown has a prominent, seasoned head coach who has begun this process, which will continue to develop in the fall. After considerable consultation with ESPN, we have reached a mutual agreement that Georgetown will not participate in the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational this November." Ewing has not commented on the decision.
Adding insult to (self-inflicted) injury: the Hoyas' place in the tournament will be taken by DePaul, the longtime Big East cellar dweller.
"We are pleased that DePaul has agreed to participate in the PK80 Victory Bracket and are very appreciative of the efforts of DePaul's leadership in making this happen," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events, which is helping organize the tournament. "DePaul has a rich basketball heritage and, under Coach Leitao's direction, is a rapidly rising program that will be an excellent addition to the PK80 field."
From a practical sense, Georgetown is walking away from three top 100 opponents, including a nationally ranked Michigan State team, and two other pre-tournament games with mid-major teams. This is lending to speculation that Ewing will seek to fill the 2017-18 schedule with numerous low ranked Division I schools and even Division II or Division III schools to pick up wins. The D1 Docket, a site which tracks schedule announcements across 351 Division I schools, list only one school - Syracuse - which has confirmed any game with Georgetown this season, the fewest of any school in its cross-tabulation.
From a schedule sense, there is a second impact. Because the PK80 was an exempt tournament, two of the games did not count against its maximum total of 29 regular season games. As such, Georgetown's regular season will shrink from 31 to 29 games, with 10 open positions now remaining on the schedule. DePaul, which formerly competed in the exempt John Wooden Classic, saw its space in that tournament quickly filled by Sacramento State. At this late date, there are no exempt tournament openings.
Reaction among the other PK80 fan bases was critical. "It's kind of a stupid thing to do," wrote the Duke Basketball Report. There's no question Georgetown is going to have some struggles, but really, it's better to take your lumps and learn. There's really no other way to improve."
"The Hoyas pulling out of the PK80 is just a reminder of how far they have to go to return to their glory days," said Travis Hines of NBC Sports.com. "Ceding their place among the game's greats is bad move for Georgetown, even more so if it comes from a place of fear of their ability to compete."
To no surprise, social media took its criticism of Georgetown's move to the masses:
Georgetown has been a top Nike school forever. Backing out of this tournament is wow.— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) August 1, 2017
Hoya Paranoia Back? Georgetown Pulls Out Of PK80 https://t.co/f97gb3HVNe— DukeBasketballReport (@dbrsbn) August 2, 2017
This is a weak and disappointing decision by Georgetown. Shying away from tough competition is not the Hoyas program that fans want to see.— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) August 1, 2017
With less than a month to the start of the 2017-18 school year, head basketball coach Patrick Ewing has added 6-7 Jamarko Pickett to a four member freshman class.
Pickett, from Washington DC's Eastern HS via Massanutten (VA) Military Academy committed to Mississippi over Rhode Island in the fall of 2016, but failed to show up at Ole Miss this summer following the departure of two assistant coaches and requested he be released from his National Letter of Intent. Following the release, Pickett received interest from Georgetown and Maryland, but chose the opportunity for starting time at Georgetown over the prospects of a deeper bench at Maryland.
Following his postgraduate year at Massanutten, Pickett was ranked 82nd nationally in the RSCI consolidated rankings and is the Hoyas' only top 100 recruit in the class of 2017.
Additional coverage follows below.