There is a frenzy
building on the Georgetown campus that hasn't been felt in more than a decade.
Hanging in the front stairwell of McDonough Gym is a new reminder of the Hoyas'
return to basketball prominence, a giant framed photograph of Georgetown fans
storming the court after last January's epic upset of top-ranked Duke. At
Midnight Madness on Oct. 18 a standing-room-only crowd roared as a teary-eyed
Patrick Ewing stood at midcourt and embraced his son Patrick Jr., a forward for
the Hoyas. "I like the school spirit here tonight," said Ewing,
Georgetown's past blessing its present. And student season-ticket sales are at
their highest levels since 1982, the elder Ewing's sophomore season.
Fans have every
reason to feel optimistic. Forward Jeff Green and center Roy Hibbert, the
Hoyas' top two scorers, and guard Jonathan Wallace, a three-year starter,
return from last year's team, which went 23--10 and advanced to the Sweet 16
for the first time since 2001. It was a remarkable achievement for a program
that just two years ago suffered through its worst season (13--15) in 31 years.
Then coach John Thompson III reeled in a nationally-ranked recruiting class,
featuring Maryland player of the year DaJuan Summers, McDonald's All-American
Vernon Macklin and Jeremiah Rivers, son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. Add
Ewing, who sat out last season after transferring from Indiana, and the
excitement is palpable. Now all Georgetown has to do is live up to the
Much of the
pressure sits on the shoulders of the 6'9", 235-pound Green, one of the
most versatile forwards in the country, whose passing skills are key to the
Hoyas' Princeton-style offense. " Jeff Green is the smartest player I've
ever coached," says Thompson, "in terms of understanding what I'm
telling him, why I'm telling him, when to apply it and when not to."
Green's post partner, the 7'2", 270-pound Hibbert, hopes to build on an
impressive NCAA tournament during which he averaged 15.7 points and 10.0
rebounds. The pair anchors a deep frontcourt that in time could conjure up
images of Georgetown's glory years.
The backcourt is
another story. After Wallace, says Thompson, comes "a cast of
characters." Expect sophomore Jessie Sapp, who played in all 33 games last
season, to step into a major role. Rivers should also figure into the mix.
Allen Iverson was
the star of the last Georgetown team to spend most of the season in the Top 10.
The current Hoyas hope to match that feat. "We have a lot of goals: to be
the best team in the nation, to get to the championship," Green says.
"We just have to continue to work to get there."
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy or pdf.]
RETURNING STARTER *2004--05 STATS AT INDIANA ?HIGH SCHOOL STATS
Can the Hoyas
fill the leadership and experience void left by five departed seniors?... How
will players handle the pressure that comes with greater expectations?... Other
than Wallace, do they have a consistent perimeter threat?