After a Forgettable Regular Season, What Does Georgetown Do Now?Posted by Chris Stone on March 7th, 2017
Sitting directly in front of the Georgetown student section during the Hoyas’ 81-55 blowout loss to Villanova on Saturday, it wasn’t difficult to hear the occasional chants regarding coach John Thompson III directed toward the school’s administration. Whether it was some variation of “Fire Thompson” or “We Want Change,” a vocal collection of students made their feelings clear — after what will likely be consecutive seasons of missing the NCAA Tournament (and three of four campaigns), they’re ready for a new regime. What’s less clear is how Thompson himself feels about those chants. When he was asked about it afterward, a school official stepped in and requested that reporters limit their questions to those related to the game. The uncertainty surrounding the Hoyas’ program, however, is something worth examining, and it starts with trying to figure out what is going to happen with Thompson.
The available evidence seems to suggest that change isn’t coming to Georgetown anytime soon. That was the conclusion of ESPN’s Jeff Goodman after speaking to four ex-players who, on the condition of anonymity, suggested that a move is necessary. But institutional inertia in support of Thompson is very strong. His father, John Thompson, Jr., built the program to national prominence in the 1980s and the school recently opened a $62 million practice facility with “Big John’s” name on it. Add in the younger Thompson’s history of success that — although starting to feel rather dated — includes a trip to the Final Four, and it becomes more understandable that Georgetown is willing to give him more time to correct course.
The good news on the Hilltop is that Thompson has seemingly done a fine job of identifying his program’s biggest problems and working to correct them. In order to better recruit the DC metro area, for example, he hired Akbar Waheed as a new assistant coach before the season. Waheed is recognized as a strong recruiter and has excellent ties to the area. The head coach also seems committed to updating the Hoyas’ offense by creating more play-making opportunities for his guards. That’s the story he reportedly sold to four-star recruit Tremont Waters before the Connecticut guard committed to the school in October. The addition of Waters is significant because the Hoyas are badly in need of a true point guard who can facilitate the offense, shoot from the outside and reduce the team’s awful (281st nationally) turnover rate. Those three changes won’t solve all of Georgetown’s problems, but when combined with the other factors that will keep Thompson at the helm, they present a case for some optimism moving forward.