Morning Five: 10.22.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on October 22nd, 2010

  1. Thursday was a big day in the recruiting world, as three top prospects in the Class of 2011 made their commitments public with the result that two Big 12 schools not named Kansas and Texas will also be bringing elite talent onto their campuses.  The #4 player in that class according to Rivals, LeBryan Nash, committed to Oklahoma State, while the #5 player, Quincy Miller, and his teammate and #43 player, Deuce Bello, committed to Baylor.  Nash and Miller are program-changing forwards, while Bello is a ridiculously athletic shooting guard.  As an aside, Scott Drew is absolutely getting it done on the recruiting trail — Miller represents the third top ten player to commit to the Bears in the last two years (Perry Jones arrives this year; seven-footer Isaiah Austin will arrive in 2012), and he’s beating out the likes of grizzled veteran recruiters such as Rick Pitino for these kids.  When you also consider that Baylor had to rekindle an entire program from the ashes of the Dave Bliss debacle merely seven years ago, seeing this kind of talent commit to play ball in Waco is nothing short of extraordinary.
  2. The preseason USA Today/Coaches poll came out on Thursday, and as expected, Duke was at the top with 29 of the 31 first-place votes.  Michigan State was second and received the other two first-place votes.  Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Ohio State rounded out the top five.  For a little historical perspective, last year’s Final Four teams were ranked #2 (Michigan State), #8 (Duke), #9 (West Virginia) and #10 (Butler) in the preseason.
  3. Could the summer evaluation/recruiting period become a thing of the past?  According to a report released Thursday, the Conference Commissioners Association voted last month to recommend abolition of the summer period.  The NCAA’s Board of Directors will make the final decision on this, but many coaches are already harping on the proposal as a disaster in the making.  In an email sent to coaches from NABC president Tom Izzo, he noted that it will become much more difficult and costly to evaluate prospects individually rather than in the summer camp group setting, and that the cancerous influence of agents, runners and other hangers-on during the summer will only become more powerful without the coaches and NCAA around to lend an air of propriety.
  4. Scary news from the DC area that former Georgetown star guard Charles Smith was shot twice in the chest on Thursday and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.  Smith was the Big East POY in 1989 and played on the 1988 bronze-medal US Olympic team, the last US international basketball team comprised solely of collegians.  The suspect who shot Smith is still at large, but we certainly hope that Smith comes through this ok and his assailant is brought to justice.
  5. The Atlantic 10 media made their predictions yesterday in NYC, with Temple receiving the burden of expectations to win the conference while Xavier, Richmond and Dayton fell in line behind the Owls.  The preseason all-A10 first team consists of Lavoy Allen (Temple), Kevin Anderson (Richmond), Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure), Damian Saunders (Duquesne) and Chris Wright (Dayton).
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JT2 to JT3: Georgetown Needs More Thugs

Posted by rtmsf on January 12th, 2009

We’re old enough to remember the mid-80s, when Hoya Paranoia ruled the national college basketball scene.  Back then, the word Georgetown was synonymous with high-flying, athletic but brutish players who liked to get in an opponent’s face and let him smell what he had for breakfast.  The Hoyas under John Thompson were intimidating.  They were brash.  They were physical and they let you know it.  In some hushed circles, the Hoyas were even called “thugs.” 

SI)
Seriously, Nobody Had the Shaved Head Look in 84 (photo credit: SI)

Image was part of it.  Maybe it was the unique  grey t-shirts under their uniforms or the way-before-its-time shaven head of hired gun Michael Graham.  Maybe it was the bombastic style of their oversized coach with his towel and militaristic type of discipline.  More likely, it was the superior size, skill and power of players like Patrick Ewing, Charles Smith and Reggie Williams.  We remember watching teams simply wilt when faced with another patented Georgetown blitzkrieg.  A few woofs, a couple of wailing chin-ups on the rim, and you could literally see the fear develop in the eyes of the opponent.  John Thompson, of course, enabled and facilitated this mentality – it was gasoline to fuel his “us against them” paradigm, and it worked.  The Hoyas went to three title games from 1982-85, and won the whole shebang in 1984. 

So it was interesting to hear last week that JT the Elder had admonished his son’s team on his radio show over Georgetown’s current rebounding woes by stating that the Hoyas need more “thugs” on its team.  From the AP report:

One of the pitfalls of having a Hall of Fame father with a radio show is that the father-son advice gets dispensed for everyone to hear. Those listening to the John Thompson Show on local station WTEM (DC) this week heard the longtime Georgetown coach suggest that the current team was in need of some “thugs.”  Not criminals or classroom bullies. But guys who can go get some rebounds.  Thompson gave more or less the same advice when he visited practice this week, imploring the players to adopt the kind of get-the-ball attitude that could solve the rebounding woes that have beset the program under John Thompson III.

Of course, we all know what Thompson meant – that Georgetown needs to get tougher – but it was an interesting use of  a loaded word by the CEO of Hoya Paranoia, someone who would have defiantly taken umbrage with that characterization of his team (and used it to his full advantage) a generation ago.

AP/Laura Rauch)
Thuggalicious (photo credit: AP/Laura Rauch)

Nevertheless, there is truth to JT2′s complaint.  Georgetown currently ranks a paltry 289th nationally in rebound percentage (47.9%), they have been outrebounded in eight of their fourteen contests, and only Greg Monroe (6.3) averages more than five per game.  Even the son JT3 admits that it is a problem.  To the Hoyas’ credit, in their last two games, they’ve been +5 (Notre Dame) and +11 (Providence) in the rebounding department, so maybe in taking a page from his motivational playbook, father knows best after all. 

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