Friday night was Midnight Madness for Georgetown’s basketball team, the kickoff to what should be an absolutely terrific season. Sadly, this is the first one that I have missed, but I suppose I have to grow out of it sometime (ok, so actually, the growth of the program enabled only students who lined up at 5pm to get in…).
The team has high expectations for the year, and is already projected to be ranked anywhere from 5th to 8th in the preseason polls. However, with the 7’2″ Experience returning as well as four out of five starters, plus two All-Americans, I would say a title run is in order, and well within reach. Thankfully JTIII has received a six year contract extension, for the man deserves all the credit in the world for reviving the program.
Midnight Madness takes place all over the country at big program schools, and even though ESPN chose to broadcast Georgetown’s live, none have the intimate feel that McDonough Gymnasium can offer. The cavernous Verizon Center may be our main venue for home games, but it is always great to see the players introduced in front of 2,000 screaming students. Georgetown has also used MM and its showcase of our rich basketball heritage and devotion to the program to impress recruits, and many have committed after the event. This year’s may have been the stacked of all, as Greg Monroe, the #1 recruit in the country, along with twenty other recruits, were in attendance.
The festivities Friday night included dunking, a three point contest, unveiling our 2007 Final Four banner, as well as hanging Jeff Green’s jersey up to celebrate his joining of the NBA. But the best highlight must have been when Jerry Rice, the great 49ers’ wide reciever, was introduced, and Patrick Ewing Jr taught him the ‘Soulja Boy’ dance. Jerry Rice’s daughter is a sophomore at Georgetown and he particpated in “Dancing with the Stars” so perhaps it was only appropriate.
Here is the video:
Much more videos of the entire event can be found here.
I love that Roy Hibbert, who last year chose to do a Kevin Garnett entrance (clapping the chalk), spent his introduction jumping into the stands with the students, walking through them and high fiving all the way. For someone who gave up guaranteed millions as a lottery pick to return to give Georgetown a chance at a national title, it is great to see him as humble as ever and let them show their enthusiasm and thanks.
The euphoria certainly wasn’t lost on Greg Monroe, who announced a day later he would commit to Georgetown, before even visiting his other schools, Duke and UConn. Just incredible. A 6’10” 17 year old, with excellent grades, demeanor, excellent defense and unusually strong passing skills, the #1 recruit in the nation…what more could we have asked for? He will fit in perfectly in JTIII’s Princeton offense, and if a Final Four appearance didn’t announce Hoya Paranoia is back, this committment has.
Here is ESPN’s summary:
With more consistent effort, Greg Monroe could eventually emerge as the best player from the ’08 class.
Monroe has the ability to easily perform every task on the basketball court, much in the same manner in which Lamar Odom, another left-handed combo-forward, does for the Los Angeles Lakers. Monroe has smooth footwork and post moves, which allows him to easily score on the block, seeming just as comfortable facing up in the post or playing with his back to the basket. Despite his size, Monroe has the ability to consistently knock down perimeter jump shots with range that extends out to 15-17 feet. He has very good lateral quickness and surprisingly deft ball-handling skills for a player of his height.
Monroe places immense pressure on the opposition due to the match-up problems that he presents. When guarded by a bigger, slower post-player, Monroe uses his quickness to drive past the defender on the perimeter. If defended by a smaller perimeter player, Monroe can move into the post to exploit the size differential. He also runs the floor very well and has good leaping ability. Monroe also has very impressive vision and passing skills. He effectively rebounds the ball on both on the both ends of the court. Monroe also contests, alters and blocks shots on defense. If he plays with a high level on intensity on a consistent basis, increases his strength and adds muscle to his frame, Monroe will quickly evolve into an NBA-level prospect.
Due to his vast array of skills, Georgetown will utilize Monroe in a variety of ways. Monroe’s vision, passing skills and mobility will fit perfectly with JT3’s quick, motion offense that relies on passing, precision and teamwork. Monroe’s future teammates will find themselves on the receiving end of many outstanding passes, due to Monroe’s unselfish style of play and knack for spotting open teammates. The Hoyas will lose All-American center Roy Hibbert to graduation and will look to Monroe to help fill the considerable interior scoring void.
With Hibbert’s development over his four-year stint at Georgetown, JT3 has shown that he knows how to develop interior players similar to the way his father developed post players during the Golden Age of Georgetown Basketball, and Monroe will greatly benefit from Thompson III’s tutelage. Monroe has the lateral quickness and foot speed to run in Georgetown’s up-tempo offensive attack. Monroe will provide the Hoyas with shot-blocking ability and will learn to become a better defender while playing for Georgetown. In fact, he will initiate many fastbreaks by blocking a shot or grabbing a defensive rebound, running down the court and finishing on the offensive end. With the freedom to move from the perimeter to the post that the motion offense provides, Monroe will have a chance to showcase both his post-play ability and perimeter skills. Monroe gives the Hoyas with another ball-handler, making it increasingly difficult to press them. Along with current forwards DaJuan Summers and Vernon Macklin, Monroe will give John Thompson III the opportunity to attack the opposition with multiple alignments and use the high-low game to his advantage.
Monroe becomes the fourth prospect to commit to Georgetown, joining fellow ESPN 150 recruits 6-3 combo-guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va.), 6-10 C Henry Sims (Baltimore, Md.) and 6-9 PF Chris Braswell (Chatham, Va.). With Monroe, Braswell, and Sims, the Hoyas have the chance to go big and play Monroe at the small forward spot. Monroe’s inside-outside game will mesh perfectly with the physical style of play that Braswell utilizes, allowing Monroe to play on the perimeter and use his considerable offensive skills on smaller perimeter players. Monroe, with his passing and shooting ability, can play on the perimeter and the Hoyas can run high-low sets with Monroe and Sims on offense.
With all three prospects having great shot-blocking ability and length, Georgetown will create defensive nightmares for the opposition when they attempt to score. With their propensity to block shots and rebounds, this impressive trio should provide plenty of extra scoring chances for the Hoyas through their defense. This collection of interior depth should remind Georgetown fans of the plethora of interior players that played on the 1984 National Championship team that featured Patrick Ewing and Michael Graham and the Alonzo Mourning/Dikembe Mutumbo teams of the early ’90s. Adding the explosive Clark to the equation gives JT3 the talented guard that flawlessly complements such great interior depth and will help lead the Hoyas on more deep NCAA Tournament runs in the very near future.
Here is the schedule for the season:
11/10/07 vs. William & Mary Verizon Center 12:00 p.m. ET
11/15/07 vs. Michigan Verizon Center 7:30 p.m. ET
11/21/07 at Ball State Worthen Arena 7:00 p.m. ET
11/28/07 at Old Dominion Convocation Center 7:00 p.m. ET
12/01/07 vs. Fairfield Verizon Center 1:00 p.m. ET
12/05/07 at Alabama Birmingham Civic Center 7:00 p.m. ET
12/09/07 vs. Jacksonville Verizon Center 1:00 p.m. ET
12/15/07 vs. Radford McDonough Aren 7:30 p.m. ET
12/22/07 at Memphis Fedex Forum 12:00 p.m. ET
12/29/07 vs. American Verizon Center 1:00 p.m. ET
12/31/07 vs. Fordham Verizon Center 2:00 p.m. ET
01/05/08 at Rutgers Rutgers Athletic Center 2:00 p.m. ET
01/08/08 at DePaul Allstate Arena 12:00 p.m. ET
01/12/08 vs. Connecticut Verizon Center 2:00 p.m. ET
01/14/08 at Pittsburgh Petersen Center 7:00 p.m. ET
01/19/08 vs. Notre Dame Verizon Center 12:00 p.m. ET
01/21/08 vs. Syracuse Verizon Center 7:00 p.m. ET
01/26/08 at West Virginia Morgantown 7:00 p.m. ET
01/30/08 at St. John’s MSG 7:00 p.m. ET
02/02/08 vs. Seton Hall Verizon Center 12:00 p.m. ET
02/05/08 vs. USF Verizon Center 7:30 p.m. ET
02/09/08 at Louisville Freedom Hall 9:00 p.m. ET
02/11/08 vs. Villanova Verizon Center 7:00 p.m. ET
02/16/08 at Syracuse Carrier Dome 12:00 p.m. ET
02/18/08 at Providence Dunkin Donuts 4:00 p.m. ET
02/23/08 vs. Cincinnati Verizon Center 12:00 p.m. ET
02/27/08 vs. St. John’s Verizon Center 9:00 p.m. ET
03/01/08 at Marquette Bradley Center 2:00 p.m. ET
03/08/08 vs. Louisville Verizon Center 12:00 p.m. ET