The Georgetown Hoyas left the makeshift court on board the USS Bataan in Jacksonville, Fla. Friday night trailing the Florida Gators 27-23 at halftime. When they came back out for the second half, they found a hardwood better suited for a Slip n’ Slide contest. After conferring with Florida Head Coach Billy Donovan and game officials, Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III agreed to cancel the second half due to extreme condensation on the court.
“I’ve never had a contest that’s been ended [under these circumstances], at any level,” Thompson said. “This would’ve been really dangerous, we couldn’t play in these conditions.”
It’s true – Vox tested the conditions and we nearly fell flat on our faces. Every time game staff and others (including sophomore Otto Porter Jr., pictured) worked to clean an area of the court, moisture would reappear a couple of minutes later. Officially, the game was marked as “no contest”, as if it never happened.
For Porter Jr. and company, it is a disappointing result, especially because they were ready to come out and amend their first half blemishes.
“We were going to adjust to some things a little and come out with more energy,” the sophomore said. “Try to keep the same gameplan we had in the first half – seemed to work a little bit. They were missing shots. We just wanted to contain them.”
The main problem with that first half was poor shooting from the Hoyas. They shot just 37 percent from the field, a result of far too much stagnation on the offensive end. The Blue and Gray struggled with the Gator zone for much of the half, relying on three-pointers and forcing rushed jumpers at the end of the shot clock on multiple occasions.
Nike officially opened its first store in the DC area today, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the Nike Georgetown store at 3040 M Street. The store has been in the works for some time now, and replaces the Barnes and Noble which was a mainstay in the area until last year. The superstore is one of nine in the country for Nike, and covers 31,000 square feet.
The morning included remarks from legendary Hoyas basketball coach John Thompson Jr. and his son, current Georgetown coach John Thompson III. Former Hoya and NBA Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing and US Olympic soccer player Brandi Chastain were also present for some of the day’s festivities.
“We are proud to partner with the Georgetown community,” said Nike’s North America Vice President and General Manager Elliott Hill in a statement. “Washington D.C. has a rich sports culture and we look forward to inspiring and serving athletes of all levels.”
More on the unique Georgetown elements of the store and a slideshow with pictures from the day after the jump.
According to our entertaining friends over at Casual Hoya, this year’s Midnight Madness will feature hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh. One of the earliest and most successful beatboxers in rap, Mr. Fresh can make noises that sound nothing like those you’d expect to come from a human mouth. Though you can expect a great deal of beatboxing, also expect him to break out the Dougie with Cali Swag District’s hit single, “Teach Me How to Dougie.”
Midnight Madness, which officially marks the start of the college basketball season, took off on the Hilltop in the 1990s and has become a lighthearted celebration of the team. Past years have featured men’s head coach John Thompson III both dancing and orchestrating dances for his team. Two years ago, the event had perhaps its biggest headliner when DC-area rapper Wale performed for the McDonough Arena crowd. Last year featured a tribute to former Hoya greats, with legends from Patrick Ewing to Greg Monroe in attendance.
Aside from the special guest appearances and team introductions, a number of student groups, including GU Jawani, Groove Theory, and the Pep Band, showcase their talents throughout the evening. Every so often, the event also features a toilet shooting. The evening’s festivities usually get going early Friday evening, though students typically start lining up hours in advance.
We’ll leave you with this video promoting last year’s Midnight Madness. It features a great deal of the aforementioned Hoya legends and should get your sufficiently pumped up for the season opener, which is just 30 days away.
Junior kicker Matt MacZura is making a habit of coming up clutch for the Hoyas. His 33-yard field goal with 14 seconds left clinched the Hoyas’ third win of 2012 last night, as Georgetown (3-1) defeated Princeton (0-2) 21-20 in front of a national television audience on ESPNU.
For MacZura, in his first year as a placekicker, Friday night marks the second time this season he’s come up clutch, having sealed the Hoyas’ home opener against Wagner two weeks ago in similar fashion. There’s also a valid argument that he should have had a similar opportunity last week against Yale, before an aggressive passing play led to an interception in the end zone, dooming the Hoyas.
But for MacZura and the rest of the Hoyas, there really was never a doubt once the junior stepped in for that final attempt. “I kind of knew we were going to make it,” MacZura said with a laugh. “I don’t know if it ever becomes old habit, but [the Wagner field goal] it makes the next one a little easier.”
I knew he was going to make it,” added Head Coach Kevin Kelly. “I told him before he went out, ‘Don’t worry about it, you’re going to make it, they don’t have any timeouts and can’t ice you, just like practice.’”
Despite the victory, the final result belies the adversity Georgetown faced in its comeback. The Hoyas found themselves in a 14-3 hole early in the second quarter, unable to stop a steady dose of sophomore Will Powers. But up to that point, their offense was able to move the ball downfield, with junior quarterback Aaron Aiken completing eight of nine passes for 68 yards. Then, Aiken hurt his ankle on a sack.
Simsanity is heading to the Big Apple, as former Hoya center Henry Sims signed a deal with the New York Knicks today. The Knicks, who were already at 15 roster spots, are presumably bringing Sims onto their training camp roster, where he will have the opportunity to compete for a roster spot.
Sims, who had a well-chronicled rise from a pedestrian three-year bench player to a key cog in the Hoyas’ upstart 2011-2012 season, found himself on second round draft boards all the way through draft day this year. Teams ultimately veered toward the ‘draft-and-stash’ route in the latter half of the draft, opting to select the rights to high-potential European prospects in the hope that they’ll develop over time. Ultimately, this left the Baltimore native in a similar predicament to his two teammates, Jason Clark and Hollis Thompson, who also went undrafted.
Thompson was the first of the trio to find a home, as the reigning Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder signed him to a partially-guaranteed three year deal. Clark, meanwhile signed with Belgian club Okapi Aalstar.
Thompson and Clark had their situations settled a couple of months ago, but Sims remained in limbo until today. The center played with the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls during the Summer League, hoping to parlay the exposure into an NBA contract – it just took a little longer than he anticipated.
Despite the surprise signing, the Knicks have been looking at Sims for quite some time now, with rumored interest leading up to the NBA Draft and assistant general manager Allan Houston’s presence at this season’s Georgetown vs. UConn matchup.
Houston is also coincidentally in charge of the Knicks’ developmental league affiliate, the Erie BayHawks. If Sims does not make the Knicks roster, he could find himself in Erie, setting up what amounts to an extended audition for an NBA roster spot. With the Knicks’ essentially set up front – they have starters Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire with veterans Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas as backups – Sims needs to hope the Knicks see merit in carrying a fifth big man. With Camby and Thomas’s age as a factor, along with Stoudemire’s injury history, it’s certainly not out of question.
The Big East announced complete schedules for its member institutions today, including Georgetown’s. The Hoyas have 30 games on the schedule, including 17 home contests, all at the Verizon Center. Though the Blue and Grey’s opponents have been known for quite some time, dates and times of the conference matchups were not finalized until this morning. The announcement finalizes the basketball team’s schedule for 2012-2013.
The Hoyas begin their Big East slate with a matchup against Marquette in Wisconsin on January 5. This leaves the team with almost two weeks off after their last out-of-conference matchup against American on December 22. The Hoyas then head back to DC to take on Pittsburgh on January 8 – the conference home opener is scheduled for the day before classes start for the semester, perhaps signifying a solid student turnout for the teams’ last battle before the Panthers leave for the ACC.
They then head up to Madison Square Garden for the second time this season to take on historic rival St. John’s on the 12th. The Red Storm make a return trip to DC on February 2 for a 4 p.m. start. The late start time seems to be a trend for this year’s schedule, with one late-season matchup with Rutgers scheduled for 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 2 (great news for hungover Hoyas who just can’t muster the noon start times).
After the first St. John’s matchup, Head Coach John Thompson III and company return home to face Providence before hitting the road for contests against USF and Notre Dame. The game against the Fighting Irish will be played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in South Bend and will be nationally televised on ESPN.
After the brief road trip, the Hoyas return to the District for their second longest homestand of the season, in a week that starts with a projected top-five team, Louisville, on January 26 and continues with Seton Hall and Rutgers.
This past weekend Austin Freeman, Chris Wright, Henry Sims, and Jason Clark found themselves on the same team for the first time since their unceremonious exit from the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Georgetown reunion was made possible by the Basketball Alumni Legends League (The-BALL).
The fledgling professional league held its inaugural games this weekend, with the four Hoyas suiting up for Washington, D.C., against a group of former college standouts from the Philadelphia area. The-BALL, which plans to fully launch next summer, also unveiled a few rule quirks, like a four-point line from 25 feet out.
“It was cool,” Clark said after the first game in D.C. on Saturday. “It added some fun to the game, some excitement. I couldn’t hit one, but I’ll try tomorrow.”
The D.C. team won both exhibitions, with Clark leading the way with 20 and 21 points. Freeman displayed his familiar shooting touch, while Wright took over down the stretch in Sunday’s game. Sims fouled out in both contests, but he was a formidable presence in the paint (and on the solo fast break) when he did play.
For Sims and Clark, the games represented the next step in their transition from their time at Georgetown to their professional careers. Both played in the NBA Summer League last month, with Clark suiting up for the Miami Heat and Sims receiving playing time with the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls. Neither player has parlayed the experience into an NBA contract as of yet.
“It was good to get out there and learn from those older guys, gave me a chance to show what I got,” Clark said. “It was a really fun trip.”
At yesterday’s Patriot League media day, the Hoyas were at the forefront of the preseason awards. Senior linebacker Rob McCabe was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year for the Hoyas, following a junior season that saw him break the school record for tackles with 134.
In the process, McCabe was also named to the league’s first All-Preseason Team, along with senior Jeremy Moore (named twice at cornerback and return specialist) and sophomore left guard Mike Roland.
McCabe’s announcement marks the first such major preseason accolade for Georgetown since the Blue and Gray joined the Patriot League back in 2001. For him and Moore, the day marks a continuation of numerous preseason accolades. Both players have earned a reputation as elite players with a humble disposition, tending to defer their individual honors to their teammates and Head Coach Kevin Kelly.
“I think any defensive player will tell you there are no individual awards on the defensive side,” McCabe said in a statement. “It takes 11 guys, especially our front seven who do a great job, making it easy to run around and make plays.”
Roland earns the award after a stellar freshman season, where he cracked the startling offensive line at left guard and played there for seven games. He returns to his position as the youngest member of one of the most stable offensive lines in the conference.
Georgetown lacrosse entered a new era on Friday, with legendary head coach Dave Urick announcing his retirement from the program after 23 years at its helm. A press release made the announcement on Friday, also stating that Urick would continue to work in the Athletic Department as a Special Assistant to Athletics Director Lee Reed.
“Dave Urick has been a great ambassador for Georgetown University and he has guided our men’s lacrosse program to the top of the sport nationally,” Reed said in the release. “He is an icon in the sport and his legacy on the Hilltop will last for years to come. Dave brought our program from the ground up and made it one of the best in the country, both on the field and off. We’re grateful for all that he has done for men’s lacrosse and Georgetown University and I’m happy that we will have him here as a resource.”
Urick’s Hoyas have struggled over the past couple of seasons, failing to get past seven wins. The only reason these seasons were considered disappointments, though, is because of the precedent Urick set in 21 seasons prior, leading the Hoyas to 223 wins in his time on the Hilltop. The program reached its heydey beginning in 1997, when Urick’s Hoyas started a string of 11 straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including an appearance in the 1999 semifinals.
Just as the Hoyas received word of Stephen Domingo’s early arrival, Hollis Thompson inked a three-year contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to SLAM, Thompson’s deal is partially guaranteed with team options for the second and third years. The news was confirmed by Thompson’s agent, Seth Cohen. After going undrafted in last month’s NBA Draft, his professional prospects were initially in question. The signing is a huge success for Thompson, who can now fully rehabilitate a lingering groin injury that he suffered last season.
With Thompson’s shooting ability in the fold, the Thunder can space the floor even better around superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Durant presents the ideal player for Thompson to hone his offensive craft behind, given his preternatural ability to put the ball in the basket from anywhere on the floor. The young Thunder certainly needs the depth, having played deep into the playoffs the last couple of seasons, culminating in a Finals appearance this season.
More information on Thompson – along with Henry Sims and Jason Clark’s NBA prospects after the jump.