“We’re not going to forget last year. We went through that. We have to learn lessons from that. The taste is in our mouth. We can’t forget that; that has to be a part of growing. But at the same time, it’s not like we’re going to come in here and slam the door and beat ‘em up with it. They experienced it. They hurt just like I did.”—Coach John Thompson III, in The Washington Post.
Good statement by Thompson...hopefully it will resonate in his players. Georgetown's biggest issue, besides rebounding and consistent shooting, lies primarily in its leadership role. Back in 2007, players like John Wallace, Jeff Green, Tyler Crawford and Roy were the linchpins of a very blue collared team. They led, not only by example, but vocally as well. Out of high school, I don't even think Jeff was a Top 50 recruit and Wallace was on his way to Princeton before Thompson guided him towards Georgetown, upon leaving his coaching position at his former Alma mater. Watching Roy in high school, I can tell you he was no big time recruit either. Yet, he improved and excelled like no other player I've ever seen. Throw Jessie Sapp in the mix, who played his best ball when with this crew, and you had a very special group of guys. The point is, these guys weren't five star recruits, covered in youtube clips and recruiting articles. They were simply a bunch of kids with a dream and desire to achieve. But most importantly, they BOUGHT into the system that Thompson has instituted. In addition, none of them came in with ego issues. In some cases, it is probably smarter to start your program with a bunch of underrated, below the radar kids, that have the motivation and chip on their shoulder to win and make themselves a name. (Broadus take note) Mcdonald All-Americans can sometimes think that they belong in the starting lineup and as the go-to-guy. We certainly saw ego problems and leadership issues on the 2008-2009 team.
Hopefully with two years in the program, players like Austin Freeman and Chris Wright understand that it is their time to shine and take that leadership role. As an avid fan and supporter of the Hoyas, I want to see an anger and "chip on my shoulders" mentality. I want to see players getting in each other's faces, whether in practice or during a game, and to push each other to do better. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, criticize each other in a constructive, civil manner that is meant to motivate and get each other better. (No repeat of the Duke halftime locker room incident, please.) People always argue that it is better to stay positive on one another. To be honest, the most effective mechanism for success and improvement is constructive criticism. These players must show the ability to push each other in the right direction. The only way that will happen is by pointing one another's areas of improvement, whether it be on the court, off the court, mentally, or physically. It needs to happen, and I hope it has already started happening in the off-season.
With that said, what are your opinions on the possible starting lineups for this years team? Without any real knowledge how practice has been going, my first bet would be Chris, Austin, Jason, Greg, and Henry Sims. I think Chris and Austin are an obvious, especially now that Freeman is back in shape according to sources. Chris has the ability to drive and short. Something we haven't really seen in a point guard since A.I. He just needs to shoot the three more consistently, like he did in high school. Jason did so well in some games off the bench last yr. Coming out of the WCAC in the DC area, he is a very talented player and should blossom this year. Greg is Greg. My only complaint is he need to be more selfish at times. In this season (probably his last), there is no reason why he shouldn't be scoring 20 points a game and double-digit rebounds. He does need to prove himself as a dominant rebounder, but his upside is remarkable. Henry is the big question. He is so athletic. Incredible upside and leaping abilities. He SHOULD start, but it's really up to him. If he can prove consistency and rebounding capability, then this should be a no brainer.
Off the bench Julian Vaughn is our first big man in while Hollis Thompson our guard. Thompson could be something special, and could be a starter if he proves himself early. Coming a semester early really helps as well. If he can prove himself as a big-time perimeter shooter, then he will take a starting role almost certainly.
Don't really know too much on the two new freshman. Would love to hear some opinions from people with actual knowledge.
Comments, questions and opinions on what YOU think would be a great starting lineup for this years team would be much appreciated. Let's start the discussion.