The following are quotes by JT III about each player on the team. I came across these gems on hoyaballa,yuku.com. Pretty interesting statements..each is an analysis of the player's potential and capability this season.
"He has to make the growth and the step and the progression from sophomore year to junior year, and he has to step up into a leadership role this year on the court and off the court. But he's ready for that," Thompson said. "It's something that he's prepared himself for, mentally and physically. But it's a different role, a new role for him, also."
To this point, Wright has gotten things done primarily because of his athleticism; his quickness, strength and leaping ability are all above average. He also doesn't register as a either a traditional pass-first or shoot-first point guard, but can do both pretty darned well, Thompson believes.
"I don't think he's limited," said Thompson. "Can he run the team? Absolutely. Can he score? Yes. I don't think those two are exclusive -- you have to do one or do the other. You look down through the years, we've had guards -- be it Jon Wallace or even Jessie Sapp -- who have been able to run the team but at the same time score.
"I think with last year under his belt, Chris has made and will continue to make that progression and get that understanding. I think he's going to have a big year for us."
"Austin Freeman is someone that we're going to need to bring a lot to the table in every aspect of the game," Thompson said. "I think he's someone that's going to have to score for us. He's someone that's going to have to be a reliable defender. He's someone that's going to have to rebound for us. So he's going to have a lot of responsibility. And, like I said about Chris, I think he's ready and waiting for that chance."
Much has been made of Freeman's stocky build over the last two seasons; he more closely resembles an NFL fullback than a basketball player. By the same token, there have always been questions about Freeman's conditioning, and whether he's willing to pay the price in the weight room.
Thompson said the junior's maturity level and focus took a step forward over the summer, and that he fully intends on using his physical strength to become one of the Hoyas' strengths this season.
"We plan on making that a factor this year," he said. "He can be a tough match-up because he can go down low and he's strong, and he can hold you off. And yet he can really score. And so that's going to be something that we're going to have to utilize.
"I think he has done a great job in the off-season with his strength and conditioning; Austin has dropped weight. I don't know how much, but his body looks different right now -- significantly different right now than it did at the end of last season. He's someone, as much as anyone, who's looked hungry this summer -- OK, that's a bad analogy. But he's worked."
"You cannot at all," said Thompson, the coach, when asked if he could put a price on the experience the freshman picked up by enrolling early. You're looking at someone who's great -- he has such a jump on things. He knows what we're doing and how we're doing it. He literally, between the time when he got here in January and right now, maybe more so than Greg, he's bulked up.
"But just the understanding, where he goes to a semester of practice. You're able to learn the language, the way we talk, you're able to understand the routine, able to pick up what's expected and not expected. He's not walking in the door this year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as all freshmen normally do. And so it's been invaluable."
The coach also had plenty of praise for Thompson's selflessness; by enrolling early he was unable to participate in any of the prep all-star games -- like the McDonald's All-American game -- that most big-time youngsters play. That aside, Thompson should be able to make an immediate impact for Georgetown in a number of different areas.
"He is someone who can put the ball in the basket. Hollis can shoot. Hollis can make shots," Thompson said. "Hollis has a competitiveness about him that our team needs. Because of his length, I think he has the ability to guard different positions. I think he can guard down or guard up. He is a freshman, hasn't played a game, but he's gone through a semester and a summer of practices and then workouts."
"Good things happened when Henry was in the game last year. Consistently, good things happened when he was on the floor," said Thompson. "He's going to get the opportunity this year to be on the floor a whole lot more, and so he's going to have to maintain that consistency. He goes from a freshman where we put them out there and hope they don't mess up to a sophomore that we're depending on. He's active. The ball finds a way to fall into his hands a lot, and he comes up with a rebound."
Also helping Sims is the fact that he is an above-average passer, making him a perfect fit in Thompson's offense.
"Henry is one of the better passers we have on our team; he has a knack for getting the ball where it should be," Thompson said. "He's ready to step up. He understands."
"Greg from the beginning had the opportunity to be drafted, and drafted pretty high. But with that being said, I think he's an honest person," said Thompson. "When he looks in the mirror I think he has aspirations not just to be a pro, but to be a good pro. I think a lot of players feel, 'I can be a pro now, so I can come out.' I think Greg realizes for him to be a good pro, he needs some work. He needs to get better in a lot of different areas.
"It wasn't like I spent or he spent too much time in deep contemplation, or I'm sitting here on pins and needles. We went through the educational process, and he said, 'I want to come back to school.' On top of the basketball component of it, he likes school. He likes being here at Georgetown."
When pressed for specific areas in which Monroe needs to improve upon as far as his game goes, Thompson didn't hesitate.
"Offense and defense. It's that simple," he said. "I think he's one of these people that's extremely blessed and fortunate that he can be good at so many things on the basketball court. But then that becomes a responsibility to himself and to his team to be good at everything. He has to get stronger. As the year wore on, he wore down. And so he has to become stronger. He's put in the time in the weight room. I wish I could say he's 20 or 30 pounds heavier. I don't know what it is, but I know he's bigger.
"After that, it's literally everything. I think he can be better in the post, I think he can be better on the perimeter. Defensively he can be more of a presence. Every aspect. That's the responsibility that he has -- to improve on every aspect of his game."
Thompson also said he expects Monroe to become a stronger presence as far as leadership goes.
"There's no doubt, and I think he's ready for that and he understands that," said Thompson. "You come in as a freshman with a lot of attention, and I think he handled that freshman year well. Now he's moving from a freshman who's thrown into the fire to now he's a sophomore who is going to be one of the leaders on the team, and not just a focal point in terms of on-the-court play, but we need him to be a presence in terms of his presence in the locker room, up in the dorms and around campus."
"We play with more energy when Jason, Henry and Hollis are on the court," said Thompson. "We come up with more loose balls. Jason, you talk about hard-nosed. He's skinny as a whip but he's tough, he's strong and he competes. He does the dirty things that a lot of people don't want to do, and that this team needs. And coupled with that, he can score.
"The two people from last year that the world will see significant strides from, I think, are going to be Henry [Sims] and also Jason. He played a very similar role to Henry last year when he was out there. But we're de-pending on them this year and they understand that, they know that, and I think they're ready for that role, that responsibility."
"When Julian transferred he was able to compete right away, but I think a lot of people forgot that he was a freshman [in terms of experience]," Thompson said. "Yes, he had competed at the ACC level, but relative to what was expected of him here, what we needed him to do here, he was learning all anew. So he went through the same growth process and had the same learning curve that a lot of freshmen go through.
"I think we'll see a much more settled Julian Vaughn this year, a much more comfortable Julian Vaughn this year, a much more confident Julian Vaughn this year."
"I think that he's skilled enough that he can wear different hats," Thompson said. "At the end of the day, Nikita can make shots when we need him to make shots. And also at the end of the day, Nikita is an unselfish player that does a good job of helping his teammates out. So we need him to do that. But when he's open, the ball's going to go in."
"Jerelle is a big, strong kid. He's got a body walking in the door that DaJuan had walking out the door," Thompson said. "Big, strong kid. How is he going to respond when the lights come on? He has the skill set and the toughness that he's going to play. He really rebounds. Physically, he's able to play right now."
"He's similar to Jason, if I had to make a comparison," Thompson said. "He'll do all the dirty things. He'll be the first one to dive on the floor."
Thompson thinks Benimon and Sanford will be able to make contributions to the Hoyas this season, even if they come mostly in practice early.
"They're both tough, walking in here with a chip on their shoulders," he said. "The toughness will help both of them, and it'll help us."