Inside Edition: A Scrimmage With Hoyas Past

Former John Thompson Jr. player "Bashful" strikes again:

As many of you may have noticed, the Hoyas have not been their usually effective basketball selves the past few games and I’d like to explain why.  Much like trying to learn a new golf swing, the Hoyas had some lessons that they have recently learned on the basketball court and are trying to incorporate them into their game. 

(via Creative Commons License)

Shortly after the Memphis game, and thanks to Ted Leonsis’s latest investment in nanorobotics, he was able to transport the entire 1974-75 Hoya basketball team and staff to the present time to play a scrimmage against the current Hoyas in the Verizon Center. Well, the event was something special, as you might imagine. The '74-75 team, which was responsible for the first Hoya NCAA appearance since 1943 and started a run of 27 straight post season appearances for Georgetown, was stunned by the ability to be summoned to the future to play the 2010-11 Hoyas. 

The Scrimmage after The Jump:

First, they couldn’t believe the Verizon Center or as Jonathan Smith said "What the F--- did they do to Chinatown?"  Many other players simply couldn’t believe that an African-American was President or as Merlin Wilson said when told, "sheeeet!" But surprise wasn’t limited to the '75 Hoyas. When the current team came out on the Verizon court to warm up, they were dumbstruck by the shorts on the 75ers, the leather Converse sneakers with Hoya blue stars and the fact that JTII had no gray hair. But ballplayers being ballplayers the guys all got along and soon were warming up for a time span test of talents against each other.

By agreement between the two coaches, father and son, the '75 team wore their away powder blue uniforms as the current Hoyas played hosts in their home grays. And in order to span the differences in rules over the years it was agreed that the first half would be played with current rules, three point shot, 35 second shot clock and dunking while the second half would revert to 1975 rules. The starting teams were as follows:

1975: Mike Riley 5’8", Jonathan Smith 6’2", Merlin Wilson 6’9", Billy Lynn 6’11" and Larry Long 6’7"

2011: Chris Wright 6’0", Jason Clark 6’2", Julian Vaughn 6’9", Austin Freeman 6’4" and Hollis Thompson 6’7"

First 10 minutes of the game

JTII started off the game with his well known pressing style alternating various forms of man to man and zone over the length of the court as JT III countered with his Princeton offense and deliberate possessions. The presence of the three point line seemed to surprise the 75 team as Austin and Hollis were happy to fire away from the line once Chris broke the press against the relentless pressure of Mike Riley. The few attempts to go inside on the '75 squad backfired as the twin towers of Lynn and Wilson were able to swat shots and grab almost every defensive rebound.  On offense the 75ers started slow as they adjusted to shooting under the pressure of the shot clock but quickly found some weaknesses to exploit. Billy Lynn’s height advantage pretty much allowed him to fire away from his comfortable corner spot and Jonny Smith was able to use his 9.7 speed to penetrate and get off some comfortable 12 foot jumpers in the paint.

Four minutes into the game Mike Riley got Wright to pick up his second charging foul and JT III brought in Markel Starks. Also, Henry Sims replaced Hollis to try and counter Lynn’s height advantage. Because of the pace and the emotions involved the 75 squad was substituted en masse 5 minutes in with a fresh group consisting of Greg Brooks, Bill Thomas, Mike MacDermott, Ed Hopkins and Derrick Jackson.  JT III took the break in the action to give Vaughn a blow with Nate Lubick.

The rumble continued at the previous pace. Jackson found he could get his shot off on Starks and Billy Thomas took a liking to three point line for the 75 squad. Freeman, relieved to see Wilson and Lynn sit, started driving on the freshman Hopkins in the lane and Brooks and Lubick went at it like a heavyweight fight on the boards. This continued until the ten minute mark when Vee Sanford (in for Starks) hit a three pointer to put the '11 team up 21-19 and JTII called timeout. Some big rumbles were heard coming out of the '75 huddle as "Pops" lit into his players for being down.  JTIII, as usual, had the squad gathered around for an intense but quiet discussion.

The Middle Twenty Minutes

Coming out of the timeout, the '75 squad began to press with a furious vengeance that took the '11 squad by surprise and led to a number of turnovers by Starks and Clark, some quick points and a 10-2 run for the visitors. JT III took a chance with 5 minutes to go in the half to get Chris Wright in the game and stem the blood flow that came off the '75 press. Things calmed down after Wright came back in and Hollis Thompson started to find an inside/ outside game to work against Larry Long. Meanwhile, Wilson and Brooks were making some nice work on the glass despite some incredibly physical play by Lubick and Vaughan. Two plays in the last minute of the half hurt the 11 squad when Riley got Chris on an offensive foul as he drove down the lane and Larry Long provoked Hollis into throwing a punch which resulted in a technical. The teams went into the locker room with the '75 team up 36-29.

The teams came out of the locker rooms looking forward to the no dunking, no 3 point shots and no shot clock game. Both teams settled into a nice rhythm that reflected their strengths, 75ers kept a modest three quarters court pressure on and the home team worked into long offensive possessions  that  gave them the freedom to move the ball into position for 12-15 foot jumpers instead of the three ball. Austin and Hollis led the offense for their squads with Nate and Sims getting some nice tip-ins when Wilson sat. Jonny Smith and Derrick Jackson found their range and made some nice assists to Bill Lynn and Ed Hopkins. A new five came on with 12 minutes to go and put on a full court man to man press that ended up with three straight turnovers to cap another 10-2 run and a 60-48 advantage at the 10 minute mark.

The Last Ten Minutes

With ten to go and no shot clock, JT II decided to try to shorten the game and went into his familiar double high post stall. Mike MacDermott, Jackson and Riley took turns spreading the floor and the '11 squad followed the ball handlers with less aggression than necessary as they were not used to such long stalling tactics. The stall though had the unintended effect of disrupting the 75ers offensive momentum which had fed off the press and steals. With two minutes to go the home team had climbed back to within 5 points which they made up over the next 90 seconds with a Freeman 3 point play (the old fashioned way) and two foul shots by Chris Wright, courtesy of a charge by Jon Smith. The teams traded possessions with no points when the '11 squad missed shot with 10 seconds to go. Hopkins grabbed the rebound and cleared it out to Thomas who moved it down court and found Jackson in the corner for an 18 foot jumper that swished with 2 seconds to go for the win.

The Aftermath

The '11 squad was disappointed but lined up to shake hands. This was greeted by confusion on the '75 squad. "Why do they want to shake our hands?" asked one. "Because that’s what everybody does after every game" said JTIII. Ok.

The press conference after the game was interesting. JT III was gracious and said he was grateful to Ted Leonsis for the special event and vowed to learn from it. When JT II was asked if he felt bad beating his son, he quickly said "Hell no. I love my son. But I love myself much more. And winning is the period that dots every sentence!" Ok.

Ted Leonsis took the 1975 team back to their own time and quickly made plans for a matchup between the 1979-80 team and the current squad. "I think our guys can learn from these guys. And I think I can make some money off it to boot!" Ok.

Author’s note:

The 1974-5 team earned a spot in the 25 team NCAA field when Derrick Jackson hit an 18 foot corner jumper at West Virginia with 2 seconds left in the game. Hopkins got the rebound and Thomas had the assist. The team lost the opening round game to Central Michigan when James McElroy hit 2 free throws with time expired. The referees called Jon Smith for charging on his last second shot in a tie game. The 1974-5 team have had their story written already. The 2010-11 team is currently writing theirs.

1.       Jon Smith was timed running a 9.7 sec. 100 yd dash and ran a 4:30 mile in basketball shoes on Kehoe Field the opening day on practice in 1974. The Dallas Cowboys invited him to camp to try out for defensive back.

2.       Derrick Jackson was timed running a 9.4 sec. 100 yd dash. He was drafted by the Detroit Tigers and the Golden State Warriors.

3.       Merlin Wilson holds the all time record for rebounds average at Georgetown and grabbed the second highest number of career rebounds after Patrick Ewing. He was drafted by the Washington Bullets.

4.       Ed Hopkins was drafted by the Washington Bullets.

Stay Casual, my friends.

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