Homecoming has come and gone, most students have already had their midterm "Hell Week," and that can only mean one thing: basketball season is coming. On Friday night, your Georgetown Hoyas tipped off their season with Hoya Hoops Madness and students packed McDonough Arena to be part of the festivities.
I was there an hour before the door opening, so I was able to secure a good seat. Fortunately, many of my fellow students followed as the line began to snake around the barricades that had been put up. When the doors opened up, my fellow students and I were greeted with a barrage of swag on entry. By the time I passed through McDonough’s vestibule, which was full of cardboard cutouts of Hoya alums, I already had the T-shirt they had advertised plus a light-up necklace and a pair of glowing Thunderstix.
From my seat, I was able to spot a handful of recruits sitting on the balcony behind me. While I couldn’t tell exactly who they were, you can refer to our list of recruits who had been confirmed as in attendance for more. Those recruits got quite a show, as this year, Georgetown Athletics succeeded in balancing between all aspects of the show to put on an entertaining, captivating event.
The show kicked off with a handful of student dance groups (the GU Step Team, the Georgetown University Dance Company, GU Jawani, and Groove Theory) competing to see who would perform at halftime of the Georgetown men’s basketball game vs. Villanova (Groove Theory ended up winning after letting the women’s basketball team join in, to much applause from the crowd.) Hoya Blue also announced the slogan that will appear on this year's We Are Georgetown shirts, which will be "Lie Down for No One." Before the introduction of both the men’s and women’s teams, none other than Jack the Bulldog made an appearance, skateboarding across the court once again.
The introductions served as a nice way for the players to each get their moments in the sun. Notably, freshman center Jessie Govan may have the best dance moves on the team (Coach John Thompson III noted that he hoped that Govan "rebounds as much as he likes to dance,") and sophomore forward Isaac Copeland rolled out on one of those balancing "hoverboards." When D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera came out for the final introduction, the team broke out into the Soulja Boy dance. But JTIII showed his team what the previous generation could do, busting some moves to "ABC" by the Jackson 5.
After the introductions and a handful of dance-offs, the Hoyas’ men’s and women’s teams mixed together for an inter-squad scrimmage. While the results were effectively meaningless (as the game included shots worth 5 and 10 points as well as a 5-point bonus for the team that won a mid-game team dance-off), there were a few players who looked impressive. Trey Mourning had a few nice jams and looked good, as did LJ Peak.
This year’s dunk contest featured Peak and Isaac Copeland, with Copeland winning primarily because Peak was unable to get a dunk off on one of his attempts, but also because of an impressive two-handed 360 dunk. Judges Reggie Williams, Jaren Jackson, and Dikembe Mutombo thus gave the win to Copeland almost by default because the scores were cumulative. Peak, however, had what might have been the best dunk of the night with an emphatic one-handed slam over 6’11" Jessie Govan.
For the main event of the night, rapper
Tity Boi 2 Chainz came out and primarily lip-synced and danced along to some of his biggest hits, occasionally taking a break from that to rap some of his lyrics. Still, the crowd sang and danced along in excitement, singing along as 2 Chainz described what he wanted for his birthday. At the very end, Coach Thompson came out and encouraged everyone to attend both Saturday’s football game and all men’s and women’s basketball games and then the crowds filed for the exits.
Overall, Hoya Hoops Madness put on an exciting show that should have entertained students and recruits alike. Putting on a generally solid show serves as a good all-around boost for the program, as it encourages fans to come and can help persuade recruits to commit. For me, it reminded me that basketball season is coming and that it should be another great year reporting from the student section.
See you again in less than a month! Hoya Saxa!