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LINKS: Georgetown’s Cooley Talks Culture Change

“I’m going to live up to MY standard. I’m going to respect OUR tradition at Georgetown. I’m going to respect our legacy ... I will create a different culture.”

Providence v Seton Hall Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

A few new articles and interviews are trickling out this week as your Georgetown Hoyas are less than SEVEN DAYS away from the start of the season when they host the Le Moyne Dolphins on Nov. 7th. The “change” thus far has been comforting and, as the AP’s Howard Fendrich remarked, “Cooley’s willingness to allow a reporter to observe the full session at the home of ‘Hoya Paranoia’ in bygone days” was “noteworthy.” It might be monumental.

Of course, there was another mini-revolution with a Blue vs. Gray scrimmage on Friday. Cooley did not wear the orange sneakers (nor did the Hoyas actually wear those horrible AI-generated orange jerseys).

If you haven’t reviewed the BIG EAST Media Day links and interviews, make sure you check it out, because “Change is OK.”

Be sure to read every word of the coverage from the GU students over at Thompson’s Towel this week and throughout the season.

Here are the links:

New Georgetown basketball coach Ed Cooley has plans to change the culture and the win-loss record | AP

For nearly 2 1/2 hours, Cooley alternately observed — arms crossed, rumpled piece of white paper in one hand — and offered stern guidance sprinkled with colorful language and wit (“We’re not trying to run a play; we’re trying to score!”). He criticized (“If he ever scored on me, I’d punch myself! Sometimes it’s not about your defense; it’s about your pride!”). He taught (“The best leaders overcommunicate” and “Always keep score; there’s always a winner and loser in life”). It’s a style Georgetown associate head coach Ivan Thomas, who was on Cooley’s Providence staff for eight years, describes as a mix of “a tsunami ... a galvanizer of people” and “Uncle Ed at the cookout” ...

“Georgetown — the board — they have put all their chips in the middle of the table. And I don’t want to let them down. They made a substantial, substantial investment in me and my family, to combine with them and try to resurrect Georgetown basketball,” said Cooley, whose first regular-season game is Nov. 7 against visiting Le Moyne.

“I’ve seen the highs. I’ve seen the lows,” said Cooley, who went to seven NCAA Tournaments in 12 seasons at Providence. “There’s not an organization — maybe outside of Kansas — that didn’t go through a change, a downfall, a dip. But the cream will rise to the top. To me, it’s not a matter of ‘if.’ It’s not. Failure is not an option, right?”

3 Takeaways from the Blue vs. Gray Scrimmage | Thompson’s Towel

Jayden Epps is going to be “the guy” ... Long stretches of Friday night could realistically have been called “The Jayden Epps Show.” After reportedly scoring 46 points during an Oct. 14 closed-door scrimmage against Wake Forest, Epps’ first outing did not disappoint, as the transfer from Illinois posted 20 points in just under 22 minutes during the scrimmage. He opened the scoring with a nice drive to the rim, scored from all levels, and blew the game open by pulling up from deep in transition to bury one of a few threes...

Fairfield transfer Supreme Cook also looked solid inside, with several strong finishes in the paint. The highlight of Cook’s night was his dive to recover a loose ball with under three minutes to play, despite being down double digits late in a scrimmage. His effort retained possession for the Blue team and led to an emphatic three-point play for Fielder. That level of effort and buy-in so early in the year, especially from a veteran transfer, bodes well.

Blue-Gray Scrimmage Provides Another Sneak Peek at Coming Attractions | Hilltop Hoops

Friday’s scrimmage was Georgetown fans’ first opportunity to see Epps in a public setting, and he did not disappoint. He was head-and-shoulders above the other players on the floor, showcasing not only his ability to get into the paint and score, but also a potentially-improved three-point shot.

Epps hit several deep threes in the scrimmage that had the crowd buzzing. If he can improve on his 30% three-point rate from his freshman season, Epps could be poised for a breakout year. As is, he looks ready to be this team’s starting point guard, and will be expected to shoulder a significant scoring load for this team immediately.

Player Preview: Jayden Epps | Thompson’s Towel

Jayden Epps arrives on campus with the hopes of leading Ed Cooley’s fresh backcourt through what will be an interesting year for the Hoyas. Hailing from Norfolk, Virginia, Epps made a name for himself coming out of King’s Fork High School, where he showcased his scoring prowess and court vision. But now, the former top-50 recruit enters his sophomore season coming off what was an interesting start to his career at Illinois.

His impressive performances earned him a four-star rating in the 2023 recruiting class. Despite coming off the bench to start the season, Epps burst out during his freshman campaign at Illinois, moving into a bigger role as the season progressed and averaging close to 30 minutes a game during conference play. He quickly became a key piece of the Illini squad after scoring a career high 21 points against Monmouth in November. This success would continue as he won Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors at the beginning of February, coming off strong performances against Nebraska and Iowa.

Georgetown Coach Ed Cooley: ‘I’m Not Here for Legacy. I’m Here to Win’ | The Messenger (Jeff Goodman)

While English is appreciative of everything Cooley did to build the program — and might be the only one in the city who was happy to see Cooley leave — much of the fan base isn’t yet able to forgive Cooley. The fans view Georgetown as a significant step down due to its struggles over the past decade, especially since former Hoyas great Patrick Ewing couldn’t turn things around. But the reality is that most coaches in college basketball, and nearly all who work in the Big East, would prefer the Georgetown job if given the choice.

“Georgetown has a much higher upside,” said one veteran Big East assistant. “Just because it’s been terrible lately doesn’t mean it’s not a better job. Providence hired the right guy 10 years ago and Georgetown hasn’t had the right people running the program.”

Providence fans expect ‘ugly’ and ‘wild’ environment when Ed Cooley returns with Georgetown | (Zagoria)

As for Cooley’s return, Hopkins said, “Some people are going to be happy, some are going to be mad, there’s going to be different reactions so I’m not really sure what to expect but us as a team, we’re looking at it as just another game.”

Providence was picked seventh in the Big East preseason poll, with the Hoyas at eighth. Coren said the Friars can’t afford to lose to Cooley in his return.

“If you’re Providence, you can’t lose at home on Ed Cooley’s return, especially when you have a roster that I think is head and shoulders above what Georgetown has right now,” he said. “Will Georgetown ever win at Providence? I can’t say that they wont because he’s going to build that team and recruit well, but if he were to win this year with the disparity of talent on the two rosters, I feel it would be a gigantic upset.”

Patrick Ewing On Being the First NBA Player to Own a Sneaker Brand | Nice Kicks

NK: Amen to that. So the brand relaunched in 2012. How is your role different now than it was before?

PE: I had to take a step back once I took the head coaching job position at Georgetown, because Georgetown is a Nike-sponsored school. The basketball team is a Jordan-sponsored team, so that was part of the deal. I had to take a step back from being a public spokesman of the shoes. But since that coaching job has ended, I’m back in full swing.

NK: Hip-hop really embraced the shoe, not to wear for basketball, but on the streets. What are your thoughts on that?

PE: From day one, hip-hop has embraced my shoes. Tupac wore them. We had actors wearing it. I can’t remember all of them, but there’ve been a lot of people. Not only in New York, but around the world who represented in their different art forms in my shoes.