Monday, January 26, 2009


Much of the last month has left me scratching my head regarding the teams I follow. The seeming collapse of the Vinny Del Negro era in Chicago has left me somewhat pleased that I never got around to purchasing the NBA package. Lovie's decision to throw lower level defensive assistants to the wolves while at the same time keeping Babich but stripping him of play-calling responsibilities is reasonable assurance that nothing will change next season and that Bears fans can look forward to another year of .500 football.

And now Georgetown is unraveling. For the first time during JTIII's tenure, I was unable to understand the strategy employed in Thursday's home embarrassment to West Virginia. That confusion, borne from watching Henry Sims sit on the bench alongside Julian Vaughn while every Hoya not named Monroe jacked up errant three point shots, continued this afternoon during the catastrophic loss to Seton Hall. In the words of a film I care too much for, Georgetown's young team has been weighed, it has been measured, and it has been found wanting. After seeing Sims, Clark, and Vaughn as catalysts in Georgetown's early success in conference play, I am at a loss to understand the severe reduction in playing time that has fallen on them of late. There are probably a lot of reasons why bad teams are now beating Georgetown (whatever else might be said, neither West Virginia nor Seton Hall are good teams), but most of my attention on Thursday night was focused on DaJuan Summers, who doesn't seem to play defense, tends to forget that he doesn't have a very good perimeter shot, and shows apathy bordering on disdain for driving to the basket. After scoring the first basket of each half with a drive to the backboard, Summers went away from that part of his game and settled back to shooting horribly from outside the arc. DaJuan is probably the single most important player on Georgetown's team because of his size and skillset and the lack of any similar type player on Georgetown's roster. At this point, the chance that this season would prove to be another magical run for the Hoyas has all but dissipated, but I still love watching the team and hope that they can right the ship before returning home on February 3rd.

In the interim, there is soccer. I was readying my daughter for a trip to the zoo on Saturday when the radio commentary of Charlton's cup match with Sheffield United alerted me to Chris Dickson's goal. The fact that Dickson was playing coupled with the fact that Dickson did Dickson-like things made me yelp with such fervent delight that I managed to startle her. But the joy of Dickson's meager proof that yes, Maryland, Charlton has a striker dissolved later in the evening upon reading the comments of the twit currently in command of the squad. (Really, Parky? If Dickson continues to play like this as a sub and practices hard he might get a chance to start? -- My apologies but my tolerance for delusional self-aggrandizing bullsh*t from the club's management was all used up by Pardew. Suck it up Park, come to grips with the fact that you were wrong, put Deon back in his box and give Dickson his run beginning on Tuesday against Palace. Otherwise, please shut up).

I'd already renewed our tickets for another season of CP Baltimore, but grappled with reservations about another go as a DC United season ticket holder. Soehn, like Pardew and Parkinson, is a master at wasting talent while throwing his players under a bus for what are largely failures of management. But the club is run well, the players are great, and the fans care... so maybe another run. So when an account rep called two weeks ago to inquire about whether I was going to let the tickets lapse, I was very much on the fence. When they drafted Rodney Wallace, I renewed, but downgraded the tickets from VIP to Premium. It will drive me nuts to watch them underperform for another year, but it sure beats the hell out of going to Nationals games.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

PG Pride

So much for Gtown's prowess. Pittsburgh whupped the Hoyas today and greatly impressed. While there was much about the second half performance from Gtown that led to some frustration from our vantage point, the Panthers were simply a better team and absolutely decimated the Hoyas' young squad. Georgetown has two days to lick their wounds before having to take on a humiliated Notre Dame team in South Bend.

DeJuan Blair was the story of the game for Pitt (17 rebounds, 20 points), but I was once again impressed by the play of Sam Young. Since he began playing regularly as a freshman, I've paid attention to Young because, in every Pitt game I've caught, he has been the solid, steady contributor that ends up being the catalyst for much of the team's success. But, for whatever reason, until looking up his statistics today, I failed to realize that he calls Prince George's County home.

Basketball in this county is taken pretty seriously. ESPN's magazine recently had a great short piece on PG County basketball (which, had I read more closely, should have informed me of Sam Young's roots). Starting with a vignette starring Michael Beasley and Kevin Durant, Chris Palmer goes on to note:

Actually, the two most recent No. 2 picks in the NBA draft are just the lead curl in an unprecedented wave of talent that hails from Prince George's County, a predominantly African-American area of 841,315 that shares a border with DC. Nine players with roots in Prince George's (PG to insiders) have played in the league in the previous five years, and though only six are currently on rosters, that number should soon crack double digits. Fifteen locals suit up for BCS conference schools, including UNC's Ty Lawson, Duke's Nolan Smith, Pitt's Sam Young and Georgetown's Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. In the past three years, the county has produced six McDonald's All-Americans—more than any state except California, which has 43 residents for every one of PG's. "This place is unique because of the level of talent and commitment to the game," says Hoyas coach John Thompson III. "People here are highly knowledgeable about basketball, and kids start learning at a very young age."

The full scope of PG County's contribution to Division I basketball today is, I think, even more impressive. In addition to Lawson, Smith, Young, Freeman, and Wright, there are (by my likely inaccurate count) 54 players from the county currently on Division I rosters across the country. There are players from PG County on teams in 18 of the 31 conferences that comprise Division I. There is even a player from Landover on the roster of a D-I independent (Cal State Bakersfield). These players include Siena's Kenny Hasbrouck (Capitol Heights); the same Kenny Hasbrouck that scored 30 points last year in the opening round of the NCAA tournament when Siena upset a ranked Vanderbilt team by 19 points. And another player who was instrumental in Georgetown's only other loss this season, Tennessee's junior guard Bobby Maze (Suitland). And George Washington's leading scorer Rob Diggs (Brandywine), along with fellow A-10 standout Rob Lowery (Forestville) who scored 21 for Dayton in their upset win over Marquette earlier this season. And Iowa's Jeff Peterson (Hyattsville), as well as Nebraska's leading scorer Steve Harley (Temple Hills). And Darryl Proctor (District Heights), the leading scorer for the UMBC Retrievers who beat Nebraska this season and were dispatched from the NCAA tournament last year by Georgetown. And Sam Houston State's Corey Allmond (Oxon Hill), the team's leading scorer this season as a true freshman.

By my accounting (which is more likely than not wrong), here is the full list:

Big East (6):
Austin Freeman, Georgetown, Mitchellville, Maryland (Sophomore)
Chris Wright, Georgetown, Bowie, Maryland (Sophomore)
Sam Young, Pitt, Clinton, Maryland (Senior)
Arinze Onuaku, Syracuse, Lanham, Maryland (Junior)
Augustus Gilchrist, USF, Clinton, Maryland (Freshman)
Maurice Sutton, Villanova, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Freshman)

ACC (4):
Ty Lawson, North Carolina, Clinton, Maryland (Junior)
Nolan Smith, Duke, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Sophomore)
Adrian Bowie, Maryland, Greenbelt, Maryland (Sophomore)
Jerai Grant, Clemson, Bowie, Maryland (Sophomore)

SEC (1):
Bobby Maze, Tennessee, Suitland, Maryland (Junior)

Big 12 (2):
Steve Harley, Nebraska, Temple Hills, Maryland (Senior)
Ron Anderson, Kansas State, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Sophomore)

Big 10 (1):
Jeff Peterson, Iowa, Hyattsville, Maryland (Sophomore)

Pac 10 (1):
Calvin Hampton, Oregon State, Fort Washington, Maryland (Junior)

Atlantic 10 (4):
Rob Diggs, George Washington, Brandywine, Maryland (Senior)
Rob Lowery, Dayton, Forestville, Maryland (Junior)
Jacob Green, Fordham, Clinton, Maryland (Junior)
Rafael DeLeon, Temple, District Heights, Maryland (Senior)

Colonial (8):
John Vaughan, George Mason, Laurel, Maryland (Senior)
Jay Gavin, Virginia Commonwealth, Seat Pleasant, Maryland (Sophomore)
Abdulai Jalloh, James Madison, District Heights, Maryland (Senior)
Kevon Moore, UNC Wilmington, Bowie, Maryland (Freshman)
Isaiah Tate, George Mason, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Sophomore)
Robert Nwankwo, Towson, Hyattsville, Maryland (Sophomore)
Alvin Brown, James Madison, Fort Washington, Maryland (Freshman)
Tony Durant, Towson, Suitland, Maryland (Senior)

Patriot (2):
Justin Castleberry, Bucknell, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Senior)
Jordan Nichols, American, Glenn Dale, Maryland (Senior)

A-Sun (1):
Will Alston, Jacksonville, Laurel, Maryland (Freshman)

NEC (5):
Danny Thompson, Mt. St. Mary’s (MD), Springdale, Maryland (Freshman)
Harold Washington, Quinnipiac, Brandywine, Maryland (Freshman)
Mezie Nwigwe, Robert Morris, Hyattsville, Maryland (Junior)
Jason Burns, Robert Morris, Clinton, Maryland (Freshman)
Nigel Lee, St. Francis (NY), Glenn Dale, Maryland (Junior)

American East (2):
Darryl Proctor, UMBC, District Heights, Maryland (Senior)
Desmond Adedeji, Stony Brook, Landover Hills, Maryland (Junior)

Ohio Valley (1):
Mike Lewis, Eastern Kentucky, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (Freshman)

Big South (4):
Jourdan Morris, High Point, Bowie, Maryland (Sophomore)
Martell McDuffy, Radford, Laurel, Maryland (Senior)
Ron Burks, Virginia Military Institute, Mitchellville, Maryland (Freshman)
Raymond Davis, Winthrop, College Park, Maryland (Junior)

MEAC (8):
Brian Chesnut, Coppin State, Clinton, Maryland (Senior)
Neal Pitt, Maryland-Eastern Shore, Fort Washington, Maryland (Junior)
Jordan Brooks, Hampton, Mitchellville, Maryland (Sophomore)
Christopher Tolson, Hampton, Laurel, Maryland (Freshman)
John Ntoko, Hampton, Greenbelt, Maryland (Junior)
Milade Lola-Charles, Hampton, Laurel, Maryland (Freshman)
Sean Thomas, Morgan State, Clinton, Maryland (Freshman)
Marc Hill, North Carolina A&T, Bowie, Maryland (Freshman)

MAAC (1):
Kenny Hasbrouck, Siena, Capitol Heights, Maryland (Senior)

Southland (1):
Corey Allmond, Sam Houston State, Oxon Hill, Maryland (Freshman)

Summit League (1):
Tim Morton, Oral Roberts, Greenbelt, Maryland (Freshman)

Independents (1):
Santwon Latunde, Cal State Bakersfield, Landover, Maryland (Junior)

No players from PG County:
Conference USA; Missouri Valley; West Coast; Big Sky; Horizon; WAC; Sun Belt; Mid-American; Mountain West; Ivy; Southern; Big West; and SWAC.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


One of my Christmas gifts this year was a nifty coffee table book on the X-Men that ends with a brief bio and description of Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin aka Colossus. As a kid, I read X-Men intensely and found Colossus to be one of the more boring characters developed in the group of fictional mutants. At the same time, there were a number of things about the Colossus of my youth that were admirable -- character qualities that stood out. Colossus was young, strong, disciplined; a reluctant warrior. He might bore, but he could never be a heel; he was without a plausible dark side.

I was thinking about Colossus as I watched Georgetown dominate UConn to kick off the Big East conference schedule on Monday night. The win over the Huskies came after a fairly impressive drubbing of an undisciplined Florida International Union team. The victory reflected a young, coalescing squad that could challenge any team in the Big East. The UConn match, however, exceeded expectations. Georgetown's young team was physical, disciplined, and motivated. And, all the while, the Hoyas are a likable team that will be continually underappreciated because of the Princeton offense. Greg Monroe is the perfect player for the team to form around. Monroe was fearless matching up with Hasheem Thabeet and following Monroe's lead, Thabeet's seven blocks did little to rattle Georgetown -- a sentiment that culminated in DaJuan Summers' confident attacks of the basket late in the second half. The upcoming five game stretch will be the crucible in which this season's team is either forged or broken. Home against a Pitt team that hasn't really been challenged in their undefeated run thus far (although Rutgers played Pitt pretty close yesterday); then to South Bend to take on a mercurial Notre Dame; then home for back to back games against Providence and Syracuse; and then down to Cameron Indoor Stadium to renew rivalries with the second-best team in the ACC. Young, strong, disciplined, reluctant warriors: the Big East's Colossus. Bring 'em on.

One other note: Although he only played six minutes, Jason Clark continues to show that there may be some serious talent on the Hoyas bench. We went to watch Clark play last year in the Catholic High School championship at American University and there was little about that game that prepared me for what Clark has become in G'town's scheme: Clark seems to have effortlessly slid into PE2's role as a defensive disruptor, a hustling player that fills passing lanes, flashes out in transition, and shows enough offensive competence to require attention from opposing defenses. He is my favorite player to watch on the team, for much the same reasons that I loved watching Patrick Ewing Jr. play.