NOTHIN' COULD BE FINA THAN TO BE IN CAROLINA!
Two weekends down and two to go! What a wonderful time to be a Hoya fan! This special team, coached by my personal choice for BIG EAST and National Coach of the Year, John R. Thompson, III, marches on this weekend to the Meadowlands in New Jersey for the East Regional Championships, looking for a chance to march to and through Atlanta for the Final Four the following weekend and secure the National Championship! The journey, no doubt, will be difficult, but I am confident that if we play Hoya Basketball, we can secure college basketball's coveted prize - - the 2007 NCAA National Championship! And I, proud member of Generation Laughna, yet humble servant and scribe of the squad, will continue to march in their wake, monitor their performances, and celebrate their triumphs! It's a wonderful life!
While memories of this past weekend linger most clearly in my mind, I must offer a few comments on last weekend's BIG EAST Tournament Championship, the first since 1989, when Charles Smith (C '89) led the Hoyas to their sixth BIG EAST Championship in their "dominant decade" of the 1980s. (The other five were in 1980, 1982, 1984, 1985 and 1987.)
First, Jeff Green's performance in the dramatic, semi-final victory over Notre Dame, which included 30 points and 12 rebounds, was, at least, among the five single most dominant performances that I have ever seen by any Georgetown player ever! Jeff's calm and poise throughout the contest belied the most intense, internal competitive fire that stoked his play throughout the tournament and especially during the Notre Dame game. For example, when he stepped to the free throw line to take foul shots against the Irish, Jeff would calmly draw a deep, cleansing breath, focus intently on the goal, and then proceeded to sink 12 of 14 charity tosses. During pauses in the action, he demonstrated his quiet leadership, speaking words of wisdom to his teammates. It was a remarkable performance that I shan't soon forget. As the song goes, "New York, New York . . . if [you] can make it there, [you]'ll make it anywhere, it's up to you, New York, New York!"
Second, during this 100th Anniversary of Hoya Hoops, it was appropriate that Georgetown, which so dominated the BIG EAST during the 1980s, would win the 25th Anniversary Tournament at Madison Square Garden. And make no mistake, from my vantage point of having attended every Big East Tournament held at Madison Garden, except for 1986 tournament won by St. John's, the Hoyas' tournament triumph this year was every bit as dramatic and meaningful as those during the 1980s. In fact, I would assert that this year's championship title is the most meaningful of them all, since, in my view, with the coming of JTIII and his "We Are Georgetown" philosophy, this championship truly belongs to all of Georgetown.
Finally, the post-tournament championship celebration in the Affinia Hotel's ballroom was a very special and emotional time for me. As I stood just inside the ballroom's entry way, I thought of: (1) my senior year, 1971-72, when the team finished 3-23, resulting in Coach John Thompson, Jr.'s coming to Georgetown; (2) the 18 years since Georgetown last won the BIG EAST Tournament in 1989, the end of a period where the BIG EAST Tournament almost seemed to be a Georgetown birthright; and (3) my six years as President of the Hoya Hoop Club (1998-2005). I walked diagonally through the crowd and thanked every current and former member of the Hoop Club board whom I saw there for their efforts in sustaining and nourishing the Club during that period: from current President Al Bozzo, to Joe Guarriello, Bill Licamele, Tom Wong, Chris Lucey, Neil Sumilas, Payne Miller, Joe Kresse, Scott Minto, Peter Biche, Lara Drezner, Bruce Casner, Al DeRosa, Mark Guerrero, Carlo Tamburo, John Hawkes, Steve Thomas, and Brian Lonardo. I also saw and thanked Hoyas Unlimited Director Allison Rubin, staffers Tim Hogan and Nate Brown, former Director Jennifer Shaheen Montgomery, Athletic Director Bernard Muir, and his Athletic Department associates Kyle Ragsdale and Pat McArdle. Finally, I thanked many students from Hoya Blue and young alumni whom I saw at the party and have met over the last several years. Special recognition in this regard goes, of course, to Kurt Muhlbauer, who, much like Jeff Green, put HoyaBlue on his back and willed it to success through work and extraordinary energy. Once again, "WE ARE GEORGETOWN - - THE BEAST OF THE EAST!" How sweet it is!
This weekend's journey, of course, took us to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as the Number 2 seed in the East Region, for the first rounds of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championships. Easily avoiding a first round No. 2 vs. No. 15 seed upset over a game Belmont College Bruin squad from Nashville on Thursday afternoon, despite not playing our best game, the Hoyas then advanced to meet Boston College on Saturday. As all know, two years ago, Boston College, a charter member of the BIG EAST Conference, left the league for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The team from Chestnut Hill was led by Jared Dudley, the ACC player of the year, who, prior to the game, made the statement that the ACC was a better conference than the BIG EAST because it had more star power and was "so much more athletic." Even without Dudley's ridiculous assertion, I was hoping for a 30-point Georgetown win and the Hoyas appeared to be on the verge of granting my wish as they broke from the starting gate with a 12-2 lead. Jon "Money" Wallace keyed the scoring for the Hoyas during this stretch. Alas, my wish was not to be, as the Eagles came back to lead by four at half-time and then extended their lead to eight at 39-31 with 15:24 left to play.
Just after that point, the Hoyas began to impose their will and turned the game back in their direction with all players taking key roles at different times. Wallace was fouled driving to the basket and made the first of two free throws before Green grabbed the offensive rebound and scored to make the score 39-34. As he has done so often this season, Money Wallace added a clutch three pointer and Jesse Sapp tied the score at 39 with two free throws at the 12:44 mark. Georgetown took the lead for good at 46-44 on an offensive rebound and put back by Roy Hibbert.
On the pivotal play of the game, with the score at 46-44, Big East Player of the Year Jeff Green soared high above the rim to convert a Hibbert miss into a jaw-dropping dunk to make the score 48-44. Big Roy scored the Hoyas next four points with strong inside moves.
With Georgetown leading 59-55, Big Roy drew defenders to him and then he passed to a streaking Patrick Ewing, Jr. along the baseline for a thundering, SportsCenter reverse jam as Dudley gaped in awe while fouling Patrick. Patrick converted the three-point play for a 62-55 Hoya lead with 42 seconds left. The game, and the last word, belonged to the Hoyas. Next stop, the Meadowlands! Nothin' could be fina . . .!
The trip to Winston-Salem also saw two terrific Hoya Hoop Club receptions at Dudley's on the Park, a post-game event on Thursday and a pre-game pep rally with the band and cheerleaders on Saturday! Fans of all ages mingled with one another and with members of the Athletic Department staff, eating, among other things, chicken wings, egg rolls, stuffed potato skins and fried zucchini rings. Attendees also received t-shirts, compliments of the Hoya Hoop Club, proclaiming, in shades of 1984, "100 Years of Hoya Paranoia!" Kudos go out to Allison Rubin and her Hoyas Unlimited staff Tim Hogan and Nate Brown for their efforts in organizing these terrific outings. Thanks are also extended to Dudley's and its staff, bedecked in the Hoya Paranoia t-shirt, for their wonderful touch of Southern hospitality to the visitors from the North. (We forgave them for name of their establishment.)
One humorous aside, on Friday, I went with a group of very hungry Hoya fans to Winston-Salem's best known sports bar, the Fox and Hound, for lunch and hoops. Upon arrival, I realized that last year in Dayton, I had eaten in a Fox and Hound there on the day between games. The layout was identical and there were more televisions going than I could bother to count, including some of the biggest screens I had ever seen. Another exciting day in Winston-Salem, even though the Hoyas weren't playing!
WE ARE GEORGETOWN!!
Beat Vanderbilt (again)!!
Michael Karam (F'72, L'76)
Immediate Past President (1998-2005), Hoya Hoop Club
Vice-President, Hoyas Unlimited
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Friday, Oct 24 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Field Hockey Temple L, 4-0 Women's Volleyball DePaul W, 3-2 Saturday, Oct 25 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Football Bucknell L, 22-17 Men's Soccer at Creighton 8:00 PM BEDN Sailing vs MAISA Match Race Championships All Day Women's Rowing at Princeton Chase All Day Sailing vs Kings Point Dinghy Open All Day Women's Golf at Lady Blue Hen Invitational All Day Sunday, Oct 26 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Soccer Villanova 1:00 PM BEDN Women's Volleyball Marquette 1:00 PM Sailing vs Kings Point Dinghy Open All Day Men's Crew at Princeton Chase (HW/LW) All Day Sailing vs MAISA Match Race Championships All Day Women's Golf at Lady Blue Hen Invitational All Day Women's Rowing at Princeton Chase All Day Tuesday, Oct 28 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Field Hockey at Liberty 4:00 PM Wednesday, Oct 29 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Soccer Xavier 2:00 PM Friday, Oct 31 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Soccer at Seton Hall 7:00 PM Field Hockey Old Dominion 1:00 PM Men's Cross Country; Track & Field vs BIG EAST Championships All Day Women's Cross Country; Track & Field vs BIG EAST Championships All Day Saturday, Nov 1 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Football Lehigh 12:00 PM Men's Soccer St. John's 1:00 PM Women's Volleyball at Creighton 7:00 PM Women's Rowing vs Head of the Occoquan All Day Sailing vs War Memorial All Day Sunday, Nov 2 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Field Hockey Towson 1:00 PM Sailing vs War Memorial All Day Friday, Nov 7 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Soccer at Villanova 2:00 PM Swimming & Diving at BIG EAST QUAD MEET (Rutgers, Villanova & Seton Hall) 4:00 PM Women's Volleyball at Butler 7:00 PM Sailing vs ICSA Men's and Women's Singlehanded National Championships All Day Men's Crew at Rutgers Classic (HW/LW) All Day Saturday, Nov 8 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Swimming & Diving at BIG EAST QUAD MEET (Rutgers, Villanova & Seton Hall) 11:00 AM Women's Volleyball at Xavier 4:00 PM Sailing vs ICSA Men's and Women's Singlehanded National Championships All Day Sunday, Nov 9 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Sailing vs ICSA Men's and Women's Singlehanded National Championships All Day Tuesday, Nov 11 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Soccer vs Quarterfinals TBA Friday, Nov 14 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball Maryland Eastern Shore 7:00 PM Men's Soccer vs Semifinals TBA Women's Volleyball at St. John's 7:00 PM Men's Cross Country; Track & Field vs NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional All Day Women's Cross Country; Track & Field vs NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional All Day Saturday, Nov 15 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Football at Fordham 1:00 PM Men's Basketball St. Francis Brooklyn 12:00 PM Fox Sports Network Women's Volleyball at Providence 5:00 PM Sailing vs Coed Atlantic Championships All Day Sailing vs Women's Atlantic Coast Championship All Day Sunday, Nov 16 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball at Richmond 2:00 PM Men's Soccer vs Championship TBA Sailing vs Women's Atlantic Coast Championship All Day Sailing vs Coed Atlantic Championships All Day Tuesday, Nov 18 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 7:00 PM Fox Sports 2 Wednesday, Nov 19 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball Loyola Maryland 8:00 PM Friday, Nov 21 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball vs Temple 8:30 PM Women's Volleyball Seton Hall 8:00 PM Sailing vs ICSA Match Racing National Championships All Day Swimming & Diving at Bucknell Invitational All Day Saturday, Nov 22 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Football Holy Cross 12:00 PM Men's Basketball Robert Morris 12:00 PM Fox Sports 2 Women's Basketball vs Alabama 6:30 PM Men's Cross Country; Track & Field vs NCAA Championships All Day Men's Cross Country; Track & Field vs IC4A Championships All Day Sailing vs ICSA Match Racing National Championships All Day Swimming & Diving at Bucknell Invitational All Day Women's Cross Country; Track & Field vs NCAA Championships All Day Sunday, Nov 23 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball at Kansas 2:00 PM Women's Volleyball Villanova 2:00 PM Sailing vs ICSA Match Racing National Championships All Day Swimming & Diving at Bucknell Invitational All Day Wednesday, Nov 26 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball vs Florida 9:30 PM Thursday, Nov 27 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball vs TBD TBA Friday, Nov 28 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball vs TBD TBA Women's Basketball Florida 7:00 PM Women's Volleyball vs Semifinals TBA Saturday, Nov 29 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Volleyball vs Finals TBA Sunday, Nov 30 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball vs Holy Cross 3:00 PM Wednesday, Dec 3 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Cross Country; Track & Field at National Invitational All Day Saturday, Dec 6 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball at Princeton 2:00 PM Swimming & Diving Howard 1:00 PM Men's Cross Country; Track & Field at Navy Invitational All Day Sunday, Dec 7 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball Towson TBA Fox Sports 1 Tuesday, Dec 9 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball at George Washington 7:00 PM CSN+ Wednesday, Dec 10 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball Kansas 7:00 PM Fox Sports 1 Saturday, Dec 13 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball Radford 12:00 PM Fox Sports 1 Women's Basketball Memphis 12:00 PM BEDN Saturday, Dec 20 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Men's Basketball Charlotte 12:00 PM Fox Sports Network Monday, Dec 22 Sport Opponent Time Coverage Women's Basketball St. Bonaventure 2:00 PM
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