Oct. 16, 2008
THE SOUNDS OF SILENCE BEFORE MIDNIGHT MADNESS!!
McDonough Gym is quiet now. The banners, including the new one for the 2008 NCAA appearance, silently surround the McDonough floor in anticipation of the Hoya hordes who will descend upon it for the annual Midnight Madness celebration on Friday, beginning at 8:30 p.m. But for now, before the ESPNU cameras descend upon McDonough's cozy confines, in anticipation of the introduction of the 2008-09 Men's and Women's Basketball teams, there are only the memories of the accomplishments of past Hoya teams and those players who followed their careers on McDonough's hardwood with careers or cups of coffee in the NBA.
The 21 NBA jerseys on McDonough's back wall, as of last weekend's Homecoming, represent the Georgetown players from the modern era beginning with the 1972-73 seasons, who played in the NBA. Each player is represented by the first NBA jersey in which he played. They symbolize the very best "of those who have gone before them" on whose shoulders the current group of Hoyas, including the eagerly anticipated new players, will stand. Staring silently at the wall, one can almost hear Father McFadden's whispered litany to these 21 Hoya greats: Craig Shelton, No. 11, Atlanta Hawks; John "BaBa" Duren, No. 18, Atlanta Hawks, Eric "Sleepy" Floyd, No. 21, Golden State Warriors, Bill Martin, No. 22, Indiana Pacers, Patrick Ewing, No. 33, New York Knicks, Michael Jackson, No. 2, Sacramento Kings, David Wingate, No. 25, Philadelphia 76ers, Reggie Williams, No. 34, San Diego Clippers, Ben Gillery, No. 50, Sacramento Kings, Charles Smith, No 13, Boston Celtics, Jaren Jackson, No. 14, New Jersey Nets, Dikembe Mutombo, No. 55, Denver Nuggets, Alonzo Mourning, No. 33, Charlotte Hornets, Don Reid, No. 52, Detroit Pistons, Othella Harrington, No. 50, Houston Rockets, Allen Iverson, No. 3, Philadelphia 76ers, Jerome Williams, No. 13, Detroit Pistons, Jahidi White, No. 55, Washington Wizards, Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, No. 44, Portland Trailblazers, Michael Sweetney, No. 50, New York Knick, and Jeff Green, No. 22, Seattle Sonics. And, as part of Midnight Madness, Roy Hibbert's No. 55 with the Indiana Pacers will be unveiled as the 22nd jersey on the wall.
Someday, some of the current players who will be loudly introduced at Midnight Madness likely will join their Hoya ancestors on the wall. But, for now, there is only potential's portent - - the hoped for promise of prominence, whose realization will only be attained if the scions of our above-memorialized Hoyas join in the reverberated chorus of screaming, squeaky sneakers, which have pierced McDonough's silence over the years, as they take the "baby steps" necessary to "figure it out" for the 2008-09 season. I am confident that, under the coaching leadership of John Thompson, III and his staff and the floor leadership of our three returning starters Jessie Sapp, DaJuan Summers, and Austin Freeman, and a healthy Chris Wright, that this year's group, both collectively and individually, will measure up to the standards that epitomize the Georgetown basketball program. That is, they will attain collective and personal levels of excellence both on and off the court, such that, as graduated Georgetown Men, they will, regardless of their ultimate professions, make a difference in the world.
So before Midnight Madness's mania sets in, reflect on the jerseys on the wall and the banners around McDonough, try to hear the squeaking sneakers sounding in McDonough over the years, and thank the Lord that we have a program that we can all be rightly and justly proud of. Then, go to Midnight Madness, scream your brains out, dance the night away, and say, in the words of my favorite basketball coach/philosopher:
WE ARE GEORGETOWN!!
Michael E. Karam, F '72, L '76, L `82
Proud Member of Generation Laughna