Georgetown Men's Basketball Celebrates 2005-06 Season at Hoya Hoop Club Banquet
April 28, 2006
Washington, D.C. - It was a highly successful season highlighted by an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, a run at the BIG EAST Tournament Championship, a win over the No. 1-ranked team in the country and seven-straight weeks of being ranked among the top-25 teams in the country. The Georgetown University men's basketball finished the 2005-06 season with a 23-10 overall record and were ranked No. 16 in the country when the seasons final polls were released.
On Thursday, April 20 at the Leavey Center Ballroom on the Georgetown campus, the Hoya Hoop Club and the Athletic Department honored the team and its accomplishments at the Annual Men's Basketball Awards Banquet.
Georgetown Head Coach John Thompson III said that the banquet for the team was a night of thanks. It was a night where the staff and players could take an opportunity to thank the University, the administrative staff, the supporters and, most of all, its fans for the support they give each year.
Senior Ryan Beal did him one better, taking the time to thank his coaches, the trainer and his teammates, of course. But the four-year walk-on not only took time to thank his college teammates, he thanked his high school teammates. He thanked his aunt and cousin for being his aunt and cousin. He even thanks R&B singer Brian McKnight for making good music.
As Thompson III noted, however, it was a night to remember a good season. He emphasized "good season" because he and his staff hope that the future of Georgetown men's basketball does not end with just a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but hopes for a Final Four and a National Championship.
The evening began with a cocktail reception and after the more than 300 in attendance gathered in the ballroom, Hoya Hoop Club president Alfred Bozzo (B'85) welcomed everyone before turning the microphone over to emcee Joe Lonardo (C'69).
Assistant coaches Robert Burke and Sidney Johnson took the microphone and made special thanks to varying groups of staff and supporters and their recollections of the season. Johnson mentioned the team's pre-game meal prior to the first round of the NCAA Tournament and how he hoped it would not be the last time this group of Hoyas sat together.
Georgetown University President Dr. John J. DeGioa, took time at the microphone to thank the team for its hard work and dedication, both on and off the floor, during this season and in years past. The crowd applauded when he recognized the academic success of the program, noting that 98 of 100 players who had attended the University for four years had earned their degrees.
Following dinner, Assistant Coach Kevin Broadus took over the ceremonies to introduce each of the players for their individual awards. As he introduced each player, Broadus, made special mention of the contributions of each and every player.
The senior awards started with managers Sir Ashley Harrison and Justin Zormelo. Both managers had been with the team for four years and took the time to thank each of the players and the coaches for making them part of the team. Each senior player had the opportunity to speak and all five handled the mic in different ways.
Senior forward Brandon Bowman, following the lead of his road roommate, Harrison, reflected on his four years and thanked everyone associated with the program. Senior forward Amadou Kilkenny-Diaw, the recipient of the Mary Fenlon Scholar-Athlete Award for academic excellence, said that he would field offers for computer work and internship opportunities at the exits. Senior guard Ashanti Cook made a short, but gracious speech, reflecting his time on the Hilltop. The last to speak was fifth-year senior Darrel Owens, who made a poignant five-minute speech - started by saying that it felt like déjà vu since he had taken part in ceremonies the previous year - expressing his thanks for the opportunity to be part of the Georgetown family.
When it was time for the head coach to speak, Thompson III spoke about the challenges he faced the year. After talking about the season, Thompson III shifted gears and focused on the players, challenging the current freshmen class to follow the winning tone set forth this season.
During dinner, the people in attendance were treated to a highlight video honoring the team's season. Highlights include scenes from the team's big road win at Oregon in December - ending the Ducks' 35-game non-conference home winning streak; the Hoyas win over then No. 1-ranked Duke at the Verizon Center in January; wins over Pittsburgh and Syracuse at home; the team's run to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament and highlights from the Hoyas run to the Sweet Sixteen.
Under the direction of Thompson III, the Hoyas enjoyed one of the most successful years in program history backed by a solid team effort. The Hoyas started the season in challenging fashion, four of its first five games away from home. After a pair of road wins over Navy and James Madison, the team bounced back from a home loss to Vanderbilt and beat Oregon on December 3, 71-57, ending the Ducks' 35-game win streak at home over non-conference opponents. Cook scored a career-high 25 points in the win.
The team rebounded from a loss at No. 11 Illinois to win a season-high seven-straight games heading in to BIG EAST Conference play. During the run, the Hoyas posted a pair of wins at the Sun Bowl Tournament to win the championship. Owens connected on all five of his three-pointers in the title win over UTEP and finished with 21points as he was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Owens' hot shooting continued as conference play started. The Hoyas posted a 72-62 win over Providence in the conference opener, with Bowman scoring 19 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, and sophomore center Roy Hibbert adding 16 points and 10 boards. In the team's first road conference game, a 79-65 win at St. John's, Owens hit 6-of-8 three-pointers and scored a game-high 24 points.
A win over South Florida at home after a pair of road conference losses set up the Hoyas for a matchup with then undefeated No. 1-ranked Duke. Backed by a sellout crowd and a national television audience, Bowman's team-high 23 points led five players in double figures as the Hoyas connected on nearly 62 percent of their shots from the field in a thrilling 87-84 win that propelled the team into the national top-25.
Hibbert recorded another double-double - this time scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds - to lead five in double figures as the Hoyas continued to ride the momentum, defeating Notre Dame on the road with a heart-stopping 85-82 double overtime win. Playing three of its next four games at home, Georgetown extended its win streak to six games and improved to 17-4 overall and 8-2 in the BIG EAST with wins over Cincinnati, DePaul, Pittsburgh and St. John's. The team closed out the regular season with two wins in its final three games, beating Syracuse and Rutgers as they entered the BIG EAST Tournament with a 19-8 overall record.
The Hoyas made a run at their sixth BIG EAST Tournament Championship the following week at Madison Square Garden. Bowman scored 25 points in the opening round 67-63 win over Notre Dame and then sophomore forward Jeff Green and Cook scored 16 points apiece in a 62-59 win over Marquette in the quarterfinals. The Hoyas fell to eventual BIG EAST Champion Syracuse in the league semifinals. Georgetown entered the 2006 NCAA Tournament as a No. 5 seed and faced No. 12 seed Northern Iowa in the first round. Backed by Hibbert, who scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, the Hoyas garnered with a 54-49 win. In the second round, the Hoyas controlled the game from the tip. Hibbert grabbed a double-double, scoring 20 points and pulling down 14 rebounds and the Hoyas topped No. 2 seed Ohio State, 70-52, reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001. Eventual NCAA Champion Florida ended the Hoya run in the Sweet 16 with a 57-53 decision, but Georgetown finished the season with 23 wins and were one of only four BIG EAST teams to advance to the sweet 16.
Several players earned individual honors, with Green and Hibbert being named to the All-BIG EAST second team. Green and Bowman earned all-district honors from the American Basketball Coaches Association and Green took honors from the United States Basketball Writers Association.