Sept. 11, 2007
Washington, D.C. - While a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, last year Coach Thompson's "small steps" philosophy nearly marched the Hoyas to the goal of a national championship.
The 2006-07 season, celebrating the 100th year of Georgetown basketball, was one of the most successful seasons in the history of men's basketball on the Hilltop.
The Hoyas, ranked among the top-10 teams in the country at the start of the season and appearing in the polls 18 times in the course of the year, won both the BIG EAST Conference Regular Season title and the BIG EAST Tournament Championship. The team then strode through the NCAA tournament to win the EAST Region Championship and advance to the 2007 NCAA Final Four. This accomplishment marked GU's return to the Final Four after a 22 year absence.
Reaching the Final Four, the Blue and Gray had covered many miles, fittingly commemorating the preceding century of Georgetown basketball, and while they could see the end of the road, unfortunately fell short of he goal to Ohio State in the National Semifinals.
Georgetown finished the season with a 30-7 overall record - its fourth 30-win season in program history - and dominated the BIG EAST with a 13-3 regular season mark.
Although there is justifiable pride in the accomplishments of last season, the 2007 NABC Coach of the Year enters his fourth year at the helm of the Hoya program with a sense of steps still to be taken.
The loss of BIG EAST Player of the Year, BIG EAST Tournament MVP and NCAA East Regional MVP forward Jeff Green, who led the team in scoring and was second on the team in rebounding and assists, will be felt in many ways. The 5th selection in the 2007 NBA draft leaves some large shoes to fill, but with the return of four starters including Roy Hibbert and a total of eight letter winners as well as the addition of four talented newcomers, Thompson's Hoyas look ready for the long road ahead.
Frontcourt The return of consensus All-BIG EAST center Roy Hibbert gives Georgetown a centerpiece for its rotation.
Hibbert, who played for the United States team at the Pan-American Games during the summer, was second on the team in scoring last year with 12.9 points per game and led the team in rebounding (6.9) and blocks (2.43). Hibbert led the BIG EAST in field goal percentage, connecting on 67.1 percent of his shots from the field (186-of-277) and became the 38th player in program history to score at least 1,000 points.
Throughout the year, he proved himself to be among the best big men in the country and his performance in the postseason did nothing to tarnish that, as he recorded double-doubles in five of the last six games during the season. In the NCAA Semifinals, Hibbert outpaced the future No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, Greg Oden of Ohio State, scoring 19 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Senior Patrick Ewing, Jr., the son of former Georgetown All-American Patrick Ewing, returns for his second and final season on the Hilltop. A 6-8, 235-pound forward, Ewing emerged as a valuable Sixth Man for the Hoyas last season. He appeared in 36 games (14.5 minutes per game) and averaged 4.1 points and 2.1 rebounds, but was a major factor in the postseason, contributing 5.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.
Sophomore DaJuan Summers, a BIG EAST All-Rookie selection, had a standout freshman season, finishing fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 9.2 points per game. He scored in double figures 18 times last year and was a threat from three-point land, finishing second on the team with 42 shots from long distance.
Sophomore Vernon Macklin, a 6-9, 210-pound forward, appeared in 31 games last season, averaging 9.8 minutes per game. He contributed 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, but could see those numbers increase this season.
Senior Jonathan Wallace will return to play guard for Georgetown for the fourth-straight year. A 6-1, 188-pound guard, Wallace has started every game (102) since setting foot on campus. He finished third on the team in scoring (11.4 points per game) and was third on the team in assists (3.05 per game).
Sapp had a solid sophomore campaign, starting all but one game, averaging 9.1 points per game, 4.0 rebounds and a team-leading 3.46 assists per game. He ranked fifth in the BIG EAST in assist-turnover ratio at 1.91 (3.5 apg/1.8 tpg).
Crawford, a captain who is considered the "heart and soul" of the team, started the first game of the season last year - scoring 12 points against Hartford - but missed several games with illness. He worked his way back into the rotation and a key reserve throughout the year.
Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers, appeared in 34 games last year, averaging 1.3 points and 1.4 rebounds.
Freeman, a 6-4, 225-pound guard from DeMatha High School in Maryland, averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists last year, when he was named a McDonald's All-American, a Parade All-American and a Jordan Brand All-American.
Mescheriakov averaged 14.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists at St. John's Prospect Hall in Maryland, earning honorable mention Washington Post All-Met honors. A 6-8, 200-pound guard forward, he is the younger brother of former George Washington standout Yegor Mescheriakov.
Wattad, a 6-6, 210-pound guard/forward from Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., is a two-time all-state selection and two-time regional most valuable player who is the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,191 points.
Wright, like Freeman, was a McDonald's and Jordan Brand All-American. A graduate of St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., the 6-1, 200-pound guard was the first three-time All-Met selection since Adrian Dantley of DeMatha, who earned that honor from 1971-73.