Georgetown Men's Basketball Participates in BIG EAST Media Day
Oct. 20, 2011
NEW YORK - Georgetown University Head Men's Basketball Coach John Thompson III and two of his student-athletes represented the Hoyas at the New York Athletic Club as the BIG EAST Conference held its annual Media Day in Manhattan.
Thompson was joined by senior guard Jason Clark (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) and junior forward Hollis Thompson (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola) as the trio met with print and electronic media outlets in a two-hour session.
Georgetown was selected to finish 10th in the BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll. Connecticut and Syracuse were selected as the co-favorites to win the regular-season crown. The Huskies received seven first-place votes and a total of 209 points. The Orange collected five first-place votes. It is the third tie for first place in the history of the BIG EAST with the last coming in 2007-08. The league's head coaches do not place their own teams on their ballots.
Louisville finished third in the poll with 201 points and three first-place votes. Pittsburgh is a solid fourth in the poll with 188 points and one first-place vote. Cincinnati was placed fifth in the poll, while Marquette placed sixth. West Virginia was picked seventh, with Villanova eighth and Notre Dame ninth.
The Hoyas are coming off a 2010-11 season that saw the team finish with a 21-11 record and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in seven years under Thompson. Georgetown enters the 2011-12 season with Clark and Thompson leading the squad as the team looks to place a trio of players - guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, as well as center Julian Vaughn - who started all of last season and graduated in May.
"We don't need a reminder," Thompson said. "We have some of the best minds in basketball in this room. But what coaches vote on in July is irrelevant once we get on the court in January, February and March. Our guys realize that.
"We've been picked where we are. Now we've got to play."
Clark is coming off a junior season in which he started all 32 games and averaged 12.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is the team's most experienced returnee, with 66 starts in 97 games.
"There's a lot of responsibility, but I just want to be a leader for this team," Clark said. "We have a lot of young guys, but I just want to a leader for them and welcome them to the world of college basketball."
He will be aided by the return of Thompson, who tested the NBA waters, but returned to school after averaging 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds and closed out the season with 26 points in the NCAA Tournament.
"I think that he's going to great," Clark "There are lot of doubters but there are a lot people behind him and I'm one of them. I think he's going to handle it well and have a great season."
The young Georgetown team, which features five freshmen, one redshirt freshman and four sophomores, had a chance to play together during the summer as the Hoyas went on an 11-day tour of China, playing four exhibition games against professional teams.
"I think our bond together is huge," Clark said of the effect the trip had on the team. "Just being over there together got us to be stronger and helped us to be closer as a team. I think it's going to help us on and off the floor."
Georgetown opens the 2011-12 season on Saturday, Nov. 12, hosting Savannah State at Verizon Center (noon). The Hoyas will then play UNC Greensboro in the first mainland game of the Maui Classic on Monday, Nov. 14 (7 p.m.). The Blue & Gray play Kansas in Hawaii on Monday, Nov .21 (11:50 p.m. ET).