It started with a text this morning from my cousin Joe: “Hoyas and Chinese National team. Bench Clearing brawl!”
I am currently at the the Outer Banks so I called my dad who was on the beach to tell him the news.
“We are back.”
Now I am not advocating brawls and understand that in these tense times, diplomacy is of the utmost importance. So I do not condone the actions of my beloved Hoyas. However, like many other Hoyas fans, I couldn’t help but be a little excited that these Hoyas have some toughness. Getting crushed by Ohio as a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament can do that to you. Or getting run over by Virginia Commonwealth.
Will this lead Georgetown to a National Championship or even a tourney birth? Ehh…doubt it. But it is great to know that this team now has some heart. Somewhere Michael Graham, Reggie Williams, and Othella Harrington are smiling.
Page and AI dominated at Georgetown.
The Kenner League is an NCAA sanctioned summer basketball league that is played at McDonough Arena on the campus of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. For hoops junkies, it is the Mecca of Basketball in the District that fills the basketball void that exists from the end of the NBA Finals in June to the beginning of Midnight Madness in October (at least for us cowards who aren’t brave enough to take in the games at the Goodman League at the Barry Farms projects).
The Kenner League is a free event (which is exceedingly rare in this economy) whose main purpose is to develop Georgetown’s freshman who all play on the same team. In 1994 a skinny freshman from Hampton, Virginia made his debut in the District at the Kenner League and cemented his legend. The Kenner League is also a Pro-Am comprised of college and NBA players with district roots. So in a game you can have local legends such as Isaiah Swann (formerly of Magruder High School and Florida State University) running the break with guys like James Gist (Good Counsel/Maryland) or Jeff Allen (Dematha/Virginia Tech), or Jeff Green blocking a Chris Wright attempt off the backboard. And who is that watching in the stands? Is that Patrick Ewing? Is that Alonzo Mourning? Is that Victor Page? Wait a minute, Victor Page? Oh, boy. This changes the story. It was at the most recent summer league game that I saw Victor. He was the player that forever changed the Georgetown basketball program. Fourteen years later, my feelings about him remain mixed.
Highly rated shooting guard P.J. Hairston made his decision to attend North Carolina over rival Duke undoubtedly for multiple reasons. One in particular, though, was fairly surprising given the aura and profile of Coach K’s program: they kept spelling his name wrong in recruiting letters!
It just goes to show you how mechanical and robotic the recruiting process can be for all college sports. Millions upon millions of letters get sent out to potential recruits starting early on in high school. If you have the right size and weight and build, you can bet you will get some initial letter inquiries expressing interest in your services. It is surprising, though, that Hairston, being the high profile recruit that he is, ran into these issues. You would think that after weeding out the pretenders, schools like Duke wouldn’t have issues like this with guys they are targeting; though, it also begs the question of how seriously they were considering him if they didn’t check their spelling.
It reminds me of a story I was told about current Georgetown guard Markel Starks’ recruiting process. Starks was very highly recruited out of Georgetown Preparatory School, and one night he was attending a function with his coach where he spotted the head coach of one of the programs that was most aggressively recruiting him.
His coach said, “Go up and introduce yourself and say hello.”
So he did. When he came back to his coach, he said, “That guy had no idea who I was.” And, in that moment, Starks, who knew that John Thompson III knew very well who he was, had his mind made up about where he was going to school.