|Thompson, Hoyas prepare to move on without Hibbert|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 14 October 2008 14:31|
Yes, Georgetown's basketball coach will miss departed seniors Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace, Patrick Ewing Jr. and Tyler Crawford.
Rest assured, though, Thompson is also ready to move on.
``That group, and everyone who has followed us and been around, knows how special that group is to me. But they're gone,'' Thompson said, waving a hand to emphasize the point Tuesday at McDonough Arena. ``So I love 'em. I think they love me. But they're gone. And we're not going to dwell on who's not here. We're going to dwell on the guys who are here.''
When Midnight Madness arrives Friday, the Hoyas won't just be getting ready to start a new season, they'll be moving on from an era. First, Jeff Green left for the NBA after helping Georgetown reach the Final Four in his junior year of 2006-07, and now his classmates have departed, too.
Last season - which ended with an upset loss to Stephen Curry and Davidson in the second round of the NCAA tournament - Hibbert led the team in points (13.4) and rebounds (6.4). His 7-foot-2 presence in the middle was a part of why Georgetown led the nation in field-goal percentage defense.
Wallace topped the team in 3-pointers (71) and ranked third in scoring average (10.7). Ewing was third in rebounding average (4.1).
``It's just different. I can't say it's harder or things are going to be harder. I just think it's different,'' junior forward DaJuan Summers said. ``Clearly we've grown attached to those guys - Roy, Jon, Tyler, Pat; Jeff the year before. ... (I'm) one of the younger guys who's now an older guy, trying to continue their legacy.''
Thompson enters this season with only one senior on scholarship, guard Jessie Sapp, who will have to get used to seeing sophomore Chris Wright next to him in the backcourt instead of Wallace, who started every game during his career.
``He always knew what was supposed to happen in every situation,'' said Wright, who was injured most of last season and only appeared in 16 of Georgetown's 34 games. ``I know I'm going to have a bigger leadership role this year.''
led the team in assists, while Summers ranked second in scoring.
Also expected to play a key role is 6-11 freshman center Greg Monroe, who brings frontcourt help along with fellow newcomers Henry Sims and Julian Vaughn, a transfer from Florida State.
Summers and Sapp said they ran more this offseason than ever before, working on conditioning as a possible prelude to what could be a team more willing to push the pace. As Thompson acknowledged, he now has frontcourt players faster than Hibbert, and Wright might be more inclined to run the fast break than Wallace.
``Are we going to play faster? Probably,'' the coach said. ``This team has the aptitude and the athletic ability to play at a faster pace than the teams in the past.''
Not that he's thinking too much about the past, of course. Even if his father, former Georgetown coach John Thompson Jr., was sitting on the far side of the basketball court Tuesday during media day. And even if banners marking the team's 1984 national championship and other past trips to the NCAA tournament were hanging overhead.
No, the younger Thompson wanted to emphasize what's to come.
``We have a learning process to go through. I told myself I was going to not talk about the phrase 'baby steps,' but it is who I am,'' he said. ``We're going to take those steps, but this group will grow up quickly. I think. I hope. I plan. And as soon as we come together, we have a chance to be pretty good.''