Well, the Georgetown issue was also raised last week when George Washington introduced Mike Lonergan, its new head coach.
“As you will not be the only new HC in the DMV, there seems to be a unique opportunity with head coaching changes at Maryland and George Mason to build our own DC version of the Big 5,” someone asked Lonergan during his online chat. “What steps might you be able to take to help this happen?”
“For that to happen all the local Division I programs would have to be willing to play each other,” Lonergan replied. “It would be great for the fans and would increase interest in local college basketball.”
Sure it would. But who here cares about the fans, right?
That might be the response of WTOP’s Mark Plotkin, a longtime GW fan and crusader on behalf of a Big 5-type setup. His first question at Lonergan’s introductory press conference, in fact, was a screed against the Hoyas addressed to incoming AD Patrick Nero.
“Georgetown has exempted itself from the BB&T for 17 years,” Plotkin said. “Seventeen years. I watched basketball in Philadelphia, they have a Big 5 luncheon; it has to do with a culture, an ethos of the city. What do you personally think as the new athletic director about Georgetown not playing in this tournament? And what are you going to do to make sure they DO start playing in the tournament. Millions of dollars in charities to children – I’m being serious, it’s not funny – have not gone. Because Georgetown could fill that place if they were included.”
Well then. Welcome to D.C., Mr. Lonergan.
“Georgetown is a terrific university and a great basketball program,” Nero said. “We would love for them to play us. We would love to play them. And hopefully we can convince them that they would get a lot out of playing GW. The BB&T certainly has a reputation as a great basketball tournament. We’re committed to playing in it every year. I think it would be great for college basketball in this area if every local team committed to playing that tournament, but we can only control GW.”