John Thompson III and Mark Turgeon both have plenty of issues on their plate right now. Thompson, of course, is staring at a dissolving conference and a chance for a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, while Turgeon confronts a move to the Big Ten and a tenuous spot on the NCAA tournament bubble.
Still, in between all of that, ESPN’s Andy Katz managed to ask both men about the D.C. sports holy grail of a renewed non-conference Beltway series. (The lengthy podcast, also featuring co-host Seth Greenberg, is here.)
“Uh, there are chances that that will happen,” Thompson said first.
“Can you expand?” Katz asked.
“No, I cannot,” Thompson said. “There are chances that that could happen.”
Katz asked for a percentage.
“Um, no idea,” Thompson said. “No idea. And we’ll see as we go forward. I’m a good friend of Turge, let me just say that. And actually Turge and my brother Ronny worked together at Oregon as assistants for Jerry Green, and so Turge and I are friends. We’ll see. That’s a tangled web, that issue.”
“Why is that so tangled, why?” Katz asked.
“I don’t know,” Thompson answered. “I’ve said enough. I’ve said enough.”
Moments later, Turgeon dialed in, and the first question concerned a series with Georgetown.
“There’s a chance,” Turgeon said. “John and I go way back. And I did work with Ronny. I’ve got a lot of respect for John, he’s doing a great job this year with his team. I like watching them play. I hope we can get it started in the future. When we first got here, John and I talked a little bit, but that’s between me and him. But we do have a relationship. I think it’d be great for the area if we could get it done. But we’ll see. We’ll see as we move forward.”
“If you played that game and you could do it for some type of charity, you could get tremendous sponsorship and really do a lot of good for a lot of people,” Greenberg said, when neither coach was on the air. “I think they’ll play. Just listening to John’s tone and his respect for Turge.”
That would be good. You could likely count on one hand the number of people who would not think that would be good. Or maybe on two fingers.
As he has in the past, Thompson also talked about continuing the Georgetown-Syracuse rivalry moving forward, and that one sounds much stronger than a possibility.
“It will continue. It will continue,” Thompson said. “Now, is it gonna be every year? I don’t know. The unfortunate fact, when they started this process of breaking off, is now they’ve fallen into the clump of out-of-conference scheduling, and that’s a hard balance to try to fit in each and every thing. Especially now, scheduling games, we don’t know who’s gonna be in your league, how many league games you’re going to play.
“You’re going to have to juggle the balance between do I want to have a home and home against School X – let’s say School X is Syracuse – or do I want to go play in the Jimmy V or Maui or one of these tournaments? It’s going to get to a point where you’re going to have to make those choices, just based on the number of difficult games you want to put on your schedule for out-of-conference. And so is it something that will continue? Yes, absolutely. Do we have definitive dates, when it’s going to start and how long it’s going to go? No.”
Thompson also suggested media members begin referring to Georgetown and their six new partners as the Magnificent Seven, and said they should not be grouped by religious affiliation.
“I want to say that again, the BASKETBALL Seven,” he told Katz and Greenberg. “I didn’t bring religion into it, because that’s not the common thread. The common thread is basketball, not religion. I think you guys in your profession keep pushing that religious aspect of it. How it’s gonna shake out, I don’t know. I feel very confident that our conference is gonna be extremely strong, and whether it’s with recruits or here on campus, what I feel is we’re still Georgetown. And we were good before there was a Big East, we’ve been good when we’ve been in the Big East, and we’re gonna be good with whatever tomorrow holds. And so it’s great to talk about the conference as a whole; we’re gonna be good. And that’s important to recruits. We’re gonna get exposure, and that’s what’s important to this program.”
Again, listen here for the full interviews with both coaches.