Their Comeback Is Complete
There was one current player in the Riggs Library that day, one gawky high school senior who sheepishly approached his new coach and put out his hand.
"C-congratulations, Coach," Roy Hibbert said to John Thompson III, the day JT III was chosen to resurrect Georgetown's moribund program in April 2004.
"He told me they were having workouts," Hibbert remembered. "If I wanted to come work out, I could work out."
"He had braids," Thompson said, half-smiling, rolling his eyes.
Thirty minutes earlier, Big Roy, the all-growed-up senior, had lowered his shoulder and scored, and the will and resolve of Thompson's players outlasted a deeper and a hair more talented Louisville team in a 55-52 scrum for their second straight Big East title -- something not even Pops's Georgetown teams had done.
Hibbert had 12 points and four blocked shots in the game, and made an impossibly tough basket inside to give his team the lead in the final four minutes. He got help from 6-feet-nothing Jonathan Wallace, who with less than two minutes left maneuvered his compact frame through mounds of Louisville muscle in the key and -- grimacing, fading away off one foot -- released the prettiest teardrop from maybe five feet.
In a mucked-up game in which good looks at the basket were at a premium, DaJuan Summers then made the most of a rare unobstructed view, knocking down a three-pointer from the right baseline that broke the tie with 40 seconds left and sent the Phone Booth into another state of delirium.
After Louisville's last gasps from beyond the arc, the wallflower recruit from four years ago grabbed his jersey. His voice bellowing loudly, Hibbert kick-started the student section on one side of the arena with the first two words of a familiar chant: "We are!"
The bare-chested boys and face-painted girls hollered back: "Georgetown!"
In about a week, some well-intentioned television analyst will surmise why the Hoyas don't deserve a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Or point out how Georgetown is too flawed to win the national title a year after its scintillating run to the Final Four.
And, as usual, they will miss the point completely.