Georgetown Set to Get Started in Men's Basketball

By Liz Clarke
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 17, 2008

The beauty of college basketball, Georgetown Coach John Thompson III likes to say, is that it constantly evolves.

There is no such thing as a finished product to sit back and admire, but instead a revolving cast of players, perpetually defining and redefining itself.

Thompson's fondness for that flux -- and the notion that his work, as a result, can never be finished -- will be tested this season.

That test gets under way tonight at Verizon Center, where Georgetown opens its first season in four years without Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace and Patrick Ewing Jr., who led the Hoyas to consecutive Big East regular season titles and three NCAA tournament appearances.

The opponent is Jacksonville (0-1), a team Georgetown beat by 32 points last season but one Thompson isn't taking lightly. The Dolphins have all five starters returning and scored 40 second-half points against Florida State in both teams' opener Saturday before falling, 59-57.

"They're a significantly different team than when we played them last year," Thompson said of Jacksonville, picked to finish second in the Atlantic Sun Conference. "With their whole group back, they're going to be confident, and we're finding ourselves."

For the faithful at Verizon Center, where Georgetown was unbeaten last season, the focus will be entirely on the new-look Hoyas.

Will 6-foot-11 freshman Greg Monroe, a McDonald's all-American, show promise of becoming the Hoyas' anchor inside?

Thompson cautions against assuming that Monroe will simply step into Hibbert's role, characterizing him instead as "a facilitator."

"He's someone who'll make his teammates a lot better," Thompson said of the sought-after recruit. "He has an affinity and a gift for being able to pass the ball."

Teammates rave about Monroe's work ethic in practice.

"I love the kid!" gushed junior forward DaJuan Summers, who returns for his third season as a starter. "He works tremendously hard. His skill set is very good. And he's very aware of what's going on the game. For a young guy, that's not really likely to have the understanding he does."

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