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Georgetown Basketball

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Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, March 30, 2007; 10:00 AM

Georgetown beat writer Camille Powell was online Friday, March 30 at 10 a.m. to talk about the Hoyas on the eve of their Final Four game with Ohio State.

A transcript of the chat follows.

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Camille Powell: Greetings from the mostly empty media section of the cavernous Georgia Dome. No sign yet of Prisbell or Kilgore, who are undoubtedly recovering from last night's attack on a Brazilian steakhouse.

Sorry for the early start, but today is a busy day, with open practices and press conferences. Georgetown takes the court from 12-12:50 p.m., and then the podium from 1-1:30.

I've got my orange basketball Krispy Kreme donut and a banana, so let's get started.

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Ashburn, Va.: Hey Camille...

I have looked forward to your articles both before and after games all season! No question, just pass on some good luck to our boys in Atlanta! Bring home the title fellas! It's been a terrific season to watch! Almost feels like it is going to have that storybook ending.

Camille Powell: We'll start off with this one...

Thanks for the kind words. For a while, I had been referring to Georgetown as a "team of destiny," because of the way their games had played out, but I stopped once my sister pointed out that Ohio State could also be the "team of destiny," with some of their escapes.

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Arlington, Va.: I heard a rumor that Georgetown didn't sell all of their student tickets. Are they available to the general public?

Camille Powell: It's true that Georgetown didn't sell all of its student tickets, but the remainders were put on sale to the general public on Wednesday and quickly sold out. The university has no more tickets to sell.

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Staunton, Va.: Down here in Tyler Crawford's hometown, we recently read an AP article about how he is the heart and soul of the Hoyas. Was that overstated?

We are proud of him nonetheless, as Harrisonburg rightly is of Terps champ Kristi Toliver and the Fort Defiance area is of UNC's Heather Claytor. The Shenandoah Valley is producing some mighty fine NCAA basketball players.

Camille Powell: Thompson has consistently said over the past two years that Tyler Crawford is the heart and soul of this team. At one of the tournament press conferences, he was asked who the leader of the team is, Jeff or Roy, and I think he surprised the questioner by saying Tyler.

The players really respond to Tyler because he's emotional and works so unbelievably hard.

He has one of the greatest nicknames -- Bam-Bam -- but has been given a new one, after punching the basket support during the Vanderbilt game: Tyson.

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Morristown, N.J.: Does the team appear to be tight or nervous?

Camille Powell: I could give you a better answer later today, since I haven't seen the players since Tuesday. They didn't appear to be tight or nervous then. But I'm curious about today, because the media attention is so much more than anything they've had to deal with before. But at every step, they've done a very good job of remaining even-keeled and not letting the nerves get to them.

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Washington, D.C.: Georgetown's most impressive attribute is their poise. If you really look at what they've done through the course of the season, they have never stepped out of the parameters of their philosophy. The UNC game is the perfect example...the Hoyas were down most of the game until the last 5-6 minutes. Most teams would lose composure, start chucking up low percentage shots, players would panic. Georgetown stayed within their game plan the whole time, they were constantly moving the ball around and they finally got it going when it mattered most. You combine that kind of poise with the talent and ability they have and that's why they won the Big East and, at least in my bracket, will win the whole thing.

Camille Powell: I agree with you, and I've written about this a lot. They just don't get rattled.

One of the things that Jonathan Wallace said after the UNC game was that they expected the Tar Heels to throw a lot of knockout punches, and they just had to weather them and try to wear down the Tar Heels at the end. There were a couple of instances where I thought that UNC had thrown THE knockout punch, but the Hoyas kept grinding away.

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Why This Team is Important: I am a 30-year-old D.C. sports junkie. From 1982 to 1992 was an incredible run for D.C. sports fans...'Skins and Hoyas. Four Super Bowl appearances and three championship games mean a lot for a kid who was 6-16 years old. The 'Skins and Hoyas were always competitive every year. It was sports bliss.

However, the last 15 years of sports fanship in D.C. has been awful. I don't think we need to run down the reasons why...we all know them.

The Duke game last year was my first G'Town game in a long time. That game was incredible and re-sparked my love for the Hoyas. I have to be honest, the Allen Iverson years were a downer for me as a fan. It just wasn't GU Ball.

Do you think JT3 and his players understand why this team is special to a lot of native Washingtonians? Has anyone every broke it down for them in this way?

This is GU basketball as I remember it and it is great.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

Camille Powell: I think it's interesting you mention last year's Duke game, because I think that was really a turning point for Georgetown, both in terms of the team and in the way that area fans (typical sports fans, not the G'town diehards) looked at the team.

Thompson certainly understands why this team is important to native Washingtonians. I think the players understand, as well -- they seem very cognizant of Georgetown's history and tradition, plus guys like Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert grew up around here.

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Pompton Plains, N.J.: Is it a concern to play for the first time in such a large dome environment?

Camille Powell: It is a concern, especially considering this: Georgetown's worst shooting performance of the season -- by far -- came inside the Carrier Dome: 29.8 percent from the floor, and 24 percent (6 for 25) from three-point range. Wallace was just 1 for 4 from beyond the arc.

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D.C.: I'm very happy for GU and their success this season, but why can't John Thompson go away? He's taking away from the team, and his son's opportunity to relish in the moment by imposing himself in every way. I was not surprised at all after reading Mike Wise's article earlier this week. Less focus should be on JT2, and more focus on the players and JT3, which is the reason they're in the Final Four this year.

Camille Powell: I have to admit that one of my favorite moments in East Rutherford was watching the players go over to John Thompson Jr. after the UNC game and give him hugs or high fives, and then listening to Jessie Sapp explain why: "The dude's a legend."

>I think one of the reasons why Big John is in such demand from media types is that he's so colorful and will say the things that his more careful son won't.

I imagine you'll be seeing a lot of him this weekend.

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Washington, D.C.: Who are the Hoyas looking at as a possible replacement for Kevin Broadus? And what's the possibility of other coaches leaving and coming?

Camille Powell: Finding a replacement for Broadus is going to be important because of the impact he's had recruiting, plus his local ties. I stood next to him in Bender Arena on the night of the St. John's/DeMatha doubleheader, and he knew EVERYONE.

Both Robert Burke (Thompson's assistant at Princeton) and Sydney Johnson (former Princeton star) have been mentioned as candidates for the Tigers' opening.

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Silver Spring, Md.: How is JT III's wife? Last season, her bout with cancer was often mentioned and this season, I haven't heard her mentioned.

Camille Powell: She's been at all the games during the tournament run and is doing well. Thompson is very private, particularly when it comes to his family, so he hasn't talked much about it.

Andy Katz from espn.com caught up with Monica in East Rutherford:

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Silver Spring, Md.: Any talk of whether or not Jeff Green will come back for his senior year?

Camille Powell: Over the past few weeks, Jeff has become an expert in parrying questions about his future, saying that his focus is on winning a national championship. He said from the start that he plans to be at Georgetown for four years and get his degree, but things can change.

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Jeff Green Does He Stay or Go: I am surprised no one has asked this question...will he stay or go?

I told several of my buddies that he would leave if the team made the Final Four. He definitely comes out if they win. If they would've lost to Vandy he would have definitely come back for the next season. But now I can't see him staying.

The reality is this team will not lose a beat with Chris Wright and Austin Freeman coming in next season.

The other question is whether or not Jeremiah Rivers stays at GU. I just don't think he is good enough to contribute next year and will definitely see his diminishing minutes reduced with Chris Wright.

What is the word on Green staying and Rivers sticking with the program? I just don't think Rivers brings much to the table.

Also, I am assuming "The Notorious H.I.B." comes back.

Camille Powell: The one thing I'll say about Jeff Green is that winning is very important to him. Very. Does that mean a Final Four will satisfy him? Or a national championship?

As for Rivers, he brings something a little different than Wright -- a bigger, more physical presence in the backcourt. But it'll be interesting to see how Thompson juggles all the pieces next season.

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Pompton Plains, N.J.: To me...the key guys last year (Bowman, Cook and Owens) who stuck it out at GU during a couple of tough down years...really were the people who turned things around with the program. I know it's old news...but they don't seem to get mentions or credit this season. Is that a fair comment...and has JTIII ever commented on that this season? And have they been around or visible with the program since graduation?

Camille Powell: I'm glad you raised this point, because I think you're right. Those guys gave Thompson an experienced core to work with, and they enabled Jeff and Roy and Jon to improve without having to carry the team by themselves.

I haven't seen Brandon this year in person, but I did catch him on TV one time as he was shooting free throws in a D-league game. Darrel and Ashanti have made it back for at least one game this season, not a bad job by Ashanti considering he was playing in Germany.

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Arlington, Va.: How does JTIII's performance rank in the all-time turn arounds? It is quite amazing what he has accomplished in three years. From last-seeded, one-and-done in the BET to winning the regular season and tournament and now in the Final Four. I can't even think of anything comparable.

Camille Powell: I was thinking about this earlier this week. It's really rather remarkable, considering just how bleak things seemed when Georgetown was fighting just to get into the BET in 2004. Kenny Izzo and Sead Dizdarevic are the only holdovers, player-wise, from that team, and they've been telling their teammates about the days when there was NO postseason (NCAA or NIT).

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Green Bay, Wisc.: What's a Hoya?

Camille Powell: Oh, I'm staying away from this one since I got in trouble when I posted something about "Hoya Saxa" and Latin on the blog.

But in today's AJC Living section, there is a "Final Four Fraternity" graphic that gives info on the four schools, and under Georgetown, in the "Say What?" section, it says:

"No one is really sure what a Hoya (the team's nickname) is; one story says it's from a Greek/Latin cheer, 'hoya saxa,' meaning 'what rocks.' "

Under Florida's "Say What?" there is this nugget:

"In the recent Student Government Association, the Pants Party won only one Senate seat (out of 46 open seats) despite a platform of free condoms 24/7."

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Arlington, Va.: My family (two sisters, brother in law, niece) are season ticket holders and loyal Hoyas fans, so we might be a tad biased, but we believe the balance in this team will enable them to win it all. And holding it all together...JT III.

Go Hoyas!!!!!!!!

Camille Powell: And we'll end on this note.

Thanks for all the questions, and enjoy the games this weekend!

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