Anyone searching for the aftereffects of Georgetown's trip to the national championship game need look no further than Horace Broadnax.
The 6-foot-1 player from Plant City, Fla., generally acknowledged as the best high school guard in the South last season, originally had been considering college scholarship offers from Florida, Florida State, South Florida and Jacksonville.
Georgetown, Broadnax kept thinking, was too far from home. But when he saw the Hoyas play North Carolina in the NCAA championship game, he watched with special interest the way Coach John Thompson consoled Fred Brown after the sophomore guard's bad pass cost the Hoyas a chance for victory. Suddenly, Washington didn't seem so far away after all.
Thompson never had seen Broadnax play. But by the time he introduced himself to the youngster, after that NCAA championship game, the entire nation--even Plant City--had become familiar with Georgetown basketball. Broadnax was receptive.
"The way Coach Thompson treated Brown showed me how much he cared about his players," Broadnax said. "It swept me off my feet. But I knew that I couldn't just choose a school because of that. Everything about Georgetown just impressed me."
Broadnax visited Georgetown in mid-April and signed a national letter of intent a few days later, a significant indication of the countless benefits resulting from Georgetown's trip to the final four.
The aftereffects have been positively staggering, at times surprising even Thompson, who says he asked himself a few days after the Carolina game, "What do I expect to result from all of this?"
He knows now. Whether it's Fred Brown becoming a hero, Thompson being offered speaking engagements in Africa or the networks wanting to televise almost every game next year, everybody wants a piece of Georgetown basketball.
The most intriguing reaction has been centered around Thompson and Brown. Moments after the final buzzer sounded in the championship game, Thompson sought out Brown, hugging and consoling him in front of the Georgetown bench. The CBS cameras zoomed in on the coach and his player and it has become "The Hug Seen 'Round the World."
Two of the millions of people watching were David Wingate of Baltimore and Broadnax, both heavily recruited high school basketball players. Both signed with Georgetown shortly thereafter, and both said Thompson's response to Brown was a major factor.
"David told me he just had to be associated with a coach who cares so much about his players," said Wingate's coach, Bob Wade of Dunbar. "I was impressed myself, but I don't know if it's possible to gauge the positive impact that one simple act had on kids."
Brown himself has become a celebrity, receiving letters, poems and good wishes from across the world.
As it turns out, more people were able to identify with Brown and his most human of mistakes than with North Carolina's James Worthy, the hero of the championship contest.
In a wide-ranging interview recently, Thompson expressed surprise that, more than a month later, people are still talking about his reaction to Brown.
"It still amazes me," Thompson said. "I didn't see it as being that big a deal. I got letters from pro coaches who reacted positively to my reaction. It's almost as if people expected that I'd turn around and kick him. It makes me wonder what stage sports has come to that people would expect anything other than my reaction."
At the Georgetown basketball banquet recently, 700 people stood and applauded--some even whistled and stomped their feet--at a mere passing mention of Brown by the master of ceremonies, who dedicated the evening, and a poem, to Brown.
Thompson has received an inordinate amount of posttournament attention. He has offers to speak in Africa, South America and Europe that he already has turned down.
"The requests for speaking engagements are way, way out of perspective," Thompson said. "If I don't watch it, I won't have any time for personal things, or time to prepare for next season. I'll bet I could speak publicly every day this summer, in and out of the country, if I accepted all the offers."
Thompson has had three offers to write a book. Several players have been offered speaking engagements.
"Haven't had much time to revel in any glory, because there's too much of this to worry about now," Gene Smith said on campus recently, pointing to a stack of notebooks under his arm.
The players, at least on the surface, have attempted to take their success in stride.
"My job now," Thompson said, "is to keep this in perspective. I told the players not to go running off celebrating. Final exams are near and they've got school. We've got to be more excited, of course. But I have to water things down, cut it some lest you get on cloud nine and before you know it the program has slipped."
The surest way to keep any program from slipping is to recruit. Thompson, who generally dislikes that part of the game, has been on the road almost continuously since returning from New Orleans.
He expressed concern the day after the championship game that advancing to the NCAA final might put Georgetown far behind in recruiting. But as Thompson has found out the past six weeks, the championship game itself has been an invaluable recruiting tool.
"Recruiting is just a whole lot easier, especially far away," Thompson said. "To get a high-level kid, like Broadnax, at such a late stage, is phenomenal. We didn't even introduce ourselves to him until the tournament was over."
"It's hard to explain," Thompson said, "but the range (of recruiting) can be widened now because we're so well known, nationally, as I've been finding out. It's much easier to get into the (recruit's) house now, get a response to a phone call or get to see a high school coach in areas that we've rarely ventured.
"It started to happen last year," he continued. "But making it to the championship game is gravy. We're the new guy on the national scene. Next year, we'll be able to capitalize a lot more."
Thompson built up the Georgetown program by recruiting Washington-area players: John Duren, Craig Shelton, Al Dutch, Ed Spriggs and Eric Smith, for example. But this year, only one of Thompson's four recruits--Michael Jackson of South Lakes High School in Reston--is local. The others are Wingate from Baltimore, Broadnax from Florida and Victor Morris, a 6-10 center/forward from Houston.
Getting Wingate means more than just signing a player from up the parkway. Baltimore had two of the best teams in the country last season--Calvert Hall and Dunbar.
"The kids in Baltimore are turning to Georgetown now, whereas they used to turn to other schools," said Wade. "Kids over here look to Georgetown as a local thing now. It's rare for Baltimore to adopt anything associated with Washington as local. But we're splitting time with Maryland and Georgetown.
"I hear the kids in the gym saying, 'This is what the big guy (Patrick Ewing) did the other night.' Or, 'Here's Gene Smith playing defense,' " Wade continued. "That's not to say that Adrian Branch (of Maryland) isn't imitated, too. But the Georgetown names are becoming household."
Ironically, it is his own success that Thompson fears.
"I've always been more afraid of success than failure," he said. "Failure is a natural motivator. You're embarrassed because your ego is involved. But success . . . success has a tendency to put you to sleep."
Thompson said he also expects "the backlash. Whenever there is a perceived success there is a backlash that accompanies it. By that I mean, there is a certain segment of people who feel it is their responsibility to put you back on earth.
"Sometimes (the administration and academic community) is where you expect the backlash. But so far, that hasn't happened."
Thompson and Georgetown basketball are almost certainly in for more intense scrutiny when the 1982-83 season begins this fall. As many as 25 games will be televised on the local, regional or national level.
"The demand for national television has increased," said Thompson, "and I have no problem with that. It gives the Big East more leverage. There's a lot of talk about Virginia versus Georgetown, and Kentucky versus Georgetown in the Hall of Fame game. The Hall of Fame is something we wanted to get into some time ago, but couldn't get a sniff of it before this year.
"Next year," said Thompson, "we'll be on national television as much as anybody."
There are financial benefits, in addition to the half-million dollars Georgetown earned from the NCAA.
Georgetown's success in the tournament also showcased all-America guard Eric Floyd, who may have improved his already-high NBA draft stock. A prominent sports agent, who represents several NBA players, said that Floyd--considered the best shooting guard in the draft--could move up two places on the basis of his play in the tournament. He said that is generally worth about an additional $100,000 on an initial contract.
"He was already going in the top 10," the agent said. "But now everybody in the NBA knows how unselfish he is and how well he can perform under the most extreme pressures."
There also has been a surge in season ticket sales. Georgetown sold approximately 6,000 season tickets for 12 dates at Capital Centre last season, but already has sold 7,000 for next season (the schedule is not complete).
The school's sports promotion department doesn't start its season ticket pitch in earnest until July, making it conceivable that more than 10,000 people could buy season tickets.
The size of the bandwagon will have to be increased. "The booster club doubled during the year, from 350 people to about 800," said promotions director Brian McGuire. "And a whole bunch of those joined at the end of the year, after tournament time. The donations (from Georgetown alumni and friends) have doubled, to about $80,000."