Georgetown Coach John Thompson III attended Wednesday’s game, the coach said, because he was in Indianapolis for a meeting of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, of which he’s a board member, and took advantage of the chance to check in on former Hoyas Roy Hibbert and Otto Porter Jr.
Hibbert’s dramatic on-court turnaround — scoring 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds — to help the Pacers even the series at 1-1 after his miserable 0-and-0 showing in the series opener — led some to marvel at Thompson’s sway over his former big man’s performance and others to question his loyalties.
“I’m cheering for the Wizards,” said Thompson, who wore a red pocket square in Indianapolis to convey just that, in a telephone interview. “I just want Roy to snap out of his slump.”
Thompson met with Hibbert before the game, and the two went out to dinner afterward. But it was hardly the first time they have conferred this season. “Certain points of the year, more often than others,” Thompson said. “When needed.”
Thompson said his intent Wednesday was simply to show support.
“He was having a tough time,” Thompson said. “He’s not playing well. People are jumping all over him and rightfully so. I just wanted to remind him what he can do.
“No one told him that this life is going to be easy. You’re going to have slumps. You’re going to be down. He’s a big boy. He’ll pull himself out of this and deal with it. People are going to analyze, criticize and praise your every move. He was in a slump, but he’s out of it.”
Thompson also spoke briefly to Porter at halftime.
Porter, who left Georgetown after his sophomore season and was chosen by the Wizards with the third pick in the 2013 NBA draft, has had nominal impact his rookie season, with his start delayed by injury.
“I think this has been a growing year for him,” Thompson said of Porter, “but getting this playoff experience is invaluable for him. He’s going to be a terrific pro. You just can’t go through missing summer league, the preseason and the first several games as a rookie and think you’re going to be able to come in and go right in — especially when in the meantime, the best players ahead of you are playing terrific.”