Georgetown Men’s Basketball In Dire Straits

John Thompson, John Thompson III

Good evening, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) fans.  We’re going to step out of the ACC for this post and talk about the disaster that is Georgetown University men’s basketball (yes, the author of this post is an alumnus of Georgetown).

The guys at @CasualHoya have you covered on a big decision that Georgetown has to make on the future of Georgetown University men’s basketball coach, John Thompson III (JT III).  It is one of the best posts I’ve seen analyzing all aspects of the Hoyas hoops program, including NCAA tournament inclusion (which has been pretty good over the long haul of JT III’s career), men’s basketball attendance, back-to-back losing seasons, the character and charisma of JT III, the straight out awful defense on the court (yes, this is the worst decline in the program), JT III’s lack of bringing a decent point guard to Georgetown, and several other topics.  It is well worth your time to read the post as it covers the program’s decline in a very detailed and thorough manner.

Georgetown University really embarrassed itself this past Saturday when they told the press that JT III would only take game-related questions (the Hoyas got drilled by Villanova h/t @CasualHoya). Our friends at @CasualHoya have more on this (again, I encourage you to read their entire post).  Here are some selected quotes:

This is the moment that Georgetown Sports Information Director Mex Carey stepped in after a question by Ben Standig to notify the media gathered at the postgame press conference that JT3 would only be addressing questions specific to the Villanova game and not those related to the future of the program.

A number of national outlets including Deadspin made it seem like it was Carey that shut down reporters who dared to ask a question regarding JT3’s future, and while that might be true, it seems from the above that JT3 expected Carey to step in after that question was asked, and one might conclude that he had requested as much at some point this week or before the press conference.

But it actually gets worse.  A student (the Senior Student Correspondent for Casual Hoya) at this past Saturday’s game vs. Villanova was apparently threatened by a former player in the crowd (this student started a petition for the university to get JT III to step down):

Not wanting to give up hope about this game, I kept my messaging more subtle. I shouted out names of terrific mid-major coaches and/or college/NBA assistants who I believed had been doing a good job. ”Kevin Keatts!” “King Rice!” “Becky Hammon!” (Full disclosure: In case you did not know, I helped start the petition to the university asking them to consider moving on from JT3.) At each timeout, the music came in louder and quicker than ever, as the Athletic Department made its most visible effort yet to stifle crowd response.

After the last official timeout, with the clock ticking down to two minutes and Villanova extending its lead into the twenties, I could resist no longer. I reared back, turned my head to the rafters and shouted. “Fi-re Thomp-son! {clap clap clap clap clap} Fi-re Thomp-son! {clap clap clap clap clap}” The ball had come back into play, so I turned my head down, stopped shouting, and tried to focus on the game.

Standing in front of me, however, was a man who I did not know. He looked older than a student, but was clearly not arena staff. “I’m gonna tell you one time,” he said. “Cut it out.” I took a deep breath, in a degree of shock at being confronted out of the blue. I gathered my words. “I am only trying to voice my opinion.” The as-yet anonymous man acknowledges this. “I get that. But I’ll warn you one more time.” He continues. “If you do it again,” he says with his voice becoming more stern, “I’ll kick your fucking ass.”

Ok, keep in mind, I’m wearing a headband that has the name of this website on it. I have a reporter’s notebook and a pen in my hands. I ask this man, clearly an acolyte of the Thompson family, “And what is your name?” As quickly as I asked, he confidently replied “Tyler Crawford.” He walked away and I was left baffled.

I did what came most naturally. I reached out to the two ushers who stand up front, who have become good friends of mine over the years and alerted them to this. As the game ticked away and other fans chanted “Fire Thompson” louder, Villanova continued to pile on points, and Georgetown randomly played loud music in between free throws, another guard came over with a walkie-talkie. He asked if I wanted to get security involved and seeing no other recourse, I did. In the mean time, friends suggested to me that Coach Thompson II or someone sitting in his group may have pointed out my shouting. I have no way of knowing for sure, however, as Crawford may have come of his own volition. Nevertheless, I admired the way in which fellow student fans immediately came over to me and checked in on what happened.


I acknowledge that starting a petition to get the university to remove the head coach and chanting about it is not the most conventional response to a team not doing well. It’s not the most polite one either. But this comes from a place of love. I have run out of patience with this program and I believed I had no other way to make the Athletic Department hear me (because they probably don’t read too much Casual Hoya.) I don’t make any donations, nor can I really afford to. This is my last year as someone who can get student season tickets. This is the only response I and most other students felt we had.

I have been to over 40 Hoyas men’s basketball games in my four years. I followed this team off campus, too. I saw them at Verizon Center, at McDonough, at Madison Square Garden. I stuck with this team through thick and thin. I once ran from an evening class to catch the second half of a game where we already led Brown by more than twenty points. I came to games when I was sick and did substantial damage to my throat to scream my head off cheering for this team. When I went through a stressful emotional period sophomore year, I flung myself into this team and it gave me hope and something to believe in. I have given the Georgetown Hoyas all of the love and admiration that I could in the last four years. This program responded by spitting in my face.

The way this program has handled this situation has been genuinely disgusting. To hide from media availabilities and duck questions about the future of the program is bad enough. Blaring music to drown out boos and confiscating signs from skeptical fans is not great either. But to even have a program culture wherein alumni players feel compelled to threaten violence against one of the team’s most dedicated student fans is disgraceful. The university has not replied to me, nor do I expect them to. Crawford’s remarks made me worried about my own well-being. Georgetown, do you really think that fostering an environment wherein a former player feels emboldened to threaten a student fan is at all acceptable? Does that line up with Jesuit values in any way? This program needs to take a long look in the mirror and think about how it treats its fans.

Wow.  It’s getting ugly at Georgetown.  I’ll be interested to see what this offseason holds.  Georgetown University Athletic Director, Lee Reed, and President, John DeGoia have their work cut out for them.

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