Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Welcome to the Madness: Basketball Season Tips Off

Like the day when pitchers and catchers report to spring training every year, Midnight Madness is a sign that the seasons are changing.

On Friday night at McDonough Arena, students, Georgetown basketball fans and potential recruits alike gathered to celebrate the first official day of the 2010-2011 college basketball season, nearly a month before the men open their slate on the road against Old Dominion and the women tip off their year against Augusta State.

“It’s a big weekend for us simply because we don’t have big time football, and other than our events, there are very few events where you can bring in [this type of] a group of people,” Head Coach John Thompson III said on Thursday during the team’s annual Media Day. “Once the season gets started, we’re more concerned with the group that we have here now than with [playing host to] a big group here. It’s the one time [when] you can bring people in and the energy traditionally down through the years that the students bring to the event has been helpful.”

After performances by Groove Theory, the Georgetown cheerleaders and D.C. native Wale, among others, Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy and the Lady Hoyas were introduced to the crowd, followed by Thompson and the men’s squad. Once the two teams finished their annual dance routine and both coaches addressed the crowd, the men’s team broke into layup lines for some casual dunking.

Before the teams were introduced, former Georgetown center Greg Monroe’s No. 10 Detroit Pistons jersey was unveiled on the NBA wall, joining the likes of Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Although Monroe himself is in the midst of the NBA preseason, his mother was on hand to draw back the curtain.

With Monroe as proof, Midnight Madness can make or break a high school prospect’s college choice.

“It helps get recruits in, just seeing how the program is and how we’re a family-oriented program. So I feel like it helps out,” senior guard and captain Austin Freeman said.

Freeman attended Midnight Madness twice as a high school student at DeMatha High. He is now the preseason favorite for Big East player of the year and the key to a likely league title contender. The Hoyas enter this season coming off a crushing end to a roller coaster year with one of the best backcourts in the country in Freeman, senior Chris Wright and junior guard Jason Clark along with one of the potentially deepest frontcourts of the Thompson III era.

Williams-Flournoy brings back the core of a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament a season ago that will likely be a top-15 team in the country when polls are released.

Sophomore guard Sugar Rodgers was named to the preseason watch list for national player of the year. Another solid recruiting class has the Lady Hoyas poised to build on the 2009-2010 season, which was the best in program history.

Indeed, another season of Hoya hoops began at Midnight Madness. Thompson and Williams-Flournoy can only hope the March variety will hold as much positive energy.

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