“In many ways, a new era starts tomorrow.”
Those words were delivered by Head Coach John Thompson III at the Georgetown men’s basketball program’s annual end-of-season banquet, held on Tuesday evening in Leavey Ballroom.
Players, coaches, fans, Georgetown administrators, athletic department staff and other guests gathered to wrap a ceremonial bow around the 2010-2011 season, a campaign in which the Hoyas finished 21-11. After preliminary introductions and thank yous, attendees, including John Thompson Jr., former players, the cheerleaders and the pep band, enjoyed dinner as memorable plays from the Hoyas’ victories were played on two projection screens at the front of the ballroom.
University president Jack DeGioia then delivered brief remarks before he and Athletic Director Lee Reed presented each player and student manager with varsity letters and certificates. Thompson approached the podium and introduced his six seniors: managers C.J. Ciarrochi and Ray Moss and players Ryan Dougherty, Austin Freeman, Julian Vaughn and Chris Wright. Each senior then spoke to the audience.
“There are few constants in life,” Dougherty said. “Death, taxes and big Coach Thompson sitting on that wooden chair in McDonough.”
After highlighting behind-the-scenes contributors to the program — such as trainer Lorry Michel, director of basketball operations Darryl Prue and the team managers — Thompson gave special recognition to retiring longtime assistant Mary Jane Cratty, who has worked with him at Princeton and Georgetown.
“I don’t know what it’s like to be a head coach without Mary Jane,” Thompson said. “Because I’ve never been a head coach without her.”
At the end of the proceedings, Thompson offered his own thanks to various individuals and to Georgetown students and fans. He acknowledged that with the graduation of this particular senior class, the Hoyas are about to open a new chapter in their history.
Newest recruit Otto Porter, a heralded 6-foot-9 forward who verbally committed earlier in the day, was not mentioned explicitly. However, Assistant Coach Robert Kirby was cited at the beginning of the night for bringing Georgetown “some good news,” a clear reference to Porter.
Additionally, Assistant Coach Kenya Hunter introduced the returning players and expressed the coaching staff’s optimism about what each will do next season in a Georgetown uniform. Ironically, given the amount of scholarships the program possesses, Porter’s arrival means that at least one current rostered player will be transferring before next year.
In all, players and coaches alike acknowledged both the successes and failures of the 2010-2011 season, which saw an eight-game midseason winning streak and a five-game season-ending losing streak. The banquet, however, focused on the contributions of the entire men’s basketball program to the Georgetown community.
“I’m proud to be a Hoya,” Wright said.