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In 1979, college basketball became a national obsession.
On March 26, Indiana State’s Larry Bird and Michigan State’s Earvin “Magic” Johnson squared off in the NCAA championship game. The duel set a television ratings record, effectively ushering in the sport’s modern era. It also set the stage for another, equally seismic event.
Later that year, the Big East made its debut. Founded by hoops visionary Dave Gavitt, the original conference was a tight cluster of schools in the Northeast: Boston College, the University of Connecticut, Providence College, Seton Hall University, St. John’s University, Syracuse University, and Georgetown University. Villanova University joined in 1980, and two years later, the University of Pittsburgh came aboard.
From the outset, the Big East gained a reputation for being downright ferocious. “Our games are not for the faint of heart,” the late Gavitt, the Big East’s first commissioner, told Time in 1983. “That’s for sure.” But no one could reasonably argue that the conference’s level of play wasn’t spectacularly high. Since its inception, Big East teams have reached the Final Four 18 times.
In the conference’s first decade, no program in the country was as successful, polarizing, mesmerizing, and cool as Georgetown. Coach John Thompson Jr., an opinionated, nearly seven-feet-tall African-American man, presided over a predominantly black squad. At the time, former Georgetown star John Duren recently reminded me, this was still “Chocolate City.” It’s no surprise that Washington embraced the Hoyas. To this day, D.C. residents who live miles from the Hilltop still wear Georgetown gear.
“Not only was this a team full of black players who would definitely take it to you,” Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, a longtime Georgetown fan, told me, “you had a big-ass black man as a coach who wasn’t taking no shit. That was big.”
The Big East as currently constructed is soon to be a memory. After this season, Syracuse and Pitt are headed to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Next year, seven of the Big East’s Catholic schools, including Georgetown, will likely form their own league (and keep the Big East name). This Saturday, the Hoyas will host the Orange at the Verizon Center in the final game of the regular season; unless they meet in the Big East or NCAA tournaments later this month, it will be their last game as rivals in the same conference. For the District’s sports fans, this is a sad development. Since the early days of the Big East, the Hoyas have captivated Washington. Here’s the story of their rise.
Thompson—who took the Georgetown job in 1972 after playing for Archbishop Carroll High School, Providence College, and the Boston Celtics, then coaching at St. Anthony High School—was smart, profane, intimidating, and socially conscious. In other words, not easily defined. He ran a tight ship, restricting media access to his practices and players and inspiring the term “Hoya Paranoia.” (Later in his tenure, he would seek out one of the most notorious drug dealers in D.C.’s history, Rayful Edmond III, and ask him to steer clear of Georgetown’s players.) But despite his team’s on-court success and high graduation rate, many seemed content to reduce Thompson to ugly stereotypes—the sports editor at the Salt Lake Tribune once called him “the Idi Amin of Big East basketball.”
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
John Feinstein, columnist, Washington Post: He was a very large, opinionated black man, and a lot of white people were threatened by that. It’s very simple. If he had been saying the exact same things, and doing the exact same things, and he was 6-foot-2 and he was white, people would not have felt as threatened by him.
Kojo Nnamdi, radio host, WAMU: When you become the first black coach with that kind of prominence, people subconsciously expect you to be Martin Luther King. They subconsciously feel that if you’re prominent, then clearly you’re going to be someone who is pleasant, someone who smooths the relationship between you and the media. John Thompson is not that kind of person. He was outspoken, he was brash, he was assertive. And I think a lot of people just didn’t expect that.
John Duren, guard, 1976–80: He wasn’t going to back up for nobody, no matter what size, what race, what color. He was going to hold his own. It’s good for a young black kid to see somebody confront white men, from a point where, if he’s right he’s right. Referees, coaches, or whatever.
Gary Pomerantz, reporter, Washington Post, 1981-88: It’s as if that team was submerged in a submarine. And I’m trying to cover them while standing on a pier. It wasn’t an easy task.
Horace Broadnax, guard, 1982–86: He, I guess people would say, sheltered us. But I choose to hear something else. He gave us an opportunity to be young men, and not necessarily be looking over our shoulders.
Feinstein: I remember him saying to me once, “These are children. I’m protecting them.” I said, “These are not children, John. They’re college students.”
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Broadnax: I think the media thought he was a mad man doing stuff for the hell of it. There was a rhyme and reason for everything that he did.
Eric “Sleepy” Floyd, guard, 1978–82: I remember [my] first practice, you had to go up to the track and everyone had to run a mile under a certain amount of time. And I remember running that mile and beating everybody by a large margin. Coach Thompson was sitting in his chair with his stopwatch, and when everybody finished, he said, “Everyone made it but Sleepy.” And at the time, I didn’t understand what he was doing. I was like, “Man, are you kidding me?” He said, “Well, you get 30 seconds rest, then you have to run it in a shorter period of time.” I forget what it was. I ended up doing it and made it in less time than I ran the first time and he said, “Well, let’s go start practice.” I almost fainted at practice after doing that. I didn’t understand what he saw in me at the time, but I think he saw a lot. He knew he could challenge me. And that was the start, really, of great things to come.
Andre Hawkins, student manager, 1979–83: He would say to me before practice, “I’m gonna cuss you out today.” And I’d just look at him, [and say] “Huh?” And he said, “I’m gonna call you a couple names, and I’m gonna yell at you. So I’m just letting you know.” And I’m looking at him like, “OK.” And then he comes to practice and he just goes off on you. And the team is like, “Damn! He is killing him.” And I’m kind of just sitting there acting like I’m upset. He used to do that on occasion. And I think he did that because he knew I could take it. And he did that so it could deflect pressure off the team.
Michael Graham, forward, 1983–84: He always told me this: “Whenever you don’t go to class, son, we’re going up into my office and we’re gonna break up the furniture.” And you’re talking about scared. That’s the only guy, that I believe, besides my father—who I didn’t see very much of—that I was really scared of. He was more like a father than my own father. He has and still does care about me more than I care about myself.
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Mark Tillmon, guard, 1986–90: I’ll never forget the incident where Jimmy “the Greek” [Snyder] was saying that African-American players were bred to be great athletes. And we had something that was called a mental practice. Coach Thompson sat us all down. When we got to one of those practices, he could talk for hours. And we loved it. Because we knew when he got into that mode and started talking, he wouldn’t stop. He’d look up like, “Oh man, we’ve gotta get ready to get out of here. Alright, let’s line up for sprints.” We had this mental practice day when we talked about that. So we sat there listening.
He asked each one of us about what we thought about what Jimmy “the Greek” said. He got to me, I said, “I don’t know. Pretty much, I don’t care.” That’s what I said. The words that he used on me that day … He laid into me so bad and he said, “You MFs around here always just want to read your own press clippings. They could be bombing the MF world and you don’t know it. Why don’t you have an opinion about something? Just because you have an opinion doesn’t make you wrong, and it probably doesn’t make you right. But have an opinion. Don’t ever let somebody ask you something and you don’t have an opinion.” That never left me.
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
On Feb. 12, 1980, one of college basketball’s greatest rivalries was born. That night, Georgetown mounted a furious comeback on the road to upset second-ranked Syracuse, who came into the game riding a 57-game home winning streak, 52-50, in the last contest ever played at Manley Field House. Afterward Thompson, ever the shit-stirrer, proclaimed: “Manley Field House is officially closed.” (After an underdog Georgetown team beat Syracuse last month, in their last meeting in the Carrier Dome before Syracuse joins the ACC, Thompson’s son, John Thompson III, now the Hoyas’ coach, told reporters they wouldn’t get a similar line out of him.)
John Thompson Jr., head coach, 1972–99: All that stuff you hear about Manley is a creation by the public. And that’s what makes it fun.
Floyd: They talk about Duke in a lot of ways with their home court advantage at Cameron [Indoor Stadium], that’s what Manley Field House was. They played so well up there. They were pretty much up 10, 12 points before the game even started.
Duren: We were there two days, three days before, and [Syracuse fans] ordered pizza to the [hotel] room. Flowers came to the room. It was wild.
Floyd: I ended up making some free throws to win the game…
According to a Post story filed that night, Thompson uttered his now famous line “a few minutes” after the game ended. The New York Times recap had Thompson saying it “loudly” and “moments after the triumph.”
Floyd: We just loved it. It was just phenomenal.
Hawkins: We had to get up out of there. They were not very happy with us. And somewhere in [Thompson’s] speech [he] was like, “Let’s get the hell out of here. We don’t want to give them no time to gather up. Let’s go.”
Eric Smith, guard/forward, 1978–82: At the bus after the game, there were snowballs and oranges thrown at us.
Floyd: I don’t even think we showered. I think we just threw on our sweats and went straight to the bus. We were partying on that bus like no other. To close Manley Field House like that, with the great teams that they had, that was phenomenal. It took it to another level. It really did. It really put that rivalry on the map.
THE EAST RISES
By the early ’80s, Big East games began appearing regularly on national TV. Teams moved also into bigger arenas. (The biggest being Syracuse’s Carrier Dome, which for basketball seats 33,000.) In 1981, Georgetown started playing its home games at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md.
Thompson Jr.: I had high expectations, but I wasn’t certain as to what would happen. There were good programs they’d asked to come in. The Big East didn’t make those programs good.
Feinstein: I remember [Thompson] saying to me, “We’re not moving to the Cap Centre to get good, we’re moving to the Cap Centre because we are good.”
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Craig Esherick, assistant coach, 1979–99, head coach, 1999–04: Syracuse-Georgetown wasn’t a rivalry until the formation of the league and the establishment of ESPN. The games were good, but the network helped popularize it. It was a national network, and kids all over the country saw the games.
Thompson Jr: The Big East helped ESPN an awful lot, just as ESPN helped them.
Bill Wennington, St. John’s, center, 1981–85: We were in [Madison Square] Garden a lot, so we played on TV a lot. I remember going to the Olympics in ’84. We’re out there—I was with the Canadian national team—and I hear “Bill Wennington, St. John’s. How you doing?” And [my teammates] are like, “How do they know you?” Well, we had seven national TV games last year. That was the league that was on TV. That was the league that everyone knew.
Ed Pinckney, Villanova, forward, 1981–85: We all grew up playing either on each other teams or against one another in high school. I can remember playing against my point guard from my high school in New York, Stevenson High School, Freddie Brown, he turned out to be Rookie of the Year in the Big East, a year or two before I came into the Big East, and he just happened to be on one of our most bitter rivals in Georgetown.
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Sean Miller, Pittsburgh, guard, 1987–92: In the Big East back then, if you wanted to, you could really do most of it by bus. I think that almost like, heightened it.
Thompson Jr: People enjoy the discussions after and before games as much as they do the games. So the proximity of the schools had a lot to do with it.
Graham: You had players like Chris Mullin [of St. John’s], Otis Thorpe who went to Providence, you had Ed Pinckney who went to Villanova … You had these players in the Big East. I didn’t really know what an NBA schedule was like, but I’ll tell you, playing in the Big East, it had to really come close.
Esherick: Great coaches. [Villanova’s Rollie] Massimino, [Syracuse’s Jim] Boeheim, [St. John’s’] Louie Carnesecca. [Seton Hall’s] P.J. Carlesimo.
Duren: It’s very easy for Coach Thompson now to go around other cities and recruit, because he can say, “You’re gonna get exposure.” Because in college, it’s all about getting exposure. If nothing else, the Big East brought a lot of exposure.
Miller: It was the ultimate dog-eat-dog [league]. I try to explain it to my players today [Miller is now the head coach at University of Arizona], I think sometimes they roll their eyes. It’s just a different generation, a different time. But to me, it is a gift to have played in the Big East conference during that time.
In 1982, for the first time under Thompson, the Hoyas advanced to the NCAA title game, where they lost to the University of North Carolina—on a jumper by freshman Michael Jordan. Afterward, Thompson memorably consoled guard Fred Brown, whose errant pass cost the Hoyas a chance at a last-second shot. For Georgetown fans, however, there was a silver lining. The game served as a national coming out party for freshman Patrick Ewing. (Through his friend, former Hoya Ralph Dalton, Ewing declined comment.) The seven-footer from Cambridge, Mass., by way of Jamaica, made his presence felt immediately—goaltending UNC’s first five shots. That night, he ended up with 23 points and 11 rebounds. The performance was a sign of things to come.
Floyd: Patrick was shy, like a lot of freshmen are when they go off to college. But I tell you, when he stepped on the court he wasn’t shy.
Reggie Williams, forward, 1983–87: When I got to Georgetown they would call him Boomer. And I would say, “Why are they calling Patrick ‘Boomer?’” But when he dunked the ball, it was a thunderous sound in practice. And they said, “That’s why they call him ‘Boomer.’” … When he dunked on people that’s how it sounded. It was a thunderous boom.
Mike Hancock, forward, 1978–82: There was a newspaper article my senior year—I was a pretty good rebounder—and they had a picture in the paper maybe five, six games into the season. I was jumping as high as I could go, and my hands were stretched out as far as they could go. [Ewing’s] waist was at the top of my hands. I said, “You know what, this guy is unbelievable.” He just played at a totally different level.
Thompson Jr., to Time in 1983: The way Ewing plays, he doesn’t ask questions, he makes statements.
Chuck D, rapper/activist: Patrick Ewing influenced hip-hop heavily. Just with defiance, it was that swagger for real.
Opposing fans often treated Ewing viciously, saying and doing racist things that today, you’d likely experience only in European soccer stadiums. Tensions came to a head on Jan. 31, 1983, when Georgetown played Villanova at the Palestra in Philadelphia.
Thompson Jr., on fan behavior in general in the Big East: The average fan, you know, looks at it as if we’re fighting the Civil War. Which is not the case. It’s the difference between competitive anger and just pure hatefulness and meanness.
Pomerantz: Just before pregame introductions, I saw the students from the Villanova section unfurl this banner. In earlier games I had seen young fans hold up signs saying, “Ewing can’t read.” And now, this banner goes one step—or 10 steps—lower. It says, “Ewing is an ape.” And so what might have been intended as college humor crosses into overt, callous racism. And then, as Patrick Ewing is introduced, he runs onto the court, from somewhere behind me, a banana peel is thrown out, and it lands at Ewing’s feet. Sports is often considered the toy department of a newspaper, but every so often you have real-world problems, like labor strife, drug use, and racism, fall into the toy box, and this was one such moment.
Gene Smith, guard, 1980–84: You could’ve hated coach all week, or been angry at coach all week, and then, we’re on the road, and you know, fans are doing something completely derogatory, and he goes, “I’m taking my team off the court. You either fix this or we’re not playing.” And you’re like, “Yeah! Now what.”
David Green, student manager, 1982–85: I don’t remember Patrick reacting one way or another … within a couple of minutes the sign was gone and the players came back on.
Williams: [People] just portrayed him as being this mean black guy. That’s how they portrayed him. They didn’t know him. He didn’t talk. He kept to himself. He was a good guy.
Mike Riley, assistant coach, 1982–04: [Ewing] survived it. But that’s not an easy thing when you’re going through it. It wasn’t an easy thing to watch him. You felt bad, but pretty much you had your hands tied because it’s like the old thing, if you act out to it, then people think something’s wrong with you.
Pomerantz: I’ve covered Super Bowls, and World Series, and Sugar Ray Leonard fights, this was the single most memorable night in all my years as a sportswriter. It was shocking.
Love them or loathe them, with Ewing around, the Hoyas were a phenomenon, both in D.C. and beyond.
Nnamdi: Washington was always a good basketball city, but we never had a good basketball college in the city. There was Maryland, but it was outside of the city. We never had a good basketball college in the city that African Americans could really relate to.
Duren: Washington, D.C., at the time was Chocolate City. You’re talking about a black coach, and at the time, eight or nine black players.
Esherick: I got from a lot of people, “Is it an all-black school?”
Nnamdi: Because in large measure they were being so heavily criticized by other coaches and the media, the feeling developed in the city in general, the African-American community in particular, that, “They’re ours. We have to circle the wagons. We have to defend them. We have to protect them. And therefore, we have to adopt them.”
Hancock: We were more popular than the Bullets at the time. We just didn’t have any money.
Tillmon: [Thompson] probably could’ve run for mayor and won.
Ted Leonsis, Captials/Wizards/Verizon Center owner, Georgetown alum (’77): When the Patrick Ewing era came that was just kind of a pinnacle, if you will. It just seemed that Georgetown became this iconic university with an iconic men’s basketball team.
Feinstein: When Ewing gets there, it changes everything. [The Hoyas had] been in the Big East for a few years by then, and they play that classic national championship game against North Carolina, and I think it was after that that you saw them become sort of cultural icons, not just in Washington. They were black America’s team. There were so many white people who resented Thompson, who were frightened by Thompson. They didn’t like the fact that Georgetown was all black and they played rough-and-tumble basketball. There were a lot of black people out there going, “Yeah, that’s my guy, that’s my team, that’s my school.”
Leonsis: The brand started to stand for: “Strong. Proud. I have a very strong point of view and I’m really true to myself and authentic.” That has kind of stayed with it and yeah, during the height it was a transcendent brand. It was like a preppy brand. It was an inner-city brand. People who had nothing to do with the university were wearing it, because it had this cool swagger about it, and all that came from the basketball team.
Nnamdi: I made a trip to the Caribbean and I saw people in Barbados wearing Georgetown T-shirts.
Chuck D: I was very militant when I was in college, there’s no surprise. And anything black that was going to be on TV, I was, like, screaming for.
Graham: Everybody worried about what we did. It seemed like we were the Raiders, you know, the bad guys. It was something different. Something extraordinary.
Stylistically, the Hoyas were trendsetters. It all started when Ewing, who had a cold and wanted to stay warm in the frigid Cap Centre, began wearing a heather gray T-Shirt under his jersey.
Hawkins: Now everybody in the world wears sleeves, undergarments and the whole nine. I think we were ahead of our time with that.
Green: It was a gray shirt if we were home and a blue shirt if we were on the road. … Patrick was always cold. [He’d say] “I’m cold. I’m cold.”
Pomerantz: We’re kind of laughing looking at him, thinking, “He looks like a wrestler.”
Pinckney: I don’t know what the terms of their Nike agreement was but Fred Brown was a high school teammate of mine. He would come home with these gray and blue Nike shoes. And they had “HOYAS” on the back. I never forgot those things. I remember [saying] like, “You’ve got to get me a pair of those things.” And he’s like, “Uh, I can’t get you a pair, sorry. Those are only for Hoya guys.” And I was like, “Come on, get me a pair.”
Gene Smith: I just remember the Starter jackets being on fire. The Georgetown Starter jackets.
David Beckerman, founder, Starter: The inner city is a catalyst, a driver, for fashion. Very clearly. It drives fashion. At the time, Georgetown, its makeup was part of the catalyst. They had a cultural impact on D.C. It was a silver jacket. African Americans were on the team, kids looked at the African Americans on Georgetown as a positive beacon.
Chuck D: The Georgetown jackets were almost officially our gear. As a matter of fact, I used to make up imaginary hip-hop groups. And there was a group called “Georgetown Gangsters.” And they were a bunch of cats that wore Georgetown jackets. That group never came to be.
Pinckney: I look at Duke. Their success is incredible. They have unprecedented success. Coach K is a ridiculous coach. But I don’t see any tough dudes wearing Duke jerseys. There’s a certain faction of people that look at Duke like, “Ah, that’s kind of like a fluffy team.” They’re America’s team, but they’re kind of like a fluffy kind of team. If you wanted to be a tough, tough guy, you wore a Georgetown jacket. That was your thing. Some guys would give their Georgetown jacket to their girl. Everybody had those jackets. It was unreal.
THE GLORY YEARS
After Southern Methodist University gave them a scare in the opening round, the Hoyas rolled through the 1984 NCAA tournament. In the Final Four, held that year in Seattle, they beat two vaunted squads, University of Kentucky, then University of Houston, to win the championship. Ewing won the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player award, but the victory over the Akeem Olajuwon-led Cougars belonged to Williams (19 points), David Wingate (16 points), and Graham (14 points), the last of whom sported a shaved head and was, as Feinstein endearingly called him, “a classic villain.” A few weeks earlier, Graham had thrown a punch at Syracuse’s Andre Hawkins. Later that year, Thompson kicked him off the team for academic reasons. But in early April, he appeared—mid-dunk—on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Courtesy of Georgetown University
Graham: A lot of people ask me about that. As a matter of fact, there’s one guy up in New Jersey sent me close to like, 3,000 of them to sign for him. I guess he was trying to auction them. I don’t have a copy for myself, though.
Chuck D: He was a bald head in the middle of everybody wearing the jheri curls, the afros, the shags. That was a fuckin’ statement. It reminded me of the dude in Cooley High.
Graham: I always wore it like that.
Chuck D: I felt the fuck out of that.
Graham: Halftime during the [title] game, coach really got on me. He was like, “I brought you here to help Patrick. You’re gonna let Patrick get beat up,” and this that and the other. And it sort of fired me up. And I just went out there and went wild.
Gene Smith: When we won the national championship, the first thing, the very first thing [Thompson] did was talk about the players that came before us.
Floyd: I went to that game in Seattle. I felt great for coach Thompson, for Fred [Brown], for the whole program. All the players will tell you that. It was like a family.
Broadnax: I’m definitely appreciative of a national championship, but I kind of felt at the time, [in] that one moment, that, “Hey, man, wow, is this it?”
Ralph Dalton, forward, 1982–86: You’ve just made this big run, you come back to campus to celebrate, you’re in the Cherry Blossom parade, President Reagan greets you in the Rose Garden, the mayor gives you the key to the city, but you think: “This is coming to an end pretty soon.”
A year later, in Lexington, Ky., eighth-seeded Villanova pulled off the most celebrated upset in the history of college basketball, beating the Hoyas, 66-64, in the NCAA title game. The Wildcats played a nearly perfect game, making 22 of their 28 field goal attempts, including nine of 10 in the second half.
Gene Smith: Darth Vader loses.
Williams: That’s still a sore [spot]. It never goes away. I can’t watch the game.
Pinckney: They played a good game. We just happened to get them. It’s very rare that you’re able to play against a team like that, where they’re on their game and get them.
Ewing, to Sports Illustrated, in 2004: We played fine. They shot the heck out of the ball.
Graham: I just wish I would’ve stayed one more year … I know we would’ve won it. I’ve heard from Ed Pinckney, “If Mike was there, they would’ve won it.” Then I could’ve went on my merry way.
Riley: I was in my room the next morning—and I always will remember this—I had gotten dressed and the bus wasn’t leaving until 10 o’clock. And there was a knock on my door. I was just sitting in the room. And I went to the door. I thought it was the manager wanting to know if I wanted him to take my bag down or something. And it was coach Thompson. I let him in the room, he came in the room, and he sat down, and he just said, “We played a good game.” And I don’t know if he had watched the film or not. He asked me if I was all right, and I said, “Yeah,” and I asked him if he was all right, and he said, “I’ll be all right.” We probably talked about a few more things. I’m not sure, because I know he was in the room for a little bit. I remember when he left, he said, “It’s a hell of a business, isn’t it boy?” And I said, “Yeah, it certainly is.”
The Hoyas didn’t make the Final Four again until Thompson III led them there in 2007. By then, his father had been retired for eight years. Both Thompsons have sent numerous protégés to the pros, including the now-retired Floyd, Ewing, and Williams, and current players like Roy Hibbert, Jeff Green, Greg Monroe, and DaJuan Summers. On the eve of the dissolution of the since-expanded Big East, it’s clear that Georgetown is still a cultural touchstone.
Leonsis: Georgetown is a small, liberal arts Catholic university and it shouldn’t have, by normal right, the kind of reputation that it does. And a lot of it is because the interconnection of its academics, its endowment and research dollars, and the men’s basketball team. Those all came together.
Todd Boyd, professor of race and pop culture, University of Southern California: Thompson and his team, they were ahead of their time. The [University of Michigan’s] Fab Five would get to be very famous 10 years later but in some ways there is no Fab Five without Georgetown. There is no UNLV with Larry Johnson.
Williams: Before the Fab Five, we had that mystique about us.
Boyd: Georgetown is the beginning of the urban cultural shift in basketball. It’s really that simple.
Broadnax: I still walk around now, people say, “I remember y’all Georgetown teams.” And these people are in Georgia. These people grew up in Florida. These people grew up in Alabama.
DaJuan Summers, guard, 2006–09: I just talked to a guy in the Portland, Maine, area who was a big Georgetown fan, and he was talking to me about breaking up the Big East.
Thompson Jr: Syracuse is the most disappointing [Big East rivalry to lose] to me personally, based on the fact that we have had spirited competition. Both of us have had a reasonable amount of success. They were one of the schools that rolled the dice and got in the conference with us in the beginning.
Greg Monroe, center, 2008–10: It is very disappointing. The competition that I played against night in, night out, was unbelievable. It was definitely something I was proud to be a part of.
Miller: I’m 44 years old, and I can remember like it was two weeks ago how it felt playing Georgetown. I mean, it was different, is how I would describe it. And I mean that in the most complimentary way I can say it. The intensity that they played with, the seriousness that they played with, how hard they played on defense, John Thompson being over there on the sideline. The word presence can’t quite describe how you felt playing against his team.
Floyd: When I played my first game against the Lakers, I just remember Jamaal Wilkes pulling me to the side. And here’s a guy who’d been in the league that I watched on TV, a lot, pulled me to the side, and just started talking about Georgetown and what it meant and how many people followed us during that run in ’82. It was just magnificent.