To the Editor:

The editorial “A Program’s Identity Crisis” (The Hoya, A2, March 22, 2011) asked, “Would Georgetown basketball, and the university on the whole, still retain its identity if [it adopts a win–at-all-costs approach]?” No, it would not.

The success of Georgetown’s basketball program has always been measured by more than wins, losses and the number of banners and jerseys hanging in McDonough Gym. This Caliparian definition of success is no doubt appealing. And, even under such a definition, Georgetown basketball during the John Thompson III era has been successful. NCAA tournament births five of seven years, a Final Four appearance, and a half dozen NBA players evidences thus.

Still, this Caliparian definition is incomplete. The basketball program’s success is also measured by the exemplars of Jeff Green returning to campus each summer to finish his English degree; of Jonathon Wallace gaining admission to a top 14 law school; of Roy Hibbert graduating from a solid student-athlete to a model player-citizen. These are just a few examples of the student-athletes with whom I attended Georgetown.

John Thompson Jr.’s renown went beyond his championship and Final Four appearances. Just ask Alonzo Mourning or Allen Iverson. And no one can doubt that the deflated basketball in John Thompson III’s office is emphatically true to Georgetown’s tradition. Georgetown basketball remains a “source of pride and unity” because its success is as much about developing great players as it is about developing great people. So, while our offensive sets should be more flexible, our commitment to “educating the whole person” should not.

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