Recruits Stay Committed Despite Surprise Coaching Change

Prized Recruiting Class Unfazed by Thompson’s Departure, Esherick’s Ascendance

By Josh Hsu Hoya Staff Writer

The resignation of John Thompson as the head coach of the Georgetown Hoyas came at a shocking time. It was a shock to players, fans, alumni, and most of all, the future members of the Georgetown basketball community.

The immediate question that came to the minds of many Hoya faithful was whether the much-ballyhooed recruiting class of 1999 could stay intact. Would the players change their minds now that John Thompson would no longer be coaching the Georgetown Hoyas?

In many cases, it is common for players to attend a school solely based upon the head coach. This past year, Florida was able to sign two McDonald’s All-Americans, Ted Dupay and Mike Miller, based largely on the fact that Billy Donovan was the coach.

Miller said that people want to play for Donovan because “he’s young and we can relate to him.” In the same manner that Donovan plays the role of an older brother to his players, Thompson played the role of father to his team. This is perhaps what future recruits will miss most from Thompson.

As far as the Georgetown class of 1999, the players who have already signed their letters of intent in the fall say that they will not change their minds. The five recruits who Georgetown received signatures in the fall from are Courtland Freeman, Wesley Wilson, Lee Scruggs, Demetrius Hunter, and Victor Samnick.

Courtland Freeman is considered to be the most-prized recruit by most experts. He is a 6-foot-8 forward from yrtle Beach, S.C., who has been ranked among the top 100 high school seniors by most recruiting experts since his sophomore year.

Wesley Wilson and Lee Scruggs, two 6-foot-10 post men, have also decided to keep their commitments with Georgetown. Wilson plays at Maine Central Institute, the same school that starting point guard Kevin Braswell played at last year.

Lee Scruggs will be transferring from Daytona Beach, Fla. Community College. Both Hunter and Samnick will provide help in the backcourt.

Michael Sweetney, a junior from Oxon Hill, Md., who gave Georgetown a verbal commitment earlier in the year, said that he also would not change his mind in the next two years. But he is not bound to Georgetown and can talk to other schools if he wishes.

Another aspect of recruiting that will be greatly affected by Thompson’s departure is the possible signings in the spring period. LaVell Blanchard, a 6-foot-7 forward from Ann Arbor, Mich. has Georgetown narrowed his choices down to Georgetown, Michigan and Virginia.

Also, 6-foot-6 Derek Payne, from Durham, N.C., has shown interest in Georgetown.

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