Georgetown logoThe Georgetown men's basketball team played its first game February 9, 1907, defeating the University of Virginia by a score of 22–11. In its first 60-some years, the program displayed only sporadic success. Until McDonough Gymnasium opened on campus for the 1950-51 season, the team moved its home court frequently, playing in McKinley Tech High School, Ryan Gymnasium, Uline Arena, and the National Guard Armory. The team recruited its first All-American, Ed Hargaden, in 1931-32. In 1942, a Hoya went pro for the first time, when three seniors, Buddy O'Grady, Al Lujack, and Don Martin played professionally upon graduation. The next year the team, led by future congressman Henry Hyde, reached new heights by going all the way to the NCAA championship game. The team's coach, Elmer Ripley, would be inducted into the basketball hall of fame 30 years later.
World War II suspended the program, however, and it was rarely successful over the next three decades, with only two postseason appearances (1952-53 and 1969-70). Top players from that period include Tom O'Keefe, the first Hoya to reach 1,000 career points in 1949-50, and future NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue who would graduate #2 in Hoya career rebounds in 1962.
The 2008-09 Hoyas will have many new faces on their roster following the graduation and subsequent move to professional basketball of Roy Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace, Patrick Ewing, Jr. and Tyler Crawford. Two contributors on the 2007-08 team, Jeremiah Rivers and Vernon Macklin, also transferred to Indiana and Florida respectively. Due to the youth of the team and an especially competitive year for the Big East Conference, the Hoyas were voted to finish 7th in the league in the Big East Coaches preseason poll.
The team will count on preseason John R. Wooden Award nominee DaJuan Summers to take a more central role in 08-09. Other significant returnees include senior Jessie Sapp and former McDonald's All-American Team members Austin Freeman and Chris Wright. New to the team will be Florida State transfer Julian Vaughn and a talented group of freshman. The most decorated of the incoming freshman is power forward/center Greg Monroe, who was the Morgan Wooten Award winner for High School Player of the Year and was a McDonald's All-American Team member. Joining him will be Parade All-American Center Henry Sims, and 2008 Washington D.C. High School Player of the Year Jason Clark.
The Hoyas currently employ their own variant of the Princeton offense, a slow, cerebral style of play that is very rare in the modern college game. The hallmark of the offense is the "backdoor" pass, where a player on the wing suddenly moves in towards the basket, receives a bounce pass from a guard on the perimeter, and (if done correctly) finds himself with no defenders between him and a layup. Coach Thompson learned the style while serving under then-Coach Pete Carril of the Princeton University Tigers. Georgetown has been lauded in the sports media for destroying the "warped stereotype" that "African American kids don't want discipline" as well as for proving that the typically brawny Georgetown team can excel by emphasizing offensive efficiency rather than defense (not that the defense is any less efficient).