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JTIII promises more season tickets
John Thompson III strolled into Gaston Hall around 7 p.m. last night for a light-hearted conversation with students. The Men’s Basketball Head Coach openly talked about student season tickets, the prospects of an on-campus arena and playing District area teams.
photo by Simone Popperl
The relaxed Thompson cracked jokes and told anecdotes of growing up when “Pops” (John Thompson Jr.) ran the program. The loudest laugh occurred after a student in the pep band asked the coach if he had any favorite songs.
“I’m a big fan of Michael Jackson.” After a brief pause, the coach added, “his music.”
Before taking questions, the Thompson read a series of statistics to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Georgetown Basketball. The Hoyas have four Final Four and 23 NCAA appearances as well as one national championship.
But he was visibly uncomfortable discussing the topic of his speech: the legacy of Georgetown basketball.
Sweat quickly accumulated on the top of his round, bald head. He wiped it off with a handkerchief, something he uses on the sidelines almost as much as his father used a towel.
GU’s leader said that it was hard from him to talk about the history of Georgetown basketball because he is focused on this season.
“I’m always talking about baby steps,” he said.
“We’re evolving now. We’re amidst an evolution, sometimes confused with a revolution.”
Thompson related this evolution to the atmosphere at the Verizon Center. He said that two years ago one recruit told him that he decided he would not attend Georgetown after watching the Hoyas play against Temple, which was Coach Thompson’s first game as head coach. Georgetown lost that game 75-57.
The floor general thanked the student audience for making last season’s atmosphere at Verizon the “antithesis” of the Temple game.
“The support and energy that we have from you guys … it does matter,” he said.
In fact, the Hoyas’ coach said he did not expect the large increase in demand for tickets this season. The Athletic Department’s (AD) sales in student and general season tickets this year is the second highest in the history of Georgetown basketball.
To accommodate students who did not get season passes, Kim Frank, Director of Sports Marketing, announced that the AD would be selling more next week. Thompson mentioned that these seats would be in the upper deck.
Because the Verizon Center decides how many tickets the AD gets, selling tickets would be easier if Georgetown had its own arena, Thompson said.
The coach said that he was as not optimistic about building an on-campus arena, saying that an upgraded practice facility is more feasible.
“Would we rather have something here on campus? Hell yea,” he said.
Thompson said that the obstacles to a new home for the Hoyas go beyond fundraising to include zoning and ward approval.
“Washington D.C. may inhibit having an on-campus arena at Georgetown.”
Though Georgetown is often accused of not wanting to play local schools like Maryland, Thompson said he was open to it.
“There is nobody with the exception of Princeton that I won’t play. That is true of all the local schools.” Thompson was coach at Princeton before coming to Georgetown in 2004.
When AD officials were ready to end the event, the coach called them off. If students still had questions, he seemed willing to stay in Gaston all night.
He consistently demonstrated his commitment to winning throughout the night. This was most evident when a student asked, “What game are you most looking forward to?”
“The one in April … I’ve never coached a game in April … that’ll be nice.”