Virus breaks out on G'town campus
The outbreak of the norovirus on Georgetown's campus shut down the Hoyas' individual and team workouts the past week but none of the basketball players have been affected so far, Georgetown coach John Thompson III said Tuesday.
The virus forced the postponement of a number of athletic events last weekend, including the football team's game at Colgate."There were 70 kids in the hospital and it started growing," Thompson III said. "It's like that 'cruise ship virus.' It's highly contagious and it's airborne." Thompson III said he's expecting the team will be allowed back in McDonough Gym, possibly this week, after the cleaning crew was brought in to sanitize the facility last weekend. Georgetown is planning on being a part of ESPNU's Midnight Madness event on Oct. 17. "We stayed out of the gym and told our guys not to come around for pickup games but we're hoping to start up again [this week]," Thompson III said. "We could have gone to the other gym on campus but if it's here it could be there also. It feels like it's everywhere. The number of new cases started to subside so hopefully it's over with." Thompson III said that no members of the staff have been affected. • JT3 said that prior to the outbreak Florida State transfer Julian Vaughn has helped provide experience in the early development of two fellow big men, highly touted freshman newcomer Greg Monroe and classmate Henry Sims. "He's bringing that maturity and understanding of the game," JT3 said of Vaughn. "He's helping them along." Vaughn is eligible right away after transferring from Florida State. He is from Virginia and due to extenuating circumstances was allowed to transfer without sitting out a year -- a point that a number of other schools are using in their bids to get immediate eligibility for players like USC's Alex Stepheson (from North Carolina) and Seton Hall's Keon Lawrence (Missouri) and Herb Pope (New Mexico State). Vaughn played in 31 games as a freshman, averaging 13.3 minutes and just 3 points and 2.3 boards a game for the Seminoles. "He's a big rugged kid that makes shots," JT3 said of the 6-foot-9, 246-pound Vaughn. • Monroe comes in with a lot of hype to be the next big-time big man out of Georgetown following a long line of NBA draft picks from the position. JT3 said the 6-11 Monroe out of Harvey, La., is further along than former Hoyas center Roy Hibbert was when he was a freshman. But don't mistake that for how Hibbert finished as a senior, or even as a junior during the Hoyas' Final Four year. "People don't remember Roy as a freshman walking in the door," JT3 said. Hibbert was a bit awkward as a freshman, still growing into his body and figuring out how to be an agile big man in an offense that demands a lot of movement from the post players. "He's more ready than Roy and has the potential in as much to have similar improvement and similar growth." JT3 said Monroe's willingness to pass the ball is a huge plus for his ability to blend into the Hoyas' hybrid Princeton offense. Once again, the Hoyas will have options with size in the 6-11 Monroe, 6-9 Vaughn, 6-10 Sims and the go-to guy on the roster in 6-8 junior forward DaJuan Summers. Summers averaged 11.1 points last season, second best on the team behind Hibbert's 13.4. But with Hibbert, Jonathan Wallace and Patrick Ewing Jr. all having departed as seniors and Vernon Macklin (Florida) and Jeremiah Rivers (Indiana) having transferred out, the onus is on Summers to be the experienced, mature, accountable and dependable star on this squad. "That's who we see it being," Thompson III said of the go-to guy. "He's put himself in position now." Still, there are others who can certainly score, and will be expected to, like returning guards Jessie Sapp (9.7 ppg), Austin Freeman (9.1 ppg) and Chris Wright (5.7), who is healthy after playing in only 16 games as a freshman due to a left foot injury. Wright is the expected point guard to replace the steady and reliable Wallace. Wright didn't play in any of the Big East regular-season games, returning for the conference tournament. "We've got different people who could be significant threats offensively," JT3 said. "We're coming together as a cohesive unit. We'll figure out how to win games." • Must say that JT3 continues to blaze his own trail at Georgetown in scheduling. The Hoyas once again will take on a challenging slate by playing in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando (Michigan State, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Oklahoma State, Siena, Maryland and Wichita State), Nov. 27-30, hosting a return game with Memphis (Dec. 13), and traveling to Duke (Jan. 17) in a continuing series. Oh, and then there is a Big East opener that wasn't the Hoyas' choice, at Connecticut on Dec. 29. The Big East has four or five potential Final Four teams and as many as 11 of the 16 teams starting the season with legitimate hopes to make the field of 65.