NCAA

Q&A Part 1: Georgetown's John Thompson III on Italy trip, recruits

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Q&A Part 1: Georgetown's John Thompson III on Italy trip, recruits

Part of the Georgetown men's basketball team preparation for this season's Big East play involves leaving the East Coast -- and the country altogether. On Friday, the Hoyas will embark on a 10-day trip to Italy with a quick stop in Switzerland. This isn't just about sightseeing, but getting an early jump on the 2015-16 season with four games scheduled.

CSNwashington.com recently held a Q & A with head coach John Thompson III about the trip and other aspects of the program, including recruiting and the upcoming season. Some of portions of the phone interview were shortened for space and brevity. Part I also includes Thompson's take on which of his players showed the most improvement this offseason.

CSNwashington.com: How is your Italian coming along?

John Thompson III: It will be there. I haven't started thinking about it too much (laughs). I'm excited about the trip. Obviously, there is the bonding aspect and we get to play. Being able to start practice and get to play with each other.

CSNwashington.com: You mention bonding and practice. How much of this for you is about the experience for your players and how much is about truly getting a jump-start on next season?

JTIII: I definitely have some systems, offensively and defensively, we want to take a look. It's probably mostly about seeing combinations. It's not just let's go roll the ball out and have some fun and go see the Coliseum. It's also not midseason getting ready for Big East. There are obviously some things you want to look at.

CSNwashington.com: I know better than to ask you about specific plans if you're about to play Villanova but for this trip what specific details of your plan can you provide?

JTIII: This year's team is an experienced team in that we have a lot of returning players. We also have an incoming freshman class that are going to be thrown in there. Just getting different lineups. We need to rebound better than we did last year. We need to defend the 3-point line significantly better than we did last year. So focusing on those things and turning defensive plays into more offensive opportunities.

CSNwashington.com: During your recent interview with CBS Sports, you mentioned the 2014 class (includes Isaac Copeland, L.J. Peak, Paul White and Tre Campbell) might end right with the Jeff Green group as your best class ever. You also said the new three-member class of Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson and Kaleb Johnson has chance for such heights as well. Please elaborate on those thoughts.

JTIII: Time will tell. I think this past year's class - they were asked to produce and they did. As sophomores, they're going to have more responsibility and are going to have to produce at a higher level in an environment where the opposition knows they can produce. That's what sports is all about and I think they're ready for that. Across the board, each one of them has improved this spring and summer. The biggest leap has come from Trey Mourning, who didn't play at all (six games) as a freshman. I do have high expectations for the sophomore class. As for the freshman class, I expect all of them to come in and contribute immediately. We probably have as versatile a group a we've had for quite some time. You talk about things you want to work on in Italy. We can put multiple combinations out there with people in different positions. We have people you can't pigeonhole with 'Is he a point guard? Is he a two-guard?' I think figuring out these combinations will be as much of a takeaway from this trip as anything else.

CSNwashington.com: Since you mentioned him specifically, what improvements are you noticing with Trey Mourning and does this mean he could be part of next season's rotation?

JTIII: Without a doubt he may be part of our rotation. He's 6-foot-9. I don't know the exact number, but he's probably put on 20-30 pounds over the course of a year. (Mourning was listed at 217 pounds last season). When he walked in the door (at Georgetown), his understanding, and his skill level were never in question. He needed to go through the process of getting used to facing high competition every day. The past year he's improved. He's an extremely confident young man with good reason. He added weight. He added strength. Coupled with his understanding, his feel for how to play at this level, I think he can make a jump.

CSNwashington.com: Going back to the various recruiting classes for a moment. I know you're not allowed to discuss potential recruits directly, but at this point there are no reports of any commitments for 2016. How unusual is that for you at this point in the process?

JTIII: Have we commented on the 2015 class yet?

CSNwashington.com: (Laughs). No.

JTIII: Ha, OK. I think the last couple of years we've had commitments going into the summer and this year we don't. I don't think it's a worry at this point. I feel pretty good with where we are with a couple of people we're recruiting. I think that by this time next year, our 2016 recruiting class will be what we want it to be.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Where are all the guards?

MORE HOYAS: Georgetown basketball set to face a couple of powerhouses

Georgetown notches impressive road win, Mac McClung dunks again

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Georgetown notches impressive road win, Mac McClung dunks again

The Georgetown Hoyas notched an impressive road win on Tuesday night, defeating Illinois, 88-80 as part of the fourth annual Gavitt Tipoff Games. The Hoyas (3-0) were led by freshman James Akinjo (19 points), Josh LeBlanc (14 points) and Mac McClung (12 points), while freshman Ayo Dusunmo led all players with 25 points for the Illini (1-1) in the loss.

While Georgetown is far from a finished product or even a Top 25 team, the Hoyas are must-see television.

There's a Ewing (head coach Patrick) on the sideline, a Mourning (Alonzo's son Trey) in the middle, a future pro who can stretch the floor (Jessie Govan) and the most electrifying dunker in the country (McClung).

Akinjo has all the makings of a future All Big East First Team selection, LeBlanc provides ideal length to guard multiple positions, and sophomore Jamorko Pickett is a playmaker very few are talking about right now. That just might be a great thing.

Speaking of McClung, the Gate City, Va. freshman once again put on a mixtape performance, going up-and-under for a nifty finish and finishing a transition play in reverse style.

McClung did finish 0-for-4 from beyond the arc and has now missed all 11 of his 3-point attempts this season. But the 6-1 dunk sensation does have six steals and nine assists to go along with 24 points in the first three games of his college career.

Next up for the Hoyas is a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica to take on Loyola Marymount and South Florida as part of the 2018 Jamaica Classic, which begins Friday, Nov. 16 on CBS Sports Network.

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Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

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Virginia, Virginia Tech each moved one spot in new top-25 poll but in opposite directions

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Duke changed everything about who AP Top 25 voters considered to be the nation's best team with a single dominating performance against a marquee opponent.

It also gave the Blue Devils yet another milestone under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski: a record number of appearances at No. 1.

The Blue Devils jumped from fourth to first Monday in the first regular-season poll, leapfrogging Kansas at the top after a blowout win against then-No. 2 Kentucky last week. That allowed Duke to set a record with its 135th week at No. 1, breaking a tie with UCLA for the most top rankings in poll history.

The 34-point win against the Wildcats in the Champions Classic to open the season marked the program's most lopsided win against a top-5 opponent. Duke was practically flawless behind star freshmen RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish, and that created a buzz about the team's already lofty potential being somehow even higher than anyone anticipated.

Granted, it was one game. And Duke (2-0) didn't look nearly so dazzling Sunday at home against Army. But that one performance caused a major voting shift, even with now-No. 2 Kansas earning a quality win of its own against then-No. 10 Michigan State in the first game of the Champions Classic.

Kansas was a solid preseason No. 1 by earning 37 of 65 first-place votes, followed by 19 for Kentucky and four for Duke. But Duke now has 48 first-place votes, claiming the top spot for all 19 voters who had Kentucky as preseason No. 1 while also causing 23 voters to switch from Kansas in the preseason Duke this week.

Duke also prompted switches from the lone voters who had Gonzaga and Villanova at No. 1 in the preseason.

The hype probably won't slow anytime soon, either. The Blue Devils have everyone's attention.

"Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Army win. "And when something good happens and you have the start of the season ... there's a lot of noise. And for us, it's not always good noise, but in this case, it was exceptional noise. Exceptional noise.

"When you have four freshmen and we don't have veterans, you have to be more mature about listening to that."

COMPLETE MEN'S BASKETBALL TOP-25 RANKINGS WEEK 2

1. Duke 2-0 (48 votes, No. 4 last week)

2. Kansas 1-0 (14 votes, No. 1 last week)

3. Gonzaga 2-0 (No. 3 last week)

4. Virginia 2-0 (2 votes, No. 5 last week)

5. Tennessee 2-0 (1 vote, No. 6 last week)

6. Nevada 2-0 (No. 7 last week)

7. North Carolina 2-0 (No. 8 last week)

8. Villanova 2-0 (No. 9 last week)

9. Auburn 2-0 (No. 11 last week)

10. Kentucky 1-1 (No. 2 last week)

11. Michigan State (No. 10 last week)

12. Kansas State 1-0 (No. 12 last week)

13. Oregon 2-0 (No. 14 last week)

14. Florida State 2-0 (No. 17 last week)

15. Syracuse 2-0 (No. 16 last week)

16. Virginia Tech 1-0 (No. 15 last week)

17. Mississippi State 2-0 (No. 18 last week)

18. Michigan 2-0 (No. 19 last week)

19. Clemson 2-0 (No. 22 last week)

20. UCLA 2-0 (No. 21 last week)

21. TCU 2-0 (No. 20 last week)

22. LSU 2-0 (No. 23 last week)

23. Purdue 2-0 (No. 24 last week)

24. Marquette 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

25. Buffalo 2-0 (Not ranked last week)

AT THE TOP

Gonzaga stayed at No. 3, followed by Virginia and Tennessee each climbing a spot to round out the top 5. Nevada, North Carolina, reigning national champion Villanova and Auburn were next, while Kentucky slid eight spots to No. 10.

TOP RISERS

There weren't any dramatic climbs beyond the Duke-Kansas change at the top. In all, 16 teams moved up this week poll, with No. 14 Florida State and No. 19 Clemson matching Duke's three-spot jump for the biggest of the week.

Twelve of the gains were merely one spot.

LONGEST SLIDES

Kentucky's fall was the biggest for any team that stayed in the poll. The others were all modest, with four teams -- Kansas, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 16 Virginia Tech and No. 21 TCU -- falling one spot each.

NEWCOMERS

There were two new teams in the poll with No. 24 Marquette and No. 25 Buffalo.

It's the first appearance for Marquette in nearly five years since last appearing at No. 25 in November 2013.

As for Buffalo, it's the first AP Top 25 appearance in program history. It comes after the Bulls got 43 points and 14 rebounds from CJ Massinburg to beat then-No. 13 West Virginia on the road -- another marquee upset for a team that beat Arizona and eventual No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Deandre Ayton in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament.

SLIDING OUT

The Mountaineers slid all the way out after losing to the Bulls, which marked their first loss in a home opener since November 2003. Washington fell out from No. 25 after a loss to Auburn.

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