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What former Georgetown coach John Thompson III will bring to the Wizards

What former Georgetown coach John Thompson III will bring to the Wizards

On Monday morning, the Washington Wizards announced several key changes to the front office with the hope of reshaping the future of Monumental Sports and Entertainment.

Following the weekend news of Tommy Sheppard being promoted to General Manager of the Washington Wizards, Ted Leonsis, the Chairman and CEO of MSE announced the hiring of former Cleveland Browns executive Sashi Brown, former Philadelphia 76ers medical professional Daniel Medina and former Georgetown head coach John Thompson III. Brown will serve as the senior vice president of a new "Monumental Basketball" collective. The new vertical will include the Capital City Go-Go, Washington Mystics and Wizards District Gaming.

While the hiring of a former football executive will get people talking, the more notable hire from a local perspective is Thompson III, who spent 13 seasons at Georgetown, amassing a record of 278-251 including eight trips to the NCAA Tournament and a trip to the Final Four. Thompson III was let go by the Hoyas at the end of the 2016-17 season following back-to-back losing seasons and a string of early exits in the NCAA Tournament.

Thompson III's role with the Wizards will be to lead the new athlete development and engagement department. Thompson III's department will focus on "maximizing player potential both on and off the court for all Monumental Basketball athletes," the team announced in an official statement. "Employing a holistic development approach, the department will focus on financial literacy, post-playing career opportunities and the overall empowerment and development of athletes.

While Thompson III's tenure at Georgetown ended on a sour note, with consecutive losing seasons and failing to reach the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since advancing to the 2007 Final Four, the 2013 Big East Coach of the Year and son of legendary college coach John Thompson Jr., has always been lauded as his skills as an educator and developer of young men. 

Having the elder Thompson, along with former Princeton head coach Peter Carril, as a life-long advisors, Thompson III has as rich a basketball pedigree as one could have. He had a front-row seat to where basketball came from and helped guide it to where it's headed.

John Thompson III, The Recruiter

Thompson III was a strong recruiter during the height of his success at Georgetown, consistently hauling in top 25 classes despite the challenging admissions standards the university holds. The Hoyas landed top 10 recruiting classes in 2008 and 2010 and Thompson III landed commitments from McDonald's All-Americans on four different occasions,

He was also responsible for the Hoya's improvement in graduation rate among Division I basketball players, which was at 59 percent from 1992 to 1996 and 47 percent for the freshman class that entered in 1996 and graduated in 1999.

By 2016, the Hoyas' basketball program registered a score of 996 and ranked in the 90th percentile for multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR).

Thompson III's Coaching Tree

Thompson has also groomed several former players now embarking on coaching careers.

Kevin Broadus left Georgetown after three seasons in 2007 to take the head coaching position at Binghamton and currently serves as the head coach at Morgan State. Sydney Johnson, like Broadus, left Georgetown after three seasons in 2007 to take the head coaching position at Princeton. He spent four seasons with the Tigers before spending the next eight seasons as the head coach at Fairfield University.

David Cox, who joined the Georgetown staff following the departures of Broadus and Johnson, spent three seasons with the Hoyas before taking the associate head coaching position at Rutgers, where he would stay before leaving to take the same job at the University of Rhode Island. He was named head coach of the Rams in 2018. Mike Brennan, the current head coach at American University, spent four seasons on Thompson III's staff from 2009 until 2013, and Tavares Hardy, who spent 2013 until 2016 with the Hoyas, is the head coach at Loyola (Md.)

Thompson III and Player Development

There are former Hoya stars Othella Harrington, Jonathan Wallace, and Patrick Ewing Jr., who still work at Georgetown too. Harrington and Wallace as assistant coaches and Ewing Jr. in the Athletic Department. There are the six different stints as a coach in the USA Basketball program, most recently as an assistant during FIBA World Cup qualifying beginning in 2017. There are the twelve former players to have suited up in the NBA, eight selected in the draft and four earning contracts through free agency, and there are the seven former players currently competing professionally overseas.

Thompson III has a strong track record of aiding his players and employees in taking the next step in their career development. His pedigree and experience grooming highly coveted recruits will be called upon frequently in his new position within Monumental Basketball.

Monumental Basketball's goal is to be the standard-bearer of player development in the future, and that lines up perfectly with Thompson III's best skill set.


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Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant's documentary on PG County basketball gets release date

Kevin Durant and 35 Ventures announced Wednesday that his documentary, "Basketball County: In the Water," about the rich history of basketball stars from Prince George's County, MD will premiere on May 15 on Showtime.

The Sports Business Journal reported in mid-February that Durant was creating a documentary focusing on the prominence of basketball stars raised in PG County and was "putting the finishing touches" on the project. 

Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, serve as the executive producers of the highly-anticipated piece.

With the sports world at a standstill amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Durant's feature will give sports fans something to put on their calendar.


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Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Zion Williamson, Pelicans snap Wizards 2K sim winning streak

Entering Wednesday night, the 2K Wizards were riding a four-game winning streak. They had beat the Celtics, Suns, Bucks and Lakers over the course of two weeks and looked like they might not lose again. 

But as the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end. At the hands of Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, the virtual Wizards lost 65-57. 

Here's how the game went down and slipped through the Wizards' fingers. 

Terrible shooting

Multiple brick houses were built during the making of this sim. 

The Wizards and Pelicans couldn't buy a jumper all game, especially from beyond the three-point line. The two squads combined to shoot 2-for-31 from three, a scorching 6.5%. 

To put this in a real-life context, this would have nearly broken an NBA record for combined three-point percentage with a minimum of 30 attempts. The current NBA record is reluctantly held by the Celtics and Nets on a night in 2003 where the two teams shot a combined 2-for-32 from three. 

Bradley Beal went 0-7 from three, Brandon Ingram missed all six of his attempts and JJ Redick didn't make a triple either. Just a weird night from three-point for two teams who were both top-five in three-point percentage before the 2019-20 season was suspended. 

Zion dunks his way to a win

The thing about having Williamson on your team is that, in games like this where nobody can hit a jumper, the Pelicans' best player didn't have to make much of an adjustment. 

Williamson does most of his damage in the paint, whether he's putting his armpits in the rim on a duck, bullying defenders down low and finishing layups through them or wreaking havoc on the offensive glass. 

So in a game where the only real source of offense came in the paint, Zion was right at home. He finished with 26 points, six rebounds and three blocks, shot 13-for-17 from the floor and tallied seven dunks in the game. 

The Wizards will get a chance at revenge before the season is out, but the No. 1 overall pick got the best of them this time. 

Parting thoughts

Beal got his shot blocked three times in this game alone, continuing an interesting trend we've seen through a few of these simulations. Beal had his shot blocked 52 times during the regular season, which puts him at 44th most in the league. The 2K sims have been fairly accurate to this point, but it appears Beal is getting his shot sent back a bit too much. 

Rui Hachimura had another good game in the 2K sim and continues to prove how valuable his skill and mobility at his size can be in such a setting. The rookie forward finished with 15 points in 22 minutes and went 6-for-9 from the floor. 

Davis Bertans didn't attempt a three in 13 minutes of playing time. During the regular season, Bertans averaged one three-point attempt every three minutes, so it was definitely bizarre to see him on the floor and not launch a single shot from deep. 

Beal may have had a rough game statistically, scoring 20 points on 9-of-25 shooting, but he at least produced a few highlight dunks including one on Williamson. 

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