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Scouting Reports 2 GEORGETOWN Alonzo Mourning awakens a new era for the Hoyas

Nov. 16, 1988
Nov. 16, 1988

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Nov. 16, 1988

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Scouting Reports 2 GEORGETOWN Alonzo Mourning awakens a new era for the Hoyas

JOHN THOMPSON WAS SPORTING A NEW watch at Georgetown's first
practice. It wasn't exactly new, Thompson, the Hoyas' coach, was
quick to point out. ''I have lots of watches,'' he said. But this one
hadn't been seen all summer, during which season Thompson wore a
double-faced timepiece with two sets of hands -- one on Washington,
D.C., time, the other on Seoul time.
The good news at Georgetown is that Thompson, who was the U.S.
Olympic coach, doesn't have to fuss about two teams anymore. He has
put behind him the bitter loss to the Soviet Union, readjusted to Big
East Standard Time and taken upon himself a brand-new burden of
expectation: that 6 ft. 10 in. freshman shot blocker Alonzo Mourning
will lift the Hoyas back to the top. And Mourning could do just that.
Asked last spring what player he would choose to build a team around,
Mourning said, ''Me.''
The rest of the frontcourt players are green but grown-up. Dikembe
Mutombo, a 6 ft. 11 in. sophomore from Zaire (he didn't play last
season while learning English) is raw; he missed five dunks in one
game in D.C.'s tough Jabbo Kenner League this summer. But his
defensive timing is already so uncanny that he was named that
league's MVP. And he so loves to run that upon hearing that the Hoyas
would be timed for a distance during the preseason, he eagerly asked
how far.
''A mile,'' Thompson told him.
''Just one mile?'' said Mutombo, disappointed. ''I run six every
day!''
By adding Mourning and Mutombo to the cloddy but solid Johnathan
Edwards, Thompson suddenly has 15 fouls to play with in the pivot.
John Turner, a physically precocious forward who scattered many
elder bodies at the Olympic trials, and Milton Bell, a scorer, are
two 6 ft. 7 in. newcomers up front. They will join Jaren Jackson, who
will again play small forward, and defensively able Anthony Allen.
Senior point guard Charles Smith, recruited as a defensive
specialist and told by Thompson he would never start, has become as
resourceful a scorer as any in college basketball. He will again lead
a backcourt manned by Bobby Winston, Dwayne Bryant and steady Mark
Tillmon. The Hoyas were so anemic up front last season that their
three top rebounders among the returnees are guards -- who are
delighted to see the new saplings. ''Last year everyone knew we were
going to take the outside shot,'' says Tillmon. ''Now we've got
plenty outside and inside.''
With Mourning, the Hoyas will take on Georgetown's early-1980s
look: a shot- blocking goalie laying back, the guards pressing on
defense, and waves of substitutes sustaining the intensity. It should
all lead to more pressure, more points and, probably, more of those
''incidents'' that marked the Ewing era. ''We'll fight,'' says
Thompson. ''Oh, I've got to choose my words carefully. We'll scrap.''
But Mourning is vastly superior offensively to the yearling Ewing,
and one has to wonder whether this team might fulfill that D.C.
slogan: Four more years.

This is an article from the Nov. 16, 1988 issue Original Layout