John Thompson III

Is there a chance that the Maryland-Georgetown rivalry could restart?


John Thompson III hopped on a podcast with ESPN’s Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg, and got asked plenty of questions about his Georgetown program, which just so happens to be the hottest team in the Big East right now.

But the more interesting topics of conversation dealt with much more difficult issues that Otto Porter’s emergence over the past month or the play of Markel Starks and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera in the back court.

Katz, to his credit, was all over JT3 about the future of some of the Hoyas’ most intense rivalries.

“It will continue. It will continue,” Thompson said of the future of the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry. “Now, is it gonna be every year? I don’t know. The unfortunate fact, when they started this process of breaking off, is now they’ve fallen into the clump of out-of-conference scheduling, and that’s a hard balance to try to fit in each and every thing. […] We don’t know who’s gonna be in your league, how many league games you’re going to play.”

That’s great news. Hopefully, the rivalry between the Orange and the Hoyas can continue well into the future. Regardless of how conference realignment decides to shape the college hoops landscape in the coming years, the historical significance of that rivalry should not be lost on people.

But that’s far from the most interesting rivalry nugget that came out of that podcast. Is there a chance that Maryland could end up playing Georgetown in basketball again?

That rivalry has nothing to do with anything that’s happened on the court. Or the soccer pitch. Or the lacrosse field. Or in any sporting event. There’s animosity that dates back decades — to the years of Lefty Driesell and John Thompson Jr. — that won’t easily be swept under the rug.

That said, both JT3 and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon told Katz that they get along — Thompson’s brother Ronny coached with Turgeon at Oregon — and that there may be a speck of a chance that the Beltway Series can get renewed (transcription via the DC Sportsbog):

“Uh, there are chances that that will happen,” Thompson said first.

“Can you expand?” Katz asked.

“No, I cannot,” Thompson said. “There are chances that that could happen.”

Katz asked for a percentage.

“Um, no idea,” Thompson said. “No idea. And we’ll see as we go forward. I’m a good friend of Turge, let me just say that. And actually Turge and my brother Ronny worked together at Oregon as assistants for Jerry Green, and so Turge and I are friends. We’ll see. That’s a tangled web, that issue.”

“Why is that so tangled, why?” Katz asked.

“I don’t know,” Thompson answered. “I’ve said enough. I’ve said enough.”

Moments later, Turgeon dialed in, and the first question concerned a series with Georgetown.

“There’s a chance,” Turgeon said. “John and I go way back. And I did work with Ronny. I’ve got a lot of respect for John, he’s doing a great job this year with his team. I like watching them play. I hope we can get it started in the future. When we first got here, John and I talked a little bit, but that’s between me and him. But we do have a relationship. I think it’d be great for the area if we could get it done. But we’ll see. We’ll see as we move forward.”

Make this happen.

We’ve had enough rivalries go up in flames thanks to realignment. Reigniting an old one would only be good for the sport.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Creighton lands 2016 combo guard

Greg McDermott
Associated Press
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Sunday evening Creighton got on the board in the Class of 2016, as 6-foor-4 combo guard Davion Mintz made his pledge to Greg McDermott’s program. Mintz made the decision on the tail end of his official visit to Creighton, picking the Bluejays over Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Tulsa and Wichita State.

News of Mintz’s commitment was first reported by Rick Lewis of the Phenom Hoop Report, with Mintz confirming the news via Twitter shortly thereafter.

Creighton has just two seniors on its current roster in guard Jams Milliken and forward Geoffrey Groselle, but that doesn’t mean they lack for experience. Among the guards on the roster who will be around when Mintz arrives on campus are redshirt juniors Maurice Watson Jr., Malik Albert, and Isaiah Zierden, and Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster will be eligible in 2016-17.

Mintz, who attends North Mecklenberg HS just outside of Charlotte, can play either on or off the basketball. Creighton’s veteran guards should help Mintz with his transition to the college game when he arrives in Omaha in 2016. Mintz played for the Charlotte Nets grassroots program this summer.

Three-star power forward commits to WVU

Bob Huggins
Associated Press
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Three days after landing one power forward in Sagaba Konate, West Virginia received a verbal commitment from another big man Sunday evening.

6-foot-11 Mountain Mission School (Gurndy, Virginia) power forward Maciej Bender became the Mountaineers’ fourth commitment in the Class of 2016 on Sunday, with the Mountain Mission program announcing the news via Twitter. Bender is a native of Poland, and in addition to Konate he joins guards Brandon Knapper and Chase Harler in West Virginia’s 2016 recruiting class.

West Virginia will lose two forwards in TyQuane Goard and Jonathan Holton at the end of the 2015-16 season, and the additions of Konate and Bender will help the Mountaineers account for those departures from a depth standpoint. Bender can score around the basket, but he’s also capable of facing up and scoring in pick-and-pop situations out beyond the three-point line.

Bender officially visited West Virginia last weekend, and he was a player the WVU coaching staff wanted to get in the fold. Other programs to offer Bender included Arizona State (teammate Jethro Tshisumpa is an ASU commit), Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss and Providence. Bender played his grassroots basketball for the West Virginia Wildcats program this summer.