With seats in Section 118 of the Verizon Center, the Georgetown Stonewalls have been a highly active alumni support group for the Georgetown basketball program.
The Stonewalls have displayed various tifo (soccer-style banners, for those who aren’t familiar) at Hoya games, whether it’s to pay homage to the seven basketball schools that will assume the Big East name on July 1 or let a departing conference member (before the split, of course) know how they feel about their decision.
With Saturday’s regular season finale against rival Syracuse also being the final meeting between the two programs as conference rivals (barring a meeting in next week’s Big East tournament), the Stonewalls are planning a special tifo to mark the occasion.
According to a release from the Stonewalls, the tifo measures 52 feet by 25 feet and will feature both Jack the Bulldog and Otto the Orange. This will be the fifth tifo the Stonewalls have created this season.
Featuring the two schools’ mascots, Jack the Bulldog and Otto the Orange, the tifo’s message echoes Georgetown coach John Thompson III’s sentiments about the rivalry and Saturday’s game, “Without a doubt, it’ll be emotional… As much as we both plan on continuing to play, it’s going to be different. What has made these games so special, this rivalry so special — and then, in turn, made this league so special — is the Georgetown-Syracuse games.”
In total the Stonewalls plan to display some 15 flags at the game, with one honoring sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., who is the favorite for Big East Player of the Year and also one of the candidates for national Player of the Year honors.
With the three-plus decades of memories that the Big East and these two storied rivals have given college basketball, it will be interesting to see what the Stonewalls produce during Saturday’s game.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.
On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.
One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.
As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).
And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.
While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.
And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.
St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.
Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.
St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.
The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?