Ever since John Thompson III took over as the head coach at Georgetown, a program lifted to national prominence by his father, more than a few people have taken to calling his offensive system the “Princeton offense.” JTIII played his college basketball at Princeton under the famed Pete Carril, and that fact along with some visual similarities led to the label being applied to what the Hoyas were doing offensively.
The problem with that is the label’s been used every season to describe what Georgetown’s doing offensively, much to the chagrin of the head coach. And coach Thompson doesn’t want to hear anymore talk about the Hoyas running the “Princeton offense” according to Ben Standig of CSN Washington.
“…If you look at our teams when we had Greg Monroe, we did things very, very differently. But the world has decided that every year we come out and this is what we’re doing.
“In my head, I want to get five, skilled unselfish guys on the court. In my head, I want to get guys that can play multiple positions,” continued Thompson. “I HATE the concept of, “I’m a one, you’re two, you’re a three, a four, a five.” I don’t coach like that. Now , in the course of playing, will (guard) Markel Starks , (guard) D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera have the ball in their hands bringing the ball up the court more than (frontcourt options) Josh Smith and Mikael Hopkins and Nate Lubick will?
“Absolutely, but if you just get guys who are basketball players, you don’t have to worry is Markel the one or is D’Vauntes the one, is Markel the two or is D’Vauntes the two. They both can do things that the one does and the two does. Depending on the matchups, the scouting report, each one does it.”
There tends to be a habit of simply applying a label to a system without acknowledging the differences from year to year. Georgetown’s top three players in possession percentage (and three of their top four in offensive rating, per kenpom.com) last season were perimeter players, led by Big East Player of the Year Otto Porter Jr. In the season prior it was senior center Henry Sims who led the Hoyas in possession percentage, factoring into 28.6% of Georgetown’s possessions.
With the value that Thompson places of versatility, what Georgetown does offensively this season could potentially look much different than it did last season. Starks and Smith-Rivera will factor into the equation, and now we get to see how much of an impact skilled UCLA transfer Joshua Smith can have after the NCAA cleared him to play this season.
Regardless of who’s at Thompson’s disposal, it’s clear that versatility is of far greater value to Georgetown than any particular “system.”