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.