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John Thompson III To Georgetown

has appointed John Thompson III as their new head coach,
which is a really
interesting choice. On the one hand, it's a dynastic succession, blah,
blah, blah. But he's quite a different guy than his dad, and quite a
different coach.

Obviously he learned a lot about defense from his father. But he went
to Princeton, where he learned the Princeton system under Pete Carrill, and then
mastered it first as an assistant, then as head coach.

We talked earlier this year about how the current Princeton team was so
different from the ones we had seen previously They still backdoor you to death,
but they were more athletic, and they have a big guy who can do wonderful hook
shots with either hand. We mean old-fashioned, swooping hooks, not the
jump hooks currently in vogue.

They were a striking team to watch, and obviously well-coached.

The elder Thompson had teams which worked their butts off on defense but
often looked uncertain on offense. Our guess is that at a major school,
with significant recruiting potential, Thompson III will feature a lot of
defensive ideas from his dad, and a vastly superior offense, which we're
guessing will incorporate a lot of the Princeton style but not all of it.
He'll have two great impulses pulling at him when he gets significant talent in,
one he's known since birth, urging pressure and speed, and the other he's grown
to admire as an adult, urging efficiency and patience. How he synthesizes
them will be estremely interesting.

On a somewhat different level, he's not nearly as abrasive as his father,
which will help him as well. His dad had a difficult life as a young man,
growing up in a still-segregated D.C. and U.S., and at times his
prickliness was understandable, and it is shared by other guys who came up in
the same world - John Cheney, among others. But there were a lot of times
he could have made his life a lot easier by not being so brusque, particularly
to the media. We're guessing that won't be an issue for his son.