Georgetown Hoyas: 10 Most Disappointing Recruits of the Post-John Thompson Era
Back in the days when John Thompson roamed the Georgetown sideline, the Hoyas were a recruiting machine. In Thompson’s 26.5 seasons as head coach, the Hoyas successfully recruited such superstars as Patrick Ewing, Alonzo Mourning, Allen Iverson, Reggie Williams and Othella Harrington.
Since Thompson’s departure, midway through the 1998-1999 season, the Hoyas’ recruiting has been much spottier and, though some great players have emerged, there have been no transcendent stars the likes of Ewing or Iverson.
A large part of this is due to the lack of big-name recruits the coaching staff has been able to attract; two of the best Hoyas of recent years, Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert, were both ranked outside of the Top 100 in their recruiting class.
But perhaps the most significant factor has been the number of highly touted recruits who never managed to significantly contribute to the team.
Here we look at the most disappointing recruits of the post-John Thompson era.
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Cornelio Guibunda, a 6’9” shot blocker from Mozambique, was the No. 16 high school center in the country. He came to Georgetown in the same recruiting class as Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert and was thought of more highly by some.
While Green and Hibbert would go on to lead the team, Guibunda appeared in a total of four games as a freshman, scoring just six points and three rebounds.
Frustrated with his lack of playing time, Guibunda transferred to crosstown American University, where he became a role player for two more seasons before leaving the team prior to his final year of eligibility to return to his native Mozambique.
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Octavius Spann was a four-star recruit out of Georgia and there were hopes that he would fill the hole at the forward position left by Mike Sweetney a few seasons earlier.
In two seasons for the Hoyas, Spann averaged 3.2 minutes per game in 22 games, scoring only 1.3 points per game and pulling in only one rebound per game. His career high of six points came against a severely overmatched Savannah State team that would go 2-28.
Spann transferred to Marshall, where he found a bit more playing time (12.6 minutes per game), but still only managed to total 2.6 points per game and 2.4 rebounds per game.
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Georgetown’s sole top recruit in 2001 was Harvey Thomas, a highly recruited high school star rated No. 20 in the nation by Rivals.com and the No. 2 small forward in the nation by Athlon Sports.
He played in 28 games in his freshman year at Georgetown, but struggled with his shooting, sinking only 38 percent of his field goals and 58 percent of his free throws. These low percentages limited him to only 5.2 points per game.
Despite showing moments of promise, Thomas transferred first to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and then to Baylor University following disagreements with head coach Craig Esherick.
In his first season at Baylor, Thomas showed great improvement, totaling 15.6 points per game, finishing second for the Bears in total points scored.
Thomas endured a great deal of personal struggles related to the death of Baylor teammate Patrick Dennehy and declared for the 2004 NBA draft, where he went undrafted.
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Demetrius Hunter is another name in the long line of top recruits in recent years who transferred out of Georgetown.
After two promising seasons, in which he grew into the Hoyas’ third-leading scorer and helped lead the team to the regional semifinal in the NCAA tournament, Hunter transferred to UNLV to be closer to his infant child.
Hunter’s career is disappointing not because of a failure to live up to his talent, but because of the unanswerable question of what he might have become had he remained a Hoya.
Hunter’s growth halted at UNLV, where his scoring fell to 7.2 points per game in his career as a Runnin’ Rebel. Despite his somewhat disappointing career at UNLV, Hunter cannot be criticized for transferring due to family responsibilities.
Still, his loss remains a disappointment to Georgetown fans.
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Along with Demetrius Hunter and Wesley Wilson, Courtland Freeman was one of the three stars of coach Craig Esherick's first recruiting class.
While Freeman's career at Georgetown was by no means a bust, he never developed into the star player many thought he could be.
In his first three full seasons, he never topped 4.1 points per game or 3.9 rebounds per game. His biggest flaw was his field-goal percentage, which dipped as low as .295 in his junior season.
Freeman improved dramatically in his senior season, after the departure of fellow big man Wesley Wilson, jumping to 8.3 points per game and a .451 field-goal percentage.
Unfortunately, his improvement was wasted in a terrible season by the Hoyas.
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Wesley Wilson got off to a shaky start at Georgetown, sitting out his freshman year due to academic problems.
In his sophomore year, he served as a backup to star center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje and was limited to 5.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
After the departure of Boumtje, Wilson had a breakout junior season on a solid Hoya team, finishing third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding.
Wilson reportedly suffered personal difficulties in his senior season, and he reverted back to the player he had been before his breakout season. He fell to eighth in scoring and saw his playing time cut by nearly 10 minutes per game, appearing in only half of the team's games.
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Unlike several of the athletes on this list whose lack of success was due in part to a poor work ethic or personal troubles, Tyler Crawford was by all accounts a leader and was named team captain.
John Thompson III inherited Crawford as part of his first recruiting class from outgoing coach Craig Esherick, a class thought to be one of the best in Georgetown history.
Though he was a regular presence on the court, appearing in 102 games in his Georgetown career, Crawford averaged only 1.5 points and 0.3 assists per game in his career.
Crawford's impact on the Georgetown record books was almost nonexistent, but he still managed to earn his spot through hard work and leadership.
Sead Dizdarevic has led delegations for the U.S. State Department to his home country of Montenegro to teach basketball to children and is one of the best ambassadors of the game to come from Georgetown.
Unfortunately, his accomplishments on the court do not match those off the court.
While he was not a highly-prized recruit, he was both a strong scorer and rebounder in high school. The coaching staff thought he could add depth and size to the team's core of forwards.
In 49 career games played for the Hoyas, Dizdarevic scored only 46 points and grabbed only 41 rebounds. He never topped more than 1.4 points per game in a season and by his senior year he made only a single field goal in 15 game appearances.
Josh Thornton was thought by many to be one of the best pure shooters in his 2005 recruiting class.
In his freshman year, Thornton struggled to find playing time, appearing in six games and scoring only 10 points.
At the start of his sophomore year, there was a logjam ahead of him at the guard position and a number of talented young guards were being recruited behind him.
Thornton transferred to Towson, where he had a strong sophomore campaign, scoring 13.2 points per game and shooting 47 percent from the field. His production dropped off a bit in his final two seasons, but he remained a solid player for the Towson Tigers.
His college basketball career as a whole is not a disappointment by any means, but it was a disappointment to those who initially recruited him.
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Henry Sims cannot be said to be a definitive bust just yet as he still has his senior year ahead of him.
In his first two seasons, Sims found himself crowded out by a strong group of fellow big men on the Hoyas squad and, according to his coach "enjoyed college a little too much" (via the Washington Post).
He played only 6.8 minutes per game in his sophomore season, scoring 1.4 points and grabbing 1.4 rebounds—both numbers lower than in his freshman season.
Sims showed growth in his junior season by more than doubling his minutes per game, points per game and rebounds per game, but all three numbers were still low.
Based on the high esteem granted to him upon his enrollment at Georgetown, Sims will have to improve dramatically in order to escape the label of a disappointment.