- The Washington Times - Friday, March 30, 2007

ATLANTA — At a level at which chemistry often trumps talent, perhaps Georgetown boasts the Final Four’s ultimate compound.

Basketball coaches often refer to their players as parts they attempt to assemble into one successful machine. Georgetown coach John Thompson III has spent all season tweaking his blue-and-gray engine. And the product he’s preparing to put on the floor in tomorrow night’s Final Four semifinal against Ohio State runs with rarely a knock.

Seven principal pieces, each with a differing personality and role, operate as one to achieve a universally embraced goal. Here’s a closer look at each.

The Dynamo


Every team needs a bona fide superstar, and the Hoyas (30-6) clearly have one in Jeff Green. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior forward from Hyattsville is the quintessential five-tool player. No other player in Atlanta can match Green’s versatility as a shoot, pass, post, dribble and defend weapon.

“There’s not another player in the nation that I’ve seen who can beat you in as many different ways as Jeff Green,” Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun said earlier this season. “And it’s one thing to have all those tools and quite another to know how and when to use them. What always amazes me about him is how rarely he forces his game.”

The final part of Calhoun’s assessment touches on perhaps Green’s greatest attribute. Green’s ego, or lack thereof, has never blurred his team-first focus. Nothing fosters team unity and respect like an unselfish star.

That said, there’s no question who will get the ball for the Hoyas in a one-possession situation. As he proved time and again by delivering last-second game-winners against Villanova, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt, Green is the Hoyas’ money player with the game in the balance. His right to that role is unquestioned among his teammates, and that certainty alone is invaluable in situations in which hesitation or conflicting egos can lead to disaster.

Arron Afflalo is UCLA’s given go-to superstar, but can Florida or Ohio State claim such a consensus first option?

The Leviathan

True centers are becoming a rarity, but Georgetown has one of the nation’s best in 7-foot-2 junior Roy Hibbert. Once a gangly project, Hibbert has matured into a back-to-the-basket beast. Interestingly, Hibbert’s background as a hard worker rather than an athletic wunderkind like Ohio State’s Greg Oden, combined with Green’s constant stream of praise for his pivot man, has allowed Georgetown’s frontcourt to blossom into a friction-free force.

“When the big fella gets going, we know he can carry us,” Green said. “We’re at our best when Roy puts the team on his shoulders, and we’re working inside-out.”

‘Buckets’

Georgetown’s unheralded hero is junior point man Jonathan Wallace. Thompson once called the one-time walk-on from Harvest, Ala., “Mini-Me” because Wallace is the equivalent of an on-court coach.

“You look at [Wallace], and he’s not the fastest person in the world. He’s not the strongest person, never will be. But he has character, he has guts and he’s a good man,” Thompson said. “He’s willed his way through so many situations and is someone who has gotten the most of his God-given ability. You win with people like Jon Wallace.”

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