- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Georgetown's celebrated tradition as the premier destination for the nation's top prep big men is alive and well under coach Craig Esherick. It seemed that when John Thompson who delivered to the NBA a collection of low-block bangers like Pat Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Othella Harrington, Don Reid, Jerome Williams, Jahidi White and Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje left, the Hoyas' low-post pipeline might dry up.
But Esherick is walking the same recruiting line as his former coach and mentor, and the program is still among the nation's elite when it comes to centers and power forwards. On Monday, Esherick signed top-40 prospect Darian Townes, a 6-foot-10 power forward out of the District's Archbishop Carroll High School, for next season. Roy Hibbert, a 7-2 junior center at Bethesda's Georgetown Prep and a top-50 prospect, will be all but delivered to the Hoyas as soon as he is allowed to sign next November. Hibbert made an oral commitment to the Hoyas and is not interested in playing anywhere else.
This is center Wesley Wilson's final season, and Esherick is trying to make a smooth transition with Townes. While attending Alexandria's T.C. Williams High School in 2000-01, Townes broke the Virginia high school record for blocked shots in a season (183) set by none other than Mourning at Chesapeake Indian River High School in 1988. Townes blocked 16 shots against Chantilly High School in 2000-01. Last season, Townes averaged 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks, playing against perhaps the best high school competition in the area.
Quality big men lure other blue-chip talent. Also on Monday, the Hoyas inked point guard Matthew Causey, a top-100 player. The 5-11 Causey can play either guard position but is rated among the top-40 point guards. Last season at Berkmar High School in Liburn, Ga., Causey averaged 18 points and nine assists. In one day, Esherick filled the two most difficult positions point guard and center for at least a couple years.
Georgetown's schedule shouldn't be an issue any more. Annually criticized for having a weak non-conference slate, Esherick magically made the Hawaii-Hilo's and St. Leo's disappear. Last season, Georgetown played 11 games against teams that appeared in the Associated Press Top 25. This season, Georgetown has eight games on national television and plays 14 games against teams that made postseason tournaments last spring. The Hoyas have four colossal non-conference matchups South Carolina (Dec. 5), at Virginia (Dec. 28), at No.6 Duke (Jan. 8) and home against No.15 UCLA (Feb. 8).
The Hoyas also play five Virginia schools this season James Madison, Norfolk State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and VMI, featuring Jason Conley (29.3 ppg), the nation's leading scorer last season. Those games can create intense regional interest and may help Georgetown swing open the doors to the state's fertile recruiting grounds.
Ken Wright


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