ATLANTA — George Mason coach Jim Larranaga was back at the Final Four — but as an observer.
The coach who led the Patriots on their remarkable run through the Washington, D.C., Region and to last season’s national semifinals received his Final Four sports coat at the banquet and coached a college all-star team in a game at Phillips Arena on Friday night.
Larranaga, at his 30th Final Four, remembers participating as an assistant under Terry Holland at Virginia in 1981 and 1984. The coach said last night’s matchup in the middle was something that hasn’t been seen on the game’s grandest stage in quite some time.
“You would have to say they are the two most talented centers in the country,” Larranaga said. “We have not had a center like that in probably a dozen years. The last time we had two like Greg Oden and Roy Hibbert was [Georgetown’s] Patrick Ewing and [Houston’s Akeem] Olajuwon, and that was 23 years ago.”
Larranaga said there have been other great big men, such as Wake Forest’s Tim Duncan, who never reached the sports pinnacle, and that others, such as Kevin Garnett or Jermaine O’Neal, likely would have made it had they not jumped from high school straight to the NBA.
Back for more?
Georgetown would be favored to make it back to the Final Four in San Antonio next season if all its juniors return.
Big East player of the year Jeff Green and 7-foot-2 center Roy Hibbert are expected to be lottery picks if they declare for the NBA Draft. The 6-9 Green could be in the top five.
“If they stay, it is great for us,” said Patrick Ewing Jr., the 6-8 forward who likely would start next season if either Green or Hibbert leave. “If they don’t, we have to come back. I am not thinking about that right now.”
All nine Hoyas who played in last night’s game are underclassmen.
A little perspective
The Hoyas did not like the way they played yesterday, but that did not take away from their impressive season. Georgetown battled back from early season adversity — including home losses to Old Dominion and Oregon — and became a dominant team in time for the NCAA tournament.
“We had a great season, regular season Big East champions, Big East champions of the tournament,” said Green, who was the most outstanding player in the East Region last week. “We can’t hang our heads. We beat some of the top teams in the nation to make it to this point, but tonight wasn’t our night. We lost to a great team in Ohio State. We can’t hang our heads.”
DaJuan Summer, who went 1-for-10 from the field last night, echoed the sentiment.
“It was a great season,” the freshman guard said. “We achieved most of our goals.”
The spinning has stopped for Georgetown assistant Kevin Broadus, who was named coach at Binghamton (N.Y.) University last week.
Broadus, 43, grew up in the area, playing high school ball at Dunbar and Blair and played collegiately at Bowie State. He spent 15 years locally as an assistant coach, three seasons each at Bowie State, University of District of Columbia, American, George Washington and finally Georgetown.