Being a product of legendary pedigree and legacy can be a gift and a curse. John Thompson III became the Georgetown University basketball coach based on the fact that he possessed the same name as his mythical pops. The powers that be at Georgetown hoped that the elder Thompsons success would automatically rub off on his son, who would be able to coach, recruit and lead as effectively as his iconic father.
Thompson III became the Hoyas coach in 2004, taking the reigns of a basketball factory his dad built into a national powerhouse and one of the most influential college programs in American history back in the 1980’s. Rarely do sons take over for their fathers as coaches at Division -1 powerhouses. It has happened before in college basketball, but its a rare and fascinating situation that almost never ends well for the son.
JT III never had a shot at duplicating his dad’s impact on people, but he’s still an irremovable part of Black history.
The fact that The Thompsons are African-American and were able to share such a powerful legacy together at a predominantly white, prestigious and private university makes them pioneers and a classic American Dream story.
The younger Thompson never won a National Championship like his father and after a run to the Final Four in 2007, Thompson III has watched his overrated teams implode in the NCAA Tournament. It has been a decade since Georgetown made the Sweet 16.
Being the son of a king holds major weight, but eventually the people will want you out if you are driving the kingdom down the toilet.
The revolt seems to be in full swing and alumni are turning on Thompson. He has faced “Fire Thompson” chants of late. And on Saturday, he was getting those chants playing in New York.
The Georgetown men’s basketball team hit a historic low by losing on its home court to Depaul on Wednesday night. Its the first time that has happened since 1991.
Then on Saturday, Georgetown headed to Madison Square Garden where they were beaten by former archrival St. John’s.
The combined record of Depaul and St. John’s this year is 22-36. The Hoyas finished 15-17 last year, and are a miserable 14-15 this year with just two games left in the regular season. The last time Georgetown had consecutive losing seasons was in the 1970-1971 and 1971-1972 seasons — a year before Big John came to campus.
A quote from Blue Demon star guard Billy Garrett Jr. after the loss to Depaul says it all about how John Thompson III has lost the program: “We kind of sensed that they didnt want to play that hard.”
That’s not the first time an opponent has said something like that about Georgetown this year. Marquette’s Jajuan Johnson said his team had “watched Georgetown on film and we saw that they were lazy on defense and didn’t really want to guard.”
The end of the Thompson Era at Georgetown may be coming.