On Wednesday afternoon John Thompson III got the best recruiting news he has gotten in a long time when Tremont Waters picked Georgetown. The pickup of Waters was huge for the program, and could be the signal of things changing in Washington D.C.
It isn’t that Thompson hasn’t had success in his time at Georgetown, he clearly has, but he hasn’t had the success many expected, especially in the NCAA Tournament. Thompson hasn’t been to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since he brought the Hoyas to the Final Four in the 2006-07 season.
Recently things have been way down for Thompson. Since the reconfiguration of the Big East, Thompson’s Hoyas have been 27-27 in league play, and only made the NCAA Tournament once in three years.
With that some pressure has been put on him, and specifically people have been openly questioning his Princeton style of offense.
Seemingly in an era where kids at least say they want to play in a faster paced system that uses ball screens, Thompson hasn’t changed. He for the past several years has remained loyal to his Princeton roots, and in turn the recruiting has suffered.
In the 2016 class the Hoyas only got one commitment, and it was from a three-star prospect in Jagan Mosely. In fact, the Hoyas haven’t received a guard commitment in the top 100 since the 2014 class, and the last top 50 perimeter player they landed was D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, all the way back in the 2012 class.
For a school with the brand name and cache of Georgetown that kind of drought without a commitment from a guard in the top 50 is unheard of.
Given those factors, this year on the recruiting trail Thompson and his staff have been selling that they are going to be modifying, if not outright changing, the offense. They sold players on playing faster, having more freedom, and utilizing more ball screens.
Some prospects didn’t buy into the sell, but Waters did. The No. 36 overall prospect has been to Georgetown to see them practice, and he saw enough to believe that they were putting in a system that would fit him well.
Waters is a jet quick, but small, point guard who is at his best breaking players down off the dribble and getting into the lane and making plays. Also Waters is a good outside shooter who is capable of hurting teams off of ball screens if they don’t remain disciplined.
Because of his lack of size, and need for a lot of dribbles, Waters might not be the ideal point guard in a Princeton system, but he does do well in more of a free flowing system.
Now the question becomes how exactly will Thompson adapt. He now has the point guard to run a more up tempo style, and his frontcourt is very gifted with interchangeable parts that can play all over.
The personnel is there to play differently than they have in the past, they are making that sell on the recruiting trail, and this commitment signals it has legs.