John Thompson III doesn't like letting the media go behind the scenes with his program, so the Georgetown coach found a clever way to avoid it when Fox Sports 1 cameras entered the Hoyas locker room before a game this season.
Thompson delivered a fake pregame speech while the cameras were present and a real one after they left.
The subject came up in an interview with ESPN 980 in Washington D.C. this week when the hosts asked Thompson whether he'd allow HBO's 'Hard Knocks' to document his training camp were he an NFL head coach. Thompson not surprisingly said he wouldn't want 'Hard Knocks' anywhere near his team because he'd fear that he'd speak differently with the cameras on than he would without media present.
I want to be able sometimes to talk in those tongues I learned growing up that you can’t do when the cameras are there," Thompson told the radio station.
“I maybe shouldn’t say this, but I’m gonna say it. I’m miked for pre-game talk. So I tell the team, ‘Look fellas, the cameras are coming in.’ I said, ‘I’m gonna make up something to say, all right? We’re gonna sit here, let them stay with us for about five minutes, then we’re gonna kick ‘em out, then we’re gonna have our real talk. Don’t start laughing.’
“So the people from Fox come in, and I’m going through my spiel. And we write a speech for this. I’m sitting there going through my spiel, and the team was just looking at me, snickering. At one point, I had to turn my back to the camera, because I was getting ready to break out laughing."
Thompson probably isn't the only coach to ever deliver a fake speech with the cameras rolling and a real one after the fact, but it's a safe bet it doesn't happen often.
First of all, the Georgetown program is notoriously stingy with media access to its players and has been since the days of Thompson's father. Secondly, most coaches aren't nearly as cautious about letting reporters or TV cameras catch a glimpse of their practices or locker room speeches so long as it doesn't result in pieces of their game plan leaking out before tip-off.
Two years ago, Long Beach State coach Dan Monson let me be a fly on the wall for their preparation for a home game against North Carolina — everything from practices, to film sessions, to pregame and postgame locker room speeches. Not every coach is as open with access as Monson is, but numerous other reporters have done similar behind-the-scenes style pieces.
Obviously that sort of thing won't happen at Georgetown — and if Thompson thinks restricting media access makes his program stronger, that's certainly his right. What I hope the Hoyas do release, however, is video of the fake speech. It would be hilarious to watch the Georgetown players and staff try to keep a straight face now that we know it's not legit.
(Thanks, College Basketball Talk)
For more information about Georgetown, visit HoyaReport.com.
- - - - - - -
- Sports & Recreation
- John Thompson III