Howard head coach Kenneth Blakeney talks to Elijah Hawkins (3) and Marcus Dockery (0) during Howard's win over UMES.
Howard head coach Kenneth Blakeney talks to Elijah Hawkins (3) and Marcus Dockery (0) during Howard's win over UMES.

The Thompson era has officially ended at Georgetown and the basketball program needs a total reboot. The Hoyas (7-25) finished as the least marketable college basketball franchise in an area where they were once the big dogs. Their brand needs a makeover and the stylist is at the District’s HBCU.

Howard’s Kenny Blakeney is the perfect fit to succeed Patrick Ewing and restore the shine to a program whose brand has grown dormant at best. Georgetown is a program that was on the cutting edge of urban culture and resonated with the masses at its peak during the late 1980s through the mid-’90s and the dawn of the Big East.

These days, however, Georgetown’s basketball program resembles the previously dilapidated brownstones on New York Avenue until the era of gentrification. 

Blakeney is the perfect blend of Ivy League intelligence and urban social savvy that plays well in the boardroom and the backroom simultaneously. He’s already light years ahead of where Ewing was when it comes to recruiting and marketing.  There has been a buzz swirling around Howard’s program since he took the reins in Burr Gymnasium while the Hoyas are now irrelevant.

The arrogance of Georgetown’s last two coaching regimes lost touch with the fertile recruiting base of the DMV.  However, Blakeney was able to build a MEAC championship around four players from this area who earned all-conference honors that stayed home to play college basketball.  More blue-chip players are taking inquiries from Blakeney to play at Howard than they were while Ewing was the coach. Playing for Georgetown is no longer “cache” for top prospects from this area.

Blakeney understands the new culture of intercollegiate athletics.  Ewing took his marching orders in media relations from Big John, which worked during the Reagan years, but doesn’t fly post-Obama.  As a basketball program, Georgetown can be aloof and condescending, which is another reason the intellectually affable Blakeney is a better fit for this generation.

Georgetown needs someone who understands how to use name, image and likeness to the school’s advantage while playing the game of recruiting via the transfer portal. Blakeney also checks that box as well.

The demographics also line up perfectly too.  There are generations of loyal Georgetown fans and supporters who will turn their back on the program if Ewing is replaced by a white coach.  There are socio-political optics that go with their next hire that can’t be overlooked. Scar tissue remains throughout the athletic department after the outside intervention of local politicos which led to the Ewing hire and the demise of his era.

Blakeney played and coached at Duke so he understands how a major college program runs. He’s street savvy and youthful enough to attract the type of players who could have them making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament within three years. 

Georgetown plays in a solid conference in a major media market with a championship pedigree, but needs a philosophical upgrade.  Blakeney represents all that and he’s already comfortable rocking the Jordan brand too.

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