WASHINGTON (AP) Tyler Adams’s return to the court lasted 15 seconds. That’s more than the Georgetown center expected after a heart ailment stopped his basketball career more than three years ago.
The senior started in his final home game Saturday, a 73-67 victory over Seton Hal.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III surprised Adams on Thursday put letting him know he would start on senior day. Adams, who Thompson said this week was recruited ”to be the next Georgetown center” hadn’t played in a game since Dec. 3, 2011.
The Hoyas won the opening tip and quickly looked inside for the 6-foot-9 big man wearing No. 10. As the Seton Hall defenders backed off, Adams caught the entry pass and rose for a dunk, giving the Hoyas a 2-0 lead. Adams then committed a foul to stop play.
With father Lonnie in attendance, he exited to a standing ovation, but then didn’t know what to do.
”It felt a little weird at first,” said the player Thompson refers to as his ”junior coach.”
”After I came out of the game I didn’t really have the intensity I usually have,” Adams continued. ”I’m used to being in a suit.
”It felt good especially with it being the last home game to get an opportunity to do warmups and see how it really feels to be a player.”
Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard recognized the importance of the moment.
”I’d heard a lot of great things about the young man and I was really glad he was getting a chance to start,” Willard said. ”Before the game I said, `Guys, … sometimes there’s a bigger picture in life,’ and I said just let him get it.”
Thompson didn’t know of Seton Hall’s plan in advance, only that he intended to give Adams his shot and a shot.
”It’s another thing for the opposition to understand how important this was to us, to him,” Thompson said in praise of Willard. ”To understand that sometimes things are more important than if the ball goes into the basket or not.”
In this case, the ball did go in. Seeing as Georgetown never trailed, Adams scored the go-ahead basket.
Georgetown was without leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, who was a late scratch with a lower body injury. Thompson said the junior guard tweaked the knee in Tuesday’s win at Butler and felt ”weak” during warmups. Thompson does not anticipate Smith-Rivera missing games during next week’s Big East Tournament.
Senior Jabril Trawick led the Hoyas with a career-high 19 points.