Renewed hope for Maryland-Georgetown matchup with Ed Cooley’s hire?

Maryland and Georgetown haven’t faced off in now six seasons and just four times since 2001, but could that change in the near future?

After Georgetown announced Ed Cooley, former Providence head coach, as the replacement for Pat Ewing this week, Cooley shared that he’ll explore the idea that the two DMV rivals could soon see the court together again.

“Kevin [Willard] and I will talk about it. If it’s good for the DMV area, good for the district but more importantly if it’s good for [Georgetown],” Cooley said during his introductory press conference on Wednesday. “I’m not just playing you because you’re up the street. It’s got to have a purpose for Georgetown. We’ll have a conversation, a possibility to do it but I won’t rule it out.”

Cooley’s hire, of course, drew an immediate connection to Maryland head coach Kevin Willard as the two longtime Big East coaches and close friends now reunite within the area. After Maryland was announced as an eight-seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, Willard reiterated his support for Cooley and the Friars. “We were the third team called, so it was great and at the same time you can kind of sit there and then you can kind of root for all the Big Ten teams and where they’re going,” Willard said. “I was also rooting for Providence and Ed Cooley and it was great to see them called, so I kind of turned into a fan once our name was called.”

The strength of that friendship may be tested as the two will routinely go head-to-head in local recruiting. Willard and Cooley now give the DMV its best chance to rebuild Maryland and Georgetown into the powers that fans remember them as, a chance for both programs to return to the AP top 25 for the first time since the late 2010s. It also means that for Maryland, a program that already restored its local recruiting prowess in year one, will face more challenges for local targets on the recruiting trail.

With the offseason now in full swing, Maryland basketball closes Wednesday with just two open scholarships as Willard and the staff will look to fill out the roster alongside the heralded incoming freshmen class.

“The three guys that are signed are just, they’re big-time players. You know, Jahnathan Lamothe from Baltimore is an all-around really good player. Defense, great passer, can play point guard, two guard. Jamie Kaiser down at IMG is a great shooter, but also just has a great feel for the game for a guy 6-7. Can really pass the basketball, he can shoot it. He’s tough. You know, has an unbelievable motor. And then DeShawn Harris-Smith at Paul VI, I mean, he’s as good a player that I’ll ever coach. Same with Jahnathan and Jamie,” Willard said earlier this season. DeShawn is, he’s a tough son of a gun. Makes everybody around him better, defense, I mean, all three of them are really, they all complement each other really well. They’ve all played with each other, they all know each other. So they’re excited. They can’t wait to get here. It’s a big-time class.”

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