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March 21, 2001|DIANE PUCIN

Kevin Braswell remembers the day. It was January, it was cold and when Braswell was told that his college basketball coach, John Thompson, was resigning, Braswell felt a chill that wasn't from winter weather.

"But then we heard Craig [Esherick] was going to get the job and we knew everything was going to be all right," Braswell said.

Braswell is a senior guard on the first Georgetown team to make it to the NCAA tournament since Esherick, a 17-year assistant, replaced Thompson in January 1999. Esherick's first two Georgetown teams went to the National Invitation Tournament.

"Yeah," Braswell said, "we heard grumblings about that but our feeling as a team has been that you had to give Coach Esherick a chance. He only had half a season in 1999 and there was a lot going on. And last year we had some injuries and guys sitting out. But this year everything came together."

Reporters were allowed into the Hoyas' practice Monday.

This is noteworthy only because Thompson used to go to such lengths to avoid reporters during the NCAA tournament that he would house Hoya teams 40 or 50 miles from a site and try to close the locker room even though NCAA rules wouldn't permit it.

"Things are a little freer that way," Braswell said. "Maybe we kid around with Coach Esherick more than Coach Thompson. But otherwise nothing much has changed. They both expect the same thing, on the court and in the classroom. It has been a great transition."

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