The most prolific scorer in Georgetown basketball history, Eric (Sleepy) Floyd stands among the greatest players in school history. Blessed with an outside shot few could match, his shooting obscured other elements of the game that truly set him apart among the those that played alongside him from 1978 through 1982.
The 6-3 Floyd was, above all things, a natural athlete. The Georgetown media guide noted that, as a high schooler, he won the high jump at a track meet having never particiapted in the event before. When he came to Georgetown, his time in the mile was the fastest ever recorded in pre-season drills. Such athleticism contributed heavily to Floyd's all around efforts in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and even blocks.
A native of Gastonia, NC, Floyd was not heavily recruited by ACC schools, which had set their sights across town at a junior forward named James Worthy. It would not take long for an ACC school to learn the error: in only his second collegiate game, "Sleepy" dropped 28 on Maryland in the Hoyas' 68-65 win. The game earned Floyd a place in the starting lineup, the first of 128 consecutive starts for the 6-3 guard.
For his freshman year, Floyd scored in double figures 26 times. In a lineup that included two All-Americans in John Duren and Craig Shelton, Floyd led the team in scoring with a record freshman total of 480 points, but also finished second in steals, third in assists, and fourth in rebounds. His 14 rebounds versus Holy Cross set a record for a Georgetown guard that only Perry McDonald has matched since. He was especially effective at the free throw line, averaging 81.3% and going 15 for 15 down the stretch late in the season.
Floyd became an even more consistent shooter in his sophomore year, the era of the "Heart Attack Hoyas". A master at the 16 to 20 foot shot, Floyd shot nearly 56 percent as a sophomore and again led the team in scoring with an 18.7 point average, scoring 20 or more points in 13 of the last 14 games of the season and 19 overall, while becoming the first (and only) Georgetown guard ever to lead the team in blocked shots.
The 1979-80 Hoyas rode a 15 game win streak to the brink of the Final Four, with Sleepy leading the way. Following a 16 point effort in a blowout over now-defunct U.S. International University, Floyd stepped up the scoring down the stretch: 23 points against American, 24 versus Boston College, and 30 against Wagner. Held to just eight in a low scoring game at Syracuse's Manley Field House, it was Floyd's two free throws at the end which sealed the upset win over #3 Syracuse, ending the 57 game Manley win streak.
Floyd stepped up the shooting soon thereafter: 22 against Detroit, 30 on GW, 21 against Holy Cross. Entering the Big East tournament, he scored 22 against Seton Hall, 20 versus St. John's, and 21 in the inaugural conference championship versus Syracuse. In three NCAA games that year, Floyd combined for 58 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line for 70 points, including a career high 31 against Iowa. Named as the MVP of the NCAA Eastern regionals, Floyd became the first Georgetown sophomore to reach 1,000 points in a career in less that two seasons.
In the interregnum between the Duren-Shelton and Ewing eras, Floyd was still the king. He opened with 52 points in the 1980 Great Alaska Shootout, then turned in an amazing 11 for 11 from the field effort in the home opener versus St. Leo. Save for a two game slump which saw him shoot 7 for 29 in a two point loss to Penn and 7 for 19 in a eight point loss to St. John's, Floyd's numbers were strong almost all season. Topping 50 percent from the field for a second straight season, Sleepy averaged 19 points per game and set a new scoring record with 607 points. Between points and assists,the 1982
press guide noted that Sleepy accounted for over 35% of the team's entire scoring output in 1980-81, part of a season which earned Floyd All-Big East and second team All-America honors. By the second half of the NCAA game against James Madison, his 24th game that season leading the team in scoring, Floyd passed Derrick Jackson as the school's all time leading scorer. Ands there was still one more year to go.
With three talented freshmen and a pair of rising sophomores in the rotation, Eric Floyd had become the elder statesman of sorts for the 1981-82 Hoyas. Despite an uncharacteristic slow start to begin the season, Floyd set sights on a new and remarkable record: leading his team four straight seasons in scoring. He scored a combined 41 in games with American and George Washington, and 27 against UNLV. In a slowdown game versus Columbia, Georgetown was held to 38 points, but Floyd picked up 14 of them. In Big East play, Floyd was one of the most feared scorers in the league, leading the team in
scoring in nine of the first 11 Big East games and 11 overall. He scored a season high 29 against Villanova, 20 and 27 in two games against Syracuse, and 16 in the Hoyas upset of #4 Missouri. He was named a consensus All-Big East and All-America selection.
Floyd's shooting numbers began to ebb as Patrick Ewing picked up the scoring load later in the season, but Floyd averaged 16.3 points in the 1982 Big East tournament and matched it again in three NCAA regional games, including 22 in the regional final versus Oregon State. His combined 31 points against Louisville and North Carolina was the high scorer across both games, but as his last ditch heave at game's end fell a few feet short in the NCAA final, the look of disappointment from the consensus All-America guard could be seen across the Superdome. In a strange bit of irony, Floyd's high
school team won the state championship by a single point over the crosstown team led by James Worthy. Five years later, the score was again one point, and Worthy held the upper hand.
Following the epic game, the Washington Post's Ken Denlinger wrote that: "When Hoyas players, officials, fans, had time to consider all that had happened, after Thompson had taken Brown by the shoulders and talked with him for several seconds, there began a chant: 'We are...Georgetown. We are...Georgetown!' They'll be back." But Eric Floyd was gone for good.
Sleepy ended his Georgetown career with four consecutive scoring titles, and following graduation in 1982 was a first round draft pick of the New Jersey Nets, Floyd's rookie year was anything but notable, averaging 5.3 points a game. Traded in mid-year to the Golden State Warriors for Micheal Ray Richardson, Floyd's NBA career took off with the Warriors. He averaged 20 or more points in six of his seven seasons there, with the "off" year being an average of only 19.6.
On May 10, 1987 Floyd made NBA history in one of the greatest single playoff performances ever seen. Facing the heavily favored Los Angeles Lakers, the Warriors were down 3 games to none and trailing entering the fourth quarter. Floyd scored 29 points in the fourth quarter and 51 for the game as the Warriors won their only game of the series, 129-121. The 39 points in a half remain an NBA playoff record. Floyd went on to a six year run with the Houston Rockets before retiring in 1995.
If Allen Iverson had stayed at Georgetown for four years, he would have likely broken Eric Floyd's career scoring numbers, but no one else has really come close. Putting aside the sheer weight of the numbers posted (double figures in 121 of 130 games, 52 games of 20 or more points, etc.), Sleepy was one of the most dangerous outside shooters Georgetown has ever seen. A 49.6% career shooter, one can only wonder how Floyd would have done in today's game--had there been a three point shot in this era, he could have realistically approached a 2,600 point career. In his pro career, he was ranked in the top 10 in three pointers in three different seasons.
Floyd also left Georgetown as more than a scorer. An accurate free throw shooter, his 77 percent mark was actually topped during his NBA career, as he averaged 81.5% from the line. Ninth in assists at Georgetown (as an off-guard), he is ranked 43rd in NBA history in assists. Second all time in steals during his college years, he is among the NBA's top 100 in that category as well.
Above it all, Floyd was a team player and one not to call a lot of on-court attention to his significant talent. With his slender build and friendly demeanor, it didn't seem like he could take over a game, but did it time and again. Whether in the second game of his college career against Maryland his freshman year, or a decade later in the heat of the NBA playoffs, Floyd could deliver with the best of them.
At 47, Eric Floyd is the youngest basketball alumnus in the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2002.