"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Georgetown Preview, 2020-21

Georgetown Hoyas

Head Coach: Patrick Ewing (49-46)

Three-Year NCAA Rank Average: 104.0

Three-Year kenpom Average: 87.0

2020-21 T-Rank Projection: 121

Patrick Ewing is still seeking his first NCAA bid at Georgetown

Photo from ESPN

Projected Starters: PG Jalen Harris (6'2" RS Sr), SG Jahvon Blair (6'4" Sr), SF Jamorko Pickett (6'8" Sr), PF Jamari Sibley (6'8" Fr), C Qudus Wahab (6'10" So)

This time last year, Georgetown was the trendy breakout pick in the Big East. James Akinjo, Mac McClung, and Josh LeBlanc were the building blocks Ewing needed to elevate the program while Omer Yurtseven was the perfect replacement for Jessie Govan as a proven high-major big man with the ideal mentor in Ewing. The Hoyas likely felt they were capitalizing on that potential when they started 4-1 and had a halftime tie with Duke at the Garden. Then the bottom fell out. They lost that game and a subsequent buy game to UNC-Greensboro. Akinjo & LeBlanc left the program with reserves Galen Alexander and Myron Gardner following a week later. McClung and Yurtseven rallied for three more solid non-con wins against Oklahoma State, SMU, and rival Syracuse, but once Big East play the Hoyas fell apart. They lost 7 of their first 10, then lost McClung and Yurtseven to injuries. Once the season ended, McClung transferred and Yurtseven declared for the draft, leaving the promising roster in shambles.

So what's left? Harris enters as a grad transfer who was a low-usage, low-efficiency game manager for three years at Arkansas. Blair and Pickett are the experienced statesmen of the team. Both stepped up adequately last year when the roster was decimated, but neither has demonstrated any level of star quality. Freshman Sibley is a Milwaukee native that has long-term upside but will likely struggle initially at this level. The one player that does seem to have real potential is Wahab, who excelled as a rebounder and shotblocker when Yurtseven went down while also providing efficient contributions on the offensive end. The bench is a mash-up of transfers (JUCO and mid-major) and youth. Simply, there's not a lot to offer much faith or hope.

Offensively, look for the Hoyas to try to push the pace, share the ball, and crash the glass in hopes of making up for their lack of definitive scoring options with extra opportunities. Defensively, the Hoyas focus on an inside-out approach. They aim to contest everything at the rim, control the defensive glass, and do so without fouling. That said, they had the worst defense in the league last year and in addition to the losses at the high-end quality part of the roster, they also saw Terrell Allen and Jagan Mosely graduate, taking experience with them. Expect a lot of growing pains for this group, especially as it's thoroughly unproven once you get past the starting five.

The shock of last year's team is that from an efficiency perspective, it was Ewing's best to date. The problem was a stacked Big East and an anemic roster. While the Big East won't be as good this year, the Hoyas clearly have the worst roster in the league and there are still 8-9 teams in the league that can at least make a case for being NCAA contenders. While there won't be that many (4-6 feels likely) Georgetown is going to be battling uphill every single night in terms of roster quality. Ewing has enough bodies that he will squeeze some wins out of this team, but I expect the Hoyas and not DePaul to be at the bottom of the league when all is said and done. It's sad to see what has happened to this once-proud program, but at this point, Georgetown is the doormat of the league.

Marquette Memory: Georgetown was the first opponent Marquette ever faced in the Big East Tournament back in 2006. Marquette defeated Georgetown 57-51 in the regular season and things started off swimmingly at MSG, with Marquette building an 11-point lead midway through the first half. Georgetown answered with a 13-2 run that tied the game at halftime. Throughout the game, shooting woes plagued Marquette, most notably Big East Freshman of the Year Dominic James, who went just 2/13 from the field. The second half was a back and forth affair with neither team being able to pull away until the final minute, when a pair of Brandon Bowman free throws with 0:39 to play put the Hoyas up 58-50. Marquette then ran off a furious 9-2 run that brought them within a point on Steve Novak's three with 6 seconds to play. Bowman hit another pair of free throws to stretch the lead back to three, and a Jerel McNeal desperation heave went wide, allowing Georgetown to escape with the 62-59 victory.

No comments: