With the number of days dwindling until college basketball starts, I’ve predicted the following Big East standings so far:
8: St. John's
With the team I predict to finish 6th, I go to our nation’s capital with the Georgetown Hoyas.
2015 – 2016 season
Not a lot went right for the Georgetown Hoyas last season. While most of basketball caught up with the “pace and space” method of playing basketball, Georgetown tried, but couldn’t successfully transition. A big misconception is that Georgetown runs the Princeton offense, but there was not a lot of Princeton offense ran last year as players like D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and LJ Peak had a lot of isolation plays, but they still ran a lot of Princeton principles, mostly because they either don’t have the guys to play a more traditional offense, or they insisted on playing guys out of position, like Issac Copeland at the 3, and also had no true options at PG, as DSR is definitely more of a scoring 1. That, along with their resistance to the new freedom of movement rules, their poor rebounding, high turnovers and low 3 point percentage, led them to their first losing season since the 2003-2004 season, Craig Esherick’s last season.
Who left from last year?
Georgetown only lost one main component from last year’s team, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, a guy who seemed like he was a freshman when Allen Iverson was there. DSR had another great campaign as a senior averaging 16 points and 4.5 assists and while he led the team in turnovers, he had the lowest turnover rate on the team. His 3 point shooting left a little to be desired as he only shot 33%, but the rest of his numbers were strong.
The only other players to leave from last year’s team were walk-on Riyan Williams, who actually played OK in his limited minutes, but he transferred to a D-II school, and Paul White, a highly touted forward from Chicago who had some injuries and just never could get in the groove as a Hoya. He transferred to Oregon.
Who is new?
While only one freshman, Georgetown has a lot of new faces on this team, including a JUCO, a 5th year transfer, one freshman, and one player returning from injury. You can tell what their weaknesses were by looking these upcoming players. The freshman is Jagan Mosely, a 6 ft 3 guard from legendary St. Anthony’s HS. It’s not expected that he’ll play a ton, but could receive some defensive and ball handling minutes early on, as that’s what he’s known for. The JUCO player is Jonathan Mulmore, a 6 ft 4 PG who is very quick and averaged 26 a game and is long for his size. The 5th year transfer is Rodney Pryor, a 6 ft 5 guard from Robert Morris, who averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds for a pretty bad Robert Morris team, but the year before, Robert Morris made the tournament and he averaged 15.6 and almost 5 rebounds a game. A big thing for Rodney is 3 point shooting, as he shot 43% as a junior, but only 29% as a senior. If he can shoot even the average of those two, he’ll have a major impact for the Hoyas. The final player is Akoy Agau, a big man transfer from Louisville. He tore his ACL last year and didn’t play, but is expected to play some minutes at the 5 this year.
Georgetown has 8 returning players coming back, most notably is Issac Copeland and LJ Peak. Copeland is best suited as a stretch 4 at 6 ft 9, and has the ability to get around 4 men. Issac averaged 11 points and 5 rebounds a game and only shot 27% from 3. He needs to take shots closer to the hoop to be more effective. LJ Peak is the other main returning player, who averaged 12 points and 3 rebounds per game. He had some big games last year, including 31 at Villanova, but he needs to stay on the floor, as he fouled out of 8 games last year and had at least 4 fouls in 10 others, which led to him only averaging 25 minutes a game. He needs to stay on the floor. Their best pro prospect might be Jessie Govan, a 6 ft 10 sophomore center who can do it all. While he only averaged 7 points and 4 rebounds in only 17 minutes a game, he played very well in the games that Bradley Hayes missed due to injury, including a 27 point, 7 rebound game against Seton Hall. He can rebound, defend, and even step out and hit the 3. Similar to most Georgetown players, Govan has trouble staying on the floor as he fouled out of 4 games and had 4 fouls in 10 others. Other returning players include likely starter forward Marcus Derrickson, who averaged 7 points and 4.5 rebounds and could give Georgetown some different looks as a small ball 5, big man Bradley Hayes who gets another year of eligibility and averaged 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, and forward role players Reggie Cameron, Trey Mounring and Kaleb Johnson and back-up PG Tre Campbell.
Big OOC games
Like every year, Georgetown plays a tough OOC schedule. They will play Maryland in the Gavitt Games, LaSalle down in Miami, @ Syracuse, home vs. UConn and participate in the Maui Invitational, which features Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconcin, Oklahoma St, UConn & North Carolina. Their remaining schedule, though, is cupcake city as they play USC Upstate, Arkansas St, Howard, Coppin St, Elon, and UNC Greensboro.
PG – Jonathan Mulmore (JR - 6 ft 4)
SG – Rodney Prior (SR – 6 ft 5)
WG – LJ Peak (JR – 6 ft 5)
PF – Issac Copeland (JR - 6 ft 8)
C – Jessie Govan (SO - 6 ft 10)
Remaining rotation (in anticipated order)
PF – Marcus Derrickson (SO – 6 ft 7)
C – Bradley Hayes (SR – 7 ft 0)
PG – Tre Campbell (JR – 6 ft 2)
SF – Kaleb Johnson (SO - 6 ft 6)
PF – Akoy Agau (JR – 6 ft 8)
SG – Jagan Mosely (FR – 6 ft 3)
PF – Trey Mourning (JR - 6 ft 9)
SF – Reggie Cameron (SR – 6 ft 7)
Some may think that head coach John Thompson III is on thin ice, but not so fast, one bad year and a bunch of early tournament exits does not mean you can’t coach (See Villanova as an example) but Georgetown needs to figure out what they’re doing and keep up with the times, both offensively and defensively. On offense, they need quicker ball movement better outside shooting. JTIII has already stated that he won’t be running the Princeton offense, but the public will be in wait and see mode, especially if they run sets going side to side, dribbling at teammates and they cut backdoor, or if Govan/Hayes catch the ball at the high post with player movement all around. Defensively, they need to stop fouling as they had the 11th most fouls in the country last year and had 5 players with a 40 minute foul rate above 5. If they only improve on one thing from last year, and it’s their foul rate, they should improve as a team. But with the increased ball handling, hopefully improved offense and shooting, and playing defense by moving their feet instead of reaching, this team has a chance at making the NCAA tournament.
OOC – 10-3
Big East – 9-9
Combined – 19-12