Scouting the OOC Opponents: Georgetown

by Rogabee

Last Year's Season Recap:

Last year's Georgetown Hoyas team (24-9, tied for 4th in the Big East) was a successful campaign that unfortunately was a disappointment in a few ways.  It began with a disaster before the season began, making headlines for all the wrong reasons in an international brawl against the Bayi Rockets from China.  Predicted 10th in the Big East, the fight may have brought the team together though, as the Hoyas split Kansas and Memphis in Maui before getting a solid win at Alabama all by December 1st.  The Hoyas ended #15 in the RPI and earned a #3 seed in the NCAAs, which would have had most Hoya fans probably ecstatic entering the season.

However, given the team's talent, a loss to NC State in the Round of 32 was a disappointment.  The tourney showed the inconsistency Hoya fans were used to last year, a first-game trouncing of a quality Belmont team followed by a loss to a seemingly lesser NC State team.  The NC State loss was the fourth straight year that Georgetown was bounced by a team five or more seeds lower in the NCAAs.

The Three Key Losses:

Jason Clark (guard):  A huge loss for the Hoyas, Clark will be missed.  GTown's First-Team All Big East player finished in the top 20 scoring all-time at Georgetown.

Henry Sims:  Unfortunately (for Hoya fans) in foul trouble against NC State in the 3rd Round of the NCAA Tournament, Sims was a highly underrated talent.  His passing ability for a big was among the best in the country, and Sims did a lot of other little things that didn't show in the stat sheet.  He will be missed, especially as the offense at times seemed stagnant without him on the floor.

Hollis Thompson (6-8 forward):  Would have been a potential BE first teamer before electing to forego his senior season and declare himself eligible for the NBA Draft.  He took many of the clutch shots for the Hoyas last year, and could play both inside and outside. 

The Returners:

Otto Porter (6-8 forward):  Only a freshman last year, is probably one of the best couple of players in the upcoming sophomore class returning in the Big East.  A solid contributor on the glass and with his length on defense, expect Porter to play a big role this year, particularly against the undersized Dukes.  A potential for a huge breakout season to surprise many exists here, especially now that he will be the go-to guy.  More of an athletic-type than a bulky 6-8, Porter still had deceptive strength last year.  My question isn't for the Duquesne game, but rather will Porter be able to survive a Big East season without hitting the weight room and gaining more muscle from last year's frame.

Greg Whittington and Nate Lubbock (both also 6-8 forwards) should provide the  majority of the minutes in the other frontcourt slot.

Markel Starks (6-2 guard):  Primarily an outside shooter, Starks hit 37% from three last year, good for 15th in the BE. 

Moses Ayegba (center) suffered an ACL tear before the season started and unfortunately missed last year.  Last reports from the Hoya blogs were stating that he should be ready to go this year.

Best Incoming Frosh:

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (6-3 SG):  A four-star prospect that chose the Hoyas over Louisville, Memphis, and UCLA, Smith is a top 10 SG by both Rivals and Scout.   He seems like a solid all-around scorer, both slashing and with an outside shot.  Whether he has the athleticism is scout's question.  A Youtube highlight video is available here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAeoD4J9dFc .  From the looks of it, Smith-Rivera should start from day one.

Duquesne's Keys for the Game:

1.  Stay in the game early.  With a new coach and first trip at a hostile environment, the Dukes can't get blown out early.
2.  Take advantage of the Hoyas lack of experience.  Not that the Dukes have much either, but the Dukes must create plenty of turnovers - both forced and unforced - to win at a Georgetown team like this one.
3.  Rebound the ball!  Georgetown figures to be much bigger and stronger, and the question once again becomes can the Dukes rebound the ball or will it look like Georgetown is playing volleyball above the rim like we've seen Pitt and WVU do.
4.  Stay out of foul trouble in the frontcourt.  The Hoyas are bigger and more experienced inside, and we can't afford foul trouble to go with the other deficiencies.
5.  FT shooting for the Hoyas.  Porter and Starks both shot 70% last year, Whittington 63%, Lubick 44%.  If the Dukes elect to send Georgetown to the line, GTown's returners better do a better job at the line than last year.