Team Preview: Georgetown Hoyas
By: Fraser Lockerbie
2011-12 Record: 24-9, 12-6 in the Big East
Coach: John Thompson III, 184-81 at Georgetown, 252-123 overall
Losses to Pitt, Marquette and Indiana don’t necessarily tarnish a record; Indiana after all is one of the top-ranked schools in the nation and Pitt and Marquette are never an easy out in the NCAA. But losing to South Florida could be a death sentence; you typically get one throwaway game a year and it’s better if they don’t come in conference play. A comeback victory over a ranked Notre Dame team only two nights later swept some of the stink under the rug, but the loss exposed some of the holes (namely a 15-4 turnover ratio) left by the departure of three key seniors that are threatening to derail an otherwise capable Georgetown team.
Strongside: But let’s start with what they do well.
The Hoyas frontcourt is extremely versatile; between Otto Porter, Greg Whittington and Nate Lubick, Georgetown can play multiple patterns and play them well. They’re kind of position-less up front which creates matchup problems for opposing D’s and gives them options, the rare ability to attack down low from multiple angles. Porter and Whittington can also get it done at the other end, sporting at least 7.0 boards a game apiece and 1.9 and 1.3 steals respectively.
Weakside: But in the backcourt, it sort of thins out. The departure of Jason Clark, the Hoya’s best offensive weapon-turned-point-guard leaves not one but two and probably three holes to fill; not only did he lead Georgetown in scoring to the tune of 14.0 PPG, but he was their best ball-handler, a surprisingly good rebounder (given his size) and an outstanding perimeter defender. Guard Markel Starks has thus far been picking up the minutes and almost matching the points, but his ability to run a game leaves something to be desired.
Across the way at the two guard, Georgetown is also down Hollis Thompson, the Hoyas lone three-point threat last season (he averaged .430 from beyond the arc). Thompson, a true two guard who’s shot range made his superior size and slashing ability a legitimate threat on every possession, has no real replacement; Freshman D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera has been acceptable but his .386/.727/.326 slashline is nothing to write home about and is by no means an adequate scoring substitute for Thompson.
That of course leaves Porter and Whittington to create their own chances, which they can do; both are athletic and good ball-handlers but the offense sort of turns into a two-man band at that point and despite having options upfront, a bit of a one-trick pony with nobody of exceptional skill feeding them the ball. Basically, it’s a lot of passing between each other (and to and from Lubick); Starks of course is there (and with a .456/.846/.411 line is truly there) but he supposed to be creating chances, not taking them.
All Told: Ok. So maybe we’ve been a little rough on Hoyas. At 13-4 (3-3 in the Big East) their not down and out yet; as we said at the top, they do have perhaps one of the most dynamic, athletic front-courts in the game. But they’ll need Starks or sophomore Jabril Trawick to step up down the stretch as a creator if they want to truly excel.