The Georgetown Hoyas nearly caused an international incident when they got into a brawl with a Chinese team on their summer trip. Talk about an auspicious start to a season in which the Hoyas have to replace three starters and will likely finish in the lower half of the Big East.
The past couple of seasons, Georgetown has relied on their experienced guard play to lead the way. With Austin Freeman and Chris Wright moving on with their basketball careers and Vee Sanford transferring, Jason Clark will shoulder the load in a young and thin backcourt. It will be integral for Clark to take on the leadership role and also emerge as a go-to player after being a third or fourth option the past two years.
Clark will start at the two while sophomore Markel Starks is expected to run the point. Starks played sparingly as a freshman but will have to quickly adapt to a bigger role, since he is the only true ball handler on the Hoyas' roster. That means that Clark will likely see some time at the point. Redshirt freshman Aaron Bowen and true freshman Jabril Trawick are lengthy wings who will hope to provide depth at the two.
After shockingly flirting with the NBA Draft this summer, Hollis Thompson wisely chose to return for his junior season. He began last year as a starter but ultimately ended up as the team's sixth man since John Thompson III wanted to go with a bigger starting five. Thompson could be poised for a breakout season as Georgetown will need him to emerge as a 15-point-per-night scorer to have any chance of being a tournament team. Otto Porter is regarded as the best of the five Hoya freshmen and should immediately be a solid contributor. He is a versatile weapon on offense due to his mid-range game and ability to play above the rim.
The Hoyas have been traditionally strong with their inside play but that was not the case last season and will be a concern again for Thompson III. The physical, energetic Nate Lubick will return to his role as starting power forward. He will have to elevate his game from a role player to someone who can provide an inside scoring presence. After Lubick, there is a ton of uncertainty.
6-10 senior Henry Sims has been a huge disappointment since arriving at Georgetown and has one last chance to live up to the hype he had coming out of high school. Moses Ayegba and Tyler Adams are big bodies inside who will provide physicality, but are far from finished products on the offensive end.
Freshmen Mikael Hopkins and George Whittington will also battle it out for minutes off the bench. Hopkins is an athletic big who runs the floor well and can also protect the rim as a shot blocker. Whittington is 6-8 but versatile enough to play on the wing due to his ability to shoot the ball. I would not be surprised either if the coach goes with a smaller frontcourt using Lubick at center with Porter and Thompson at forward, since Porter could probably play some four.
Fans are a bit on edge since Georgetown has won just one NCAA Tournament game the past four seasons. They have underachieved in recent years but with not much expected this season, simply earning a trip to the tourney would be considered a success. A trip to Hawaii with a loaded Maui Invitational field will be a great test to see how competitive the Hoyas will be this season.
Player to Watch: Hollis Thompson, SF
The talent is certainly there. For a 6-7 wing, Thompson can stroke it from the outside, connecting on 45.7% of his three-pointers last season. If he can become more dangerous off the bounce, to complement his outside stroke, Thompson will take his game to the next level. Then, he can maybe think about being a true NBA prospect.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/21 vs. Kansas (Maui Invitational)
11/22 vs. UCLA/Chaminade (Maui Invitational)
11/23 vs. Duke/Tennessee/Memphis/Michigan (Maui Invitational)