2013-14 College Basketball Season Preview: Georgetown

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Georgetown Hoyas (Last Year: 25-7, 14-4 in Big East)

2013-14 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Mikael Hopkins (Jr)/Joshua Smith (Jr)/Moses Ayegba (Sr)/Bradley Hayes (Soph)

PF: Nate Lubick (Sr)/Reggie Cameron (Fr)

G/F:Jabril Trawick (Jr)/Aaron Bowen (Jr)

SG: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Soph)/Stephen Domingo (Soph)

PG: Markel Starks (Sr)

Gone: F-Otto Porter, PF-Brandon Bolden (transfer-Kansas State)

2013-14 Outlook:
Senior point guard Markel Starks will be a vital piece of the Hoyas’ puzzle since for the second straight season; he is the lone true point guard on the roster. Starks has shown steady progress throughout his collegiate career toward becoming a reliable floor general and consistent outside shooter.

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera seems ready for a breakout sophomore campaign since he moves from a sixth man role into the starting lineup alongside Starks. Smith-Rivera is in better shape this season, but he is still a physical guard who can score from just about anywhere on the floor. Jabril Trawick has been a solid role player the past two seasons and will complete a three-guard look for John Thompson III.

After being suspended for the second half of last season, news got even worse for talented wing George Whittington as he will miss all of 2013-14 due to a torn ACL. That leaves the Hoyas short-handed with their depth at guard since seldom used Aaron Bowen and Stephen Domingo are the only reserve options off the bench.

Up front, Georgetown returns its starting tandem of Nate Lubick and Mikael Hopkins, but also brings in an intriguing transfer in former UCLA big man Josh Smith, who was ruled immediately eligible by the NCAA. Lubick fits Georgetown’s style of play in that he passes the ball well out of the high post and is also aggressive on the glass. Hopkins brings some more athleticism to the floor, but he didn’t show anything last year to stake his claim on the starting center spot.

That is where Smith comes into play. At 6-10, 350 pounds, he is a load down low who is also very skilled with his back to the basket. Smith’s effort and conditioning were obstacles at UCLA in him turning into the true, dominant big man who he is capable of becoming. If any program can tap into his potential, it is Georgetown, which has a rich history of producing talented bigs. Moses Ayegba, Bradley Hayes, and Reggie Cameron will compete for minutes inside as well, but expect Thompson to keep his rotation tight as he usually does.

If Starks and Smith-Rivera can become the best backcourt in the Big East, Smith has his head focused for the entire season, and the team remains one of the better defensive teams in the country; the Georgetown Hoyas will contend with fellow defending Big East Conference champions Marquette and the new kids on the block, Creighton.

Player to Watch: Joshua Smith, C
The NCAA did the Hoyas and Smith a favor by declaring him immediately eligible rather than his having to sit out the first semester. Maybe a new setting and breath of life is what Smith needs to become a dominant big man.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/8 vs. Oregon (in South Korea)
  • 11/21 vs. Northeastern (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
  • 11/22 vs. Kansas State/Charlotte (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
  • 11/24 vs. VCU/Florida State/Michigan/Long Beach State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
  • 12/21 at Kansas
  • 2/1 vs. Michigan State (at Madison Square Garden)

  • Predicted Big East Finish: 2nd

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