Georgetown Basketball Preview: #17
Overall Rank: #17
Conference Rank: #3 Big East Conference
2008-09: 16-15, 7-11
2008-09 postseason: NIT
Coach: John Thompson III (116-51 at Georgetown, 184-93 overall)
Forget about last season. Heading into the 2008-2009 campaign, Georgetown had high hopes. But those hopes rested on the shoulders of a freshman center, a relatively unstable point guard and a couple inconsistent shooting guards. And the result was an inconsistent team that simply lacked the depth to compete day in and day out in a tough Big East.
Key Losses: G Jessie Sapp, F DaJuan Summers, G Omar Wattad
Coach John Thompson III has a few holes to fill, but he is bringing in a few recruits who should make an immediate impact. The star of the three man class is Hollis Thompson. The 6-8 small forward enrolled early and has been practicing with the team since January and should be starting from day one. Combo guard Vee Sanford gives the team some much needed depth on the perimeter and can provide an offensive spark off the bench. Jerrelle Benimon, a 6-7, 242 pound power forward, is not expected to do much as a freshman, but he is a versatile player who could turn into a solid contributor in a year or two.
Chris Wright’s lack of leadership may have led to the collapse of the Hoyas last year. His turnover numbers were high and his decision making left something to be desired at times, but now Wright is an upperclassman and ready to become a leader of this team. The bigger problem is the rest of the backcourt where Austin Freeman is back after starting 30 games last year, but only connected on 30.6 percent of his shots from long range. Jason Clark averaged nearly 20 minutes per game off the bench and will be asked to play a bigger role now that Jessie Sapp is gone.
Greg Monroe is obviously the star of this team, but somebody needs to step up and become a decent frontcourt mate for Monroe. Nikita Mescheriakov started nine games last year, but he only averaged 2.7 points and 1.5 rebounds. His lack of toughness around the basket may keep him out of the starting lineup and that could open up a spot for 6-10, 230 pound Henry Sims or 6-9, 247 pound Julian Vaughn. Ideally, those three would be able to cover the power forward position and backup Monroe at the five spot. If not, Thompson might have to spend some time at the four spot and that leaves the depth on the perimeter as a major issue.
Who to Watch:
Monroe shouldered much of the burden of the last year’s team and he did admirably for a freshman, finishing the campaign averaging 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 1.5 blocks. Monroe can do it all, but last year’s poor outside shooting made it difficult for him to find space. Monroe can absolutely dominate most opponents if anybody could consistently hit the outside shot.
This group has the talent to not only make it to the NCAA Tournament, but even win a game or two. The key will be replacing DaJuan Summers at the forward spot and working on the overall shooting numbers. When Monroe is double teamed under the basket, he will find somebody who has an open look for a long ball. It happened many times last year, but the team only shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc. In this style of offense, Monroe should be able to dish out even more than 2.5 assists per game when his teammates are usually wide open.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Chris Wright, Junior, Guard, 12.5 points per game
Jason Clark, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 points per game
Austin Freeman, Junior, Guard, 11.4 points per game
Hollis Thompson, Freshman, Forward, DNP last season
Greg Monroe, Sophomore, Center, 12.7 points per game
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