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BIG EAST: 2006-07

College Preview Big East Message Board

By Eric Silver

September 6th, 2006


Big East Basketball Preview: Georgetown


Any discussion of the Hoyas’ prospects for this season has to begin with two of the premier players in the league, 7'2" center Roy Hibbert and 6'8" forward Jeff Green. Both will likely be lottery picks next season if they declare for the NBA draft. Hibbert became a force last year after being a limited-role player as a freshman. He averaged 11.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg in only 24.0 mpg and shot 59% from the field. Even modest progress from last season, and Hibbert could be nearly unstoppable. Fortunately for Georgetown opponents, the Hoyas often use Hibbert at the high post as they run their Princeton-style offense. Hibbert is a good passer for a big man, but opposing fans must breathe a sigh of relief when he’s away from the low block.


Defensively, Hibbert is also a force as he blocked 54 shots last season in 33 games (1.6 per game). He also alters numerous shots as well even if he doesn’t block them. With more experience, his impact in this area should be even greater this season.


Green, who can play either forward position, is one of the leading preseason candidates for Big East Player of the Year as he can do basically anything on the court.  At either spot, he’s a defender’s nightmare. On the perimeter, if his defender pressures him, he can put the ball on the floor and drive; if the defender lays off him, he can bury the mid-range jumper; if he gets the ball on the block, he can post his defender and either power past him or leap over him. As a bonus, Green is an excellent passer who actually led the Hoyas in assists at 3.3 apg.


Green’s 2005-2006 averages of 11.9 ppg and 6.5 rpg don’t stand out. However, two factors must be taken into consideration to put those stats in proper perspective. First, the Hoyas had a balanced attack last season as six players averaged at least 6.1 shots per game. (Green averaged 9.7 shots per game.) Also, Georgetown’s offensive tempo was considerably slower than that of any other team in the league as they frequently made opponents play defense for at least 25-30 seconds per possession.


The third returning starter is point guard Jonathan Wallace. He's not flashy, but he understands how to run Coach John Thompson lll’s offense.  He didn't have to score last year (7.9 ppg) with Hibbert, Green, Brandon Bowman, Ashanti Cook, and Darrel Owens around, but he did shoot 41% from behind the arc, an indication he can be a threat from deep if left open.  More importantly, Wallace had a 2.3/1.0 assist-to-turnover ratio.  In fact, he averaged only 1.4 turnovers per game in 30.8 mpg. Wallace is also a solid defender who stays in front of his man and is seldom beaten off the dribble. He doesn’t get much publicity, but he’s key to any success the Hoyas have this season.


Georgetown lost three significant contributors from last year’s team in Bowman, Cook, and Owens, who combined for nearly 30 ppg their senior year.  Someone has to step up at the 2 to replace Cook. Sophomore Jessie Sapp got decent playing time later in the season and at times looked pretty good. However, he averaged only 2.8 ppg and shot a disappointing 21% from behind the arc.  Though he’s the leading candidate to start at the 2, he will find himself back on the bench unless he can improve that figure.


Another candidate, sophomore Josh Thornton played in only six games last year and totaled 20 minutes of playing time. Freshman Jeremiah Rivers is a combo guard, but perimeter shooting is reportedly not his strong suit. Replacing Bowman will not be as much of a problem. One option, Vernon Macklin (#16 on RSCI), is a terrific talent. The 6'8"/6'9" power forward is strong, quick, and athletic. He is an explosive leaper, which will make him tough to defend near the hoop.  He is definitely one of the top incoming freshmen in the conference and should make an immediate impact.  If he starts at the 4, then Green will play the 3.


However, the Hoyas also brought in another athletic forward in 6'7" DaJuan Summers (#26 on RSCI) who can play the 3 or the 4.  If Summers can win a starting spot at small forward, Green will start at the 4.  Whether Summers starts or not, he should get considerable playing time.


Despite the likelihood of two freshmen playing significant minutes, the Hoyas already have the best all-around frontcourt in the conference in Hibbert, Green, Macklin, and Summers.  Then add to the mix Indiana transfer Patrick Ewing, Jr., a former Top 100 high school player.  Ewing never got untracked at Indiana, and he will have to beat out one of the two freshmen to see any meaningful playing time.  Regardless of which players are on the court, most Big East teams will have trouble matching up with the Hoyas’ frontcourt.


The only area of concern that keeps the Hoyas from being my preseason favorite to win the conference title is the lack of a proven three-point threat on the wings. Unless someone steps up to handle that role, opponents will be able to sit back in various zones and dare Georgetown to beat them from downtown. Last year Cook (44% from behind the arc), and to a lesser extent Owens (38%), made opponents pay when they tried that strategy. Unless someone can come reasonably close to replicating their performance, teams can neutralize the Princeton back-door game by packing the defense in and cutting off passing lanes. The Hoyas have some extremely talented players, but their suspect outside shooting may well cost them a few games, even with Hibbert and Green up front.  If they do discover that outside threat, this is a potential Final Four team.

- Predicted Finish: 2 of 16

#1 Pittsburgh

#2 Georgetown

#3 Syracuse

#4 Louisville #5 Marquette #6 Villanova #7 Connecticut #8 St. John's

#9 DePaul

#10 Providence #11 Rutgers #12 Notre Dame #13 Cincinnati #14 Seton Hall #15 WVU #16 S. Florida




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