"The momentum was all with them...for us to be able to maintain our poise, our composure, and whether it was ugly or not, to make the plays, get the rebounds at both ends of the floor to win the game, that was good. It was ugly -- don't get me wrong. They do a good job of making the game ugly."
As John Thompson III remarked in his post game press conference, Georgetown's performance against Temple this past Tuesday was ugly and unbearable at times to watch. However, when it seemed like the Hoyas would drop their first game of the season, something occurred that I hadn't seen since Big Boy Roy hit that infamous three, lifting Georgetown over UConn two years ago at Verizon. Last second heroics produced by a final game winning shot. Greg Monroe's drive to the basket with less then 10 seconds left was a BIG TIME play. But after all, that's what we expect from the #1 recruit coming out of high school last year. It was reminiscent of Jeff Green's game winning shot against Vanderbilt in the 2007 Sweet Sixteen.
The only difference - we were playing Temple. It boggles my mind how anemic Georgetown's offense can look at times. With such an array of athletic talent, there simply has to be more points put up. There is no reason why Greg shouldn't touch the ball every time. For this team to be successful, the offense must run through him. So when Chris Wright pulls back and attempts a fade away three for the game winner, something just isn't right. Why on Earth did he not just dish it inside to Greg, where the big man could have attempted a shot or at least gotten fouled. It should be that simple. Give him the ball. What concerns me more then anything is that he wasn't even calling for it. So in reality, can you even blame Chris? Probably not. He is our teams leading scorer after all, but he just needs to more consistent with his decision making. But back to Greg. It's pretty obvious he's the best player on the team. With that said, he needs to be more aggressive, more selfish at times, and for God's sake, he should want the ball every time, especially when the game is on the line. At this point, he is just too unselfish. When he does have the ball in his hands, something good happens every time. We can not really say that about anyone else, just yet.
Next problem. Henry Sims. What's going on here? He had a good game against Tulane, but played horribly on Tuesday. Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of this kid. He's so athletic with an immense upside. Based on talent, he would be an unanimous starter. He just needs to pick his game up. I don't know whether, mentally, he's in the game. He needs more concentration and focus. Maybe Sims needs more experience to develop his basketball awareness. Hopefully, he will get his minutes to improve against Savannah State this Saturday.
In regard's to Julian, I'm sure he's a great kid and all, but he just doesn't look like a Big East basketball player. He seems too hesitant and he is a huge liability on offense. At this point, for him to contribute, I only see it happening on the defensive end. Thus, Julian must provide great defense and rebounding. At the same time, there is no reason why he can't be scoring 8-10 points of the bench. I just can't picture it yet.
It's times like this when Vernon Macklin's transfer is truly felt. Although the highly touted McDonald's All-American did not reach his potential on the Hilltop, he still had two years to develop. He did prove that he could rebound, something we really need now. Though, it is necessary to mention that our rebounding has improved from last year. Yet, if Vernon had stayed in the system up until now, what would be his senior year at Gtown, then it's hard for me to believe he wouldn't have been an impact player. He's just too athletic to not be.
Pertaining to Hollis, he needs to grow up quick. He needs to provide energy and points, whether it be off the bench or as a starter. For this team to be successful, they need player's like Hollis to step up and play as if he were an upperclassmen. They can't just rely on three players to put up points. It just doesn't work that way. This team has serious depth issues. Thus, it is crucial for players like Hollis, Sims, and Clark to come up big on the offensive side.
Nikita? He's a fine shooter, but he really can't be put in a position where it's necessary for him to dribble. Unfortunately for him, that's an essential part of the game. So...don't play him. Play Vee Sanford. Let the young guns grow and develop.
The Princeton Offense...I don't know. I can't really critique Coach. It worked with Jeff, Roy, John, Pat, Jessie, and Tyler. They won two consecutive Big East titles with it. It just seems like it's not working for this group. Granted it's really only Chris Wright's 2nd year, seeing that he sat out the majority of his freshman year with an injury. With that said, we have to treat him as if he was a sophomore, in his second year as starting point guard. Maybe it's the decision making of the player's or maybe the offense just is not optimal for this particular group. Like I said, I don't know. One thing I do know is that we have to be putting up more than 46 points (19 by half), regardless of who we play.
Finally, what bothered me the most of anything was our crowd. Absolutely pathetic. For a team, that not very long ago, went to the Final Four along with winning consecutive conference titles, one would think that the fan base would be there without question. I'm sick and tired of going to supposed home games at Verizon only to be drowned out by Pitt, Notre Dame, Cuse, and Duke fans. You've got to be kidding me. If anyone went to the Pitt game last year, you know what I'm talking about. I understand that Georgetown students like to study and all, but give me a break, you can leave Lauinger for a few hours to make your way to Chinatown. If the Cameron Crazies (who might be the biggest gathering of dweebs to ever cheer at a sporting event) can roll hard to the Duke games, then why can't Georgetown students? Where's their sense of tradition? Or pride for that matter. I mean you really got to hand it to the Dukies. They are great fans and support their team to perfection.
A pose another question on this topic. Who is in charge of marketing and fan promotion? Do they even have that position in McDonough? Well if they don't, then create it. There needs to be some sort of effort to motivate and encourage students to show up. How about providing benefits and rewards for those students that attend a significant number of games? Like free meals to restaurants on and off campus, gift cards to the bookstore, bonus money on your Gocard...you can honestly come up with anything here. How about free apparel! One thing is for sure, no matter how cool the Verizon Center is, I'd rather see Georgetown play all their games in McDonough. I'm convinced they would run the table if they played every game there. Verizon just doesn't provide a home court advantage. The only time it's ever popping is if we are winning. The Cuse game last year - more orange in the stands than blue and gray. Only reason it didn't seem that way was because Georgetown got on the Orangemen early and didn't let them back in. Now that was great performance.
Also, location of student section. They should keep part of it behind both baskets but there should be a significant portion behind the bench side, especially right behind the visitor bench. Yeah, let the student's be pricks. Everywhere else Georgetown travels it seems to be the case.
After all this criticism, I need to step back and remember the title of this article. It's been JUST TWO GAMES. And as fans typically do, they make decisions and assumptions based on emotion and short term circumstances. Sports are an emotional issue. I need to remember, it's only been two games. And if we remember our history, the 2007 team truly meshed in the Big East tourny. I am confident this group with bring it come January.
Now...all we need is for Greg to do his thing. Because as the last seconds of the Temple game showed, big time players make big time plays on big time days.