Maybe it was something in the food? Or a change in practice? Whatever it was, the Georgetown Hoyas looked like a different team this past Saturday and Monday. Against Lafayette and Mt. St. Marys, the Hoyas shot consistently, provided second opportunities through effective rebounding, and ran the offense significantly better. Granted, these aren't exactly the strongest or most prominent of teams, yet the Hoyas as a whole made great strides and improvement. With that said, let's take a look at the individuals fueling this change in pace.
Julian Vaughn, well done my friend. For the first time in a Blue & Gray jersey, Vaughn posted back to back double digit point games. He also picked up a combined 13 rebounds in both games and 3 blocks alone in the Mount game. Without a doubt, Julian seems more comfortable and familiar with the offense this year. Although his production was lower in the first three games, it's evident that the FSU transfer has slowly blossomed since his first year at the hilltop. Vaughn has become more of a physical presence around the basket. His ability to create three point plays is huge. However, his foul shot shooting is in need of work. In the Lafayette game, he made two great plays under the basket, yet proceeded to miss each of his foul shots. Although, this may come off as a minor problem, it will certainly play a factor when league play commences. Those types of situations are ever so crucial come Big East time. In addition, his alley-oop finish against Mt. St. Marys was something special. Last year, I never would have imagined Julian making that play. If anything, Julian has proven the ability to get better with each game - a quality that coaches eat up. Thus, it goes without saying that the Vienna, VA native has earned most improved. Keep up the good work.
When it came down to it, for the Hoyas to experience success this season, either Vaughn or Henry Sims had to pick up their production. After five games, it's pretty apparent who's showed up. Although incredibly talented and athletic, Sims looks lost on the court at times, especially on the defensive end. He still seems uncomfortable and has yet to fully adapt to the college level. Does it mean he's a lost cause? Heavens no. Against Lafayette, he provided a glimpse of brilliance on the defensive end. Sims sent a Lafayette player's lay-up into the stands that created a level of noise I previously thought impossible by such a small crowd. He could be a force to reckon with in this aspect of the game. Let's just see it happen.
Julian's new found presence on the court has made life easier on young Greg. Monroe has been a consistent contributor, recording two double-double games this season. Against the Mount, Monroe put up 19 points, his most since the season opener against Tulane. This is great and all, but we expect more. Is it unreasonable for Monroe to be AVERAGING 20 or more points a game? I don't think so. For a player that supposedly was going top 5 in the draft last year, such things are expected and not necessarily applauded. To be quite frank, he should be dropping 30 points on these teams. Granted other players are stepping up and performing, it still is no excuse. I think we should be putting these teams out by more. In addition, he needs to become more of a presence on defense. Again, I'm not saying he is lacking in this facet, but I do expect more. For a player like Greg, the sky SHOULD be the limit.
Moving on, Hollis Thompson was simply a stud against Lafayette. He showed great ability behind the arc along with the capability to drive to the hoop and finish. Without a doubt, Hollis made some pretty plays this game and throughout the season for that matter. He is doing exactly what we expect of him and that's awesome. Leaving high school a semester early to enroll and learn the system was a definite advantage. Unfortunately, I was unable to make the Mt. St. Marys game but heard he made an impact on the boards. For a 6'6" player, Thompson plays like he's 6'10''. His long reach aides in his ability to grab rebounds. He potentially could be the most complete player at the 3 position that Georgetown has seen for awhile.
After watching Jason Clark last season, it was obvious he could be special. So far this season, he has stepped up his game in nearly every facet. His points have increased along with his accuracy behind the arc. Both Jason and Chris Wright have become presences on defense, as well. Their ability to make steals help create fast break opportunities. For the Hoyas to be a complete team, this is another aspect that needs to be consistent. As of now, Jason is performing at a high level. When the ball is in his hands, good things happen.
Recently, Chris has been great from the arc, going 4 for 5 against the Mount. If he consistently averages 18 points a game (and a lot of assists), then the Hoyas will be something special. The offense starts and initiates with him. Thus, his consistent production is crucial. Since Temple, it appears that Wright is doing a fine job.
And lets not forget Austin Freeman. The junior has put up 10 or more points in 4 of the 5 games. His steady and consistent play is an important part that keeps this engine going.
Most importantly, when a particular player has fallen short on production, someone else has picked up the slack and produced. This is a great positive. In order to be a championship caliber team, Georgetown needs players that, when necessary, can make up for their teammate's lack of performance. Realistically, no one can consistently put up the same stats each game.
On another note, Vee Sanford has been a delight to watch. Coming off the bench, he has shown confidence in running the offense and taking shots. Granted it's mainly been in reserve time, he still shows the ability to play mistake free. This bodes well for the future. At some point in the season, Vee will be called upon to perform in crunch time. These past couple games are the building blocks for his confidence on the court.
So was it magic that caused the Hoyas to win their last two games by impressive numbers? Nah. Rather, the talent and athleticism that's been on the Hilltop for two years is beginning to mesh together. One can argue about certain inefficiences in the Princeton offense, but when properly run, it is highly effective and difficult for defenses to stop. CONTINUE TO BUY INTO THE SYSTEM.