First, in recognition of an incredible preseason performance, some pre-conference Sleepy Awards for the Georgetown Hoyas.
MVP -- Chris Wright. No contest in my mind. Chris has fully taken over the team and moved from a talented, erratic player into a talented poised leader. Without Chris we lose two or three more games in the preseason. Another way of looking at it, is my pulse and blood pressure are always steady when Chris is in the game this year. When he's on the bench, as much as i love the potential of Markel Starks, both pulse and blood pressure spike to dangerous heights. Chris -- keep the Hoyas winning and one, not the, old Hoya alive.
(More Sleepy Awards Following the Jump)
MCP --(Most Casual Player) Austin Freeman. Austin is a huge talent who has found every way to exploit all of his ability this year. Best pure shooter in college basketball. Deceptively quick first step and strong going to the hoop. Good passer and the rare scorer who almost never takes a bad shot. Second best point guard on the team. Look at the late second half when CW needed a break against Memphis. Austin took the point and expertly ran the team for two important minutes.
Most Improved -- Chris Wright. Controversial choice in an otherwise totally predictable awards post. Henry has improved beyond anyone's wildest dreams. But Chris Wright is a totally different player this year, a better player and his improvement is the most important element of this year's success.
All Madden Team --Julian Vaughn, Nate Lubick, Jerrelle Benimon, Henry Sims and Jason Clark. These guys will outwork any five in the country and are all learning the art of making their fouls count particularly in the lane.
Greg Monroe Who Dat? award --Julian Vaughn and Henry Sims. Greg gave us 16.1 ppg, 9.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 3.2 turnovers. Julian and Henry are giving us 14.3 ppg, 11.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.9 blocks 3.3 turnovers.
The fairer version of Greg Monroe Who Dat? award -- Julian basically played center last year to Monroe's power forward. So it's probably more relevant to compare him to our power forwards. Hollis, Jerrelle and Nate are giving us 14.8 ppg, 10.7 rebounds, 3 assists, .9 blocks and 2.7 turnovers per game. Are we a better team without Greg? Who has time to answer hypothetical questions like this? Are we a better team this year? Absolutely based on the preseason.
Best Freshman --Nate Lubick. No question here. Tough guy who contributed from day one on the boards, defensively and being a positive force in the offense.
Most likely to breakout in Big East Play -- Vee Sanford. The kid just does something positive every time he steps on the court. He's shooting 75 percent from 3 point range and averages a steal a game in less than 9 minutes of playing time.
Coach of the Year -- JT III. Took on a tough schedule and made enough tweaks in his philosophy to take advantage of a very talented team.
Best you only get one chance to make a first impression award --Moses Ayegba. Grand entry from the epic named Moses into college basketball.
The deepest Team in college basketball -- Georgetown Hoyas --12 deep and a 10-11 man rotation with very little drop-off in talent, experience or performance. A coach's dream.
The last award brings us to our history section of this week's State of the Hoyas. Is this year's team the deepest in Georgetown's history?
There are a lot of ways to judge this as there are an infinite way to manipulate data. Certainly it's the deepest team in JTIII's era. The last few years have seen 7-8 man rotations based on exceptional talent of the starters and some serious drop off on the bench talent. In 2006-2007, Thompson, when the team was healthy, did utilize a ten man rotation. But that was the exception to the rule until this year.
JT Jr. made a philosophy of using a 9-10 man rotation as a integral part of startegy, without a lot of regard to the talent on the bench. His all out attacking style meant players got minutes whether they were very good players or not. If you could run, press, bang and play defense you got to play. In the late 70's and through the eighties. That meant a lot of playing time for limited talents like Tom Scates, Grady Mateen,, Ralph Dalton and yes Craig Esherick.
His deepest team based on distribution of minutes was the national championship team of 1983-84. Led by Patrick Ewing, these Hoyas went 10 men deep, that is 10 players who average more than 9 minutes per game. The national champions had five guys who averaged at least 9 points per game, with Ewing leading the team at 16.4.
Another way to look at is to look at the back of the rotation. The back of the rotation that year was Fred Brown, Horace Broadnax, Ralph Dalton and Michael Graham. Brown was a highly touted point guard out of NY who had his minutes squeezed in the championship year by sophomore Michael Jackson. Broadnax was an all purpose backup guard who went on to coach Savannah State. Dalton, was a space eater who rebounded and committed hard fouls. Michael Graham became a key player late in the season with his athleticism and intimidating play. This was a very deep team in terms of playing time and minutes.
The 2010-11 Hoya's are just as deep when it comes to minutes. We have 10 players in the rotation that average at least nine minutes per game. By the end of the year its conceivable that Moses could also join that group. This year's team has 5 guys averaging over 8.5 ppg with the rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots distributed more evenly that the 1984 Hoyas.
Looking at the back of the rotation, there is a lot of talent. Markel Starks, Vee Sanford, Jerelle Bennimon and Henry Sims are serious players with a lot of upside. I'd love to see a game between the second five of 2011 vs. the second five of 1984. In fact, i'd like to see the first teams go out it also.
Total production from the bench is very similar. The national champs got 22.7ppg, 11.4 rebounds and 7 assists per game. This year's Hoya get about 17 ppg,11.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists.
So who's deeper? A case can be made for both. I come down ultimately on this year's team for a specific reason. Both have great players, excellent starters and talented and versatile backups. But the systems are very different . JT Jr's teams were based on defense, attacking, rebounding and most of all effort. Somewhat limited players like the great Gene Smith could thrive in the chaos created on the defensive end. And because the defense created much of the offense, players like Smith could contribute on the floor despite limited offensive skills.
JTIII's teams are different. This is a relatively complex offense that relies on reads and reactions. There is no place to hide on the offensive end if you don't have the skills and judgement to play his offense. And, if one guy is out of synch, it can bring the whole system down. In short, there is no place to hide a player with limited skills. That's why JTIII's teams generally use the bench less. Since the current reserves are asked to do more on the offensive end, I think that gives them a slight edge on bench strength.
Giving a slight nod to this years team comes with an caveat. The real season begins tonight and that might squeeze the minutes at the back of the rotation. I love our rotation, and the season will reveal just how deep we are. But at worst, this is the deepest team we've had since 1984 and in 1984 Walter Mondale won one state and the Georgetown Hoyas were national champions.