The Georgetown Hoyas are slogging away diligently on their coursework this week, so it's only natural for us to release our Casual first quarter analysis (9 games so far, 29 scheduled+ 3 Big East+ 6 NCAA for those of you wondering what delusional math puts us at the quarter mark). Rather than dish out grades to the team, let's take a closer look at how this team has performed relative to certain expectations.
The team as a whole:
Jason has shot the ball well, but even though he's been draining from deep (up until last few games) we knew he could do that. His handle was suspect coming in and it remained to be seen if he was a true #1 option. Well, despite not being a creator for others, I can't remember a time I've worried about his handle all season and he's been the best at the team getting dribble-drive penetration into the lane. He's been using those wildly long arms for an array of difficult finishes and in the second most important shot of the year, he stepped up and put away Memphis in OT with a deep three.
Hollis has let the hair grow the longest in his career, and he's helped put the knew look front and center with the most beautiful jumper in the nation. I can't remember ever seeing live a jump shooter scoring more effortlessly than Hollis over NJIT -- the Ninjas might has well have not been on the court. His offensive rating is an astounding 133.4 (25th in the country) and he is slowly taking on a greater offensive burden. Oh, and that Albama game...
There are five starters on the team -- and there are five finishers. Otto hasn't started a game this season, but he's always on the floor at the end of the game when it matters most. He already has a Casual Award named after him: The Otto Porter Award for Filling the Boxscore. Here's why: he's 3rd on the team in minutes, first in rebounds, second in steals, third highest offensive rating, fourth in points, second lowest turnover percentage, second in blocks, so on and so forth. In short, he does almost everything very well and his presence seems to anchor both the offense and defense. The one drawback is that he's about 15 percentage points from 3 away from immortality: he's shooting 24% from three and he's rimmed out a number of almost-game changing shots -- notably late in the Alabama game that would've eliminated the need for Hollis' heroics.
It's easy to focus on Otto alone or the incredible improvement from the upperclassmen, but the freshman class a whole have totally shifted the attitude of the Georgetown Hoyas. Jabril Trawick's energy and impeccable defensive stance have been a joy to have deep off the bench, Mikael Hopkins has shown some great aggressive moments, and Greg Whittington has shown flashed of brilliance as the 6-A man off the bench -- including a timely putback against Memphis at the end of regulation.
It's seems like ages ago that the ACC switch was the most obnoxious thing our Canadian rivals could muster... now it like they are attempting to top daily objective is to find new reasons to make the institution more easy to hate.
One area that's been lacking. Henry's missed a couple slams and Jabril, winner of the Midnight Madness dunking contest and leaper extraordinaire, has miffed on too already. Even Otto's dunks that go in don't seem all that thunderous -- apparently incredibly long thin arms that are excellent for causing steals and creating fast breaks are not similarly well-equipped for Sportscenter dunks.
Speaking of dunks, a couple of nickname worthy dunks by Nate Lubick over cupcakes have added some positive glean to his year, but I'd be lying if there haven't been some red flags raised early in this year. He's looks great, even dominant against mid-major competition, but against Kansas, Memphis and Alabama, the big fella was slow and ineffective (at best). Especially with the recent developments about Tyler Adams health condition, the day will almost certainly come where we'll need Nate's strength inside against a high-major team with a true power forward... so we'll need to hope Nate's ready for that challenge.
Yes, the home slate has been weak and yes, finals are stressful... but Georgetown is Nationally Ranked Powerhouse!!!! Put your flashcards in your pockets and look through them at half and on the metro if it makes you feel better. The quality of this team deserved better than a few spotted rows in behind the basket.
There are a few cynical questions that must be raised when peering into the future:
1) What can we expect from Jason Clark? Clark similarly started shooting out of his mind early in the season last year, but couldn't sustain it. His recent slump at least raises the question about what level of 3-point performance we can expect from him.
2) Similarly, with even more lurking doubts, is can Henry keep this up? There's absolutely zero reason to think he cannot based on on-court play -- he's been incredibly consistent and dependable... but after three years, is this really a mirage or cool trick?
3) Depth inside: Tyler Adams is out indefinitely, Nate has been a step slow, and we've relied heavily on Otto/Hollis at the four. Can this pass for a full year?
These questions exist, but right they shouldn't keep any Hoya fans up at night. Why? Because this team is only scratching the surface of it's potential. They're already playing tremendous team defense, forcing turnovers, getting out on breaks, and running a crisp half court offense -- and we haven't seen the best they have yet. Otto still getting his footing as an outside shooter and as a creator for himself; Whittington and Trawick have shown great offensive potential against elite opponents and even upperclassmen Henry, Hollis and Jason seem to be growing into their leadership roles.
As much as I'd like the Kansas game back with the recent stumbles of Memphis and Alabama, it's probably for the best this team lost that game. You cannot question the hunger and dedication of this team as a whole -- it's clear they have high aims.
The Sweet 16 has turned from a pipe dream... to a pretty standard expectation. That's a helluva first quarter. Let's hope the rest of the season follows suit.