Is Hopkins ready to be Georgetown's next man in the middle?
The award-winning player profiles series continues on this casual Tuesday with a glance at 6'9" sophomore center/forward Mikael Hopkins.
Hoyas fans are looking forward to seeing a lot more of this from Hopkins in a Georgetown uniform
Mikael averaged 2.4 points and 1.1 rebounds in just 6.8 minutes per game. He only played double digit minutes in 6 games and had 3 DNPs, but he showed lots of potential in his limited minutes. Though Hopkins' biggest outburst was in the only game where he played the minutes he's likely to get this season (in 22 minutes versus NJIT he produced 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks), his Big East "coming out party" was against Syracuse in the thrilling overtime loss at the Carrier Dome. Due to foul trouble on Henry Sims and Nate Lubick, Mikael played 19 minutes in that game, and though he shot 1-8 from the field, he displayed good footwork, good post moves, grabbed 4 rebounds and played good defense against Fab Melo. Hopkins has athleticism and a good basketball IQ. He also showed the ability to be a willing and adept passer, having the 4th highest assist rate on the team. He also was very good on the offensive glass with an OR% of 12.2%, the highest on the team.
Outlook for This Season:
Best Case Scenario:
Mikael starts at center for the Hoyas and flourishes, providing defense, rebounding, and a competent offensive game while averaging nearly 10 points, 5+ rebounds, and 1.5 blocks. Hopkins fills the void left by Henry Sims and he, Nate Lubick and Otto Porter give Georgetown a young but productive Big East frontcourt. Hopkins continues to progress throughout the season, setting himself up for a big postseason and an even more productive junior campaign.
Worst Case Scenario:
Mikael is not ready to provide minutes at a Big East level and Georgetown is forced to rely on center by committee. Mikael sees only a modest spike in scoring and rebounds, but is unable to hold his own in the physical Big East resulting in numerous games in which he gets caught in early foul trouble. The three-headed center of Hopkins, Moses Ayegba, and Bradley Hayes basically only provides 5 fouls each and the Hoyas have a middle of the pack Big East season, unable to compete with teams with more seasoned and talented big men.
At this point in the offseason with Ayegba and Hayes being question marks , Mikael Hopkins is the presumed starting center and his development might be the key to Georgetown's success. After a year under his belt, Hopkins will certainly see an expansion of his role after starting to get minutes at the end of the rotation last year. Mikael has loads of skill and athleticism and is able to work from the high post and the low post. One issue is whether he is better suited to play the four than the five and whether he will get pushed around by some of the bigger centers in the Big East. Word is that he has bulked up in the offseason, and Georgetown will be counting on Hopkins to make a significant leap between his freshman and sophomore campaigns.