Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
Hoyas expect big things from the rising sophomore.
Our award-winning Player Profiles series continues on this Hump Day with a look at sophomore wing Greg Whittington. The ability of 6'8 Greg Whittington to lock down on the perimeter was critical to Georgetown's defensive success last year -- how far will he come along on the other side of the ball in 2012-13?
2011-12 Stats: 20.1 MPG, 4.3 PPG, 35.7% 3FG, 0.9 APG, 2.9 RPG, 0.6 SPG
Hoya Prospectus Wizardry: 14.7 %Poss, 97.0 ORtg, 93.9 DRtg
A Look Back:
Greg Whittington finished his freshman campaign strong. Compared to the full season stats above, his last 10 games saw significant jumps in playing time and offensive efficiency - driven in particular by stronger shooting: 58.6 % Min (up from 49.6) 119.7 ORtg, 71.8 eFG%. In addition, he did almost all of his damage in the second half of the season, improving on his 83.2 offensive rating in the first half with a 110 rating in the second half.
Most telling about Greg was one of his breakout games against Marquette where he scored just two points. His infusion of defense sparked an incredible comeback where the Hoyas choked the life out of Marquette on the defensive end scored just enough to overtake them in the final minutes.
At 6'8" with great quickness and length, Whittington, who was considered extremely raw and without a true position as the All-Met Player of the Year coming into the season, was able to guard Big East positions 1-4 and was a critical component of a Georgetown zone defense that become one of the best in the country.
On offense, he contributed most often as a good, if a bit streaky outside shooter, finishing behind only Hollis Thompson and Markel Starks in shooting percentage from long distance. Whittington scored in double digits only three times last season, but one was a St. John's game where he turned the tide of the game with clutch shooting and another was against Pittsburgh in the first round of the Big East tournament.
Outlook for 2012-13:
Aside from Otto Porter and Markel Starks, Whittington is the third "lock" for a starting position. The hype around this season often centers around the long arms and potential of Greg and Otto. Greg is expected to be the defensive specialist and will be given the assignment of the opponent's best player when Georgetown plays man defense.
What's more of an open question is where he'll fit into the lineup and what sort of production can be expected on offense. Will he be able to play the 2 guard where he was able to exploit his mismatch? Or, more likely, will DSR or Trawick be inserted into the lineup, forcing Georgetown be go lean, rather than huge, with Whittington/Porter at the 3 and 4. Regardless, he'll be on the floor a lot. Greg has shown glimpses of the raw ability to break down opponents off fast break or from the dribble (though he struggled to finish) with long, gliding steps, but there's never been a level of assertiveness of a top offensive option...even in the defense-optional Kenner League.
Best Case Scenario:
Whittington shows agile footwork in the post, becomes more aggressive offensively and uses his height advantage to bury guards in the post to compliment his three point shooting. He bumps up his usage and scores over ten points a game without sacrificing much efficiency, and at times assumes primary scorer status. But that still remains the weaker half of his game. With an extra year of experience, Whittington improves on his natural defensive ability and leads one of the best defenses in the Big East despite lacking an elite defensive center - and we wonder whether this still enormously high ceiling will prompt him to start thinking about the NBA draft.
Worst Case Scenario:
A repeat of last year, but on the reverse side of the expectations game. Whittington can't break out of the 4th or 5th option on offense and while his defensive ability remains steady, the pieces around him don't combine for as high quality a product as last year. His shot remains streaky, causing the Hoyas to lean on the likes of DSR or Stephen Domingo for 3 point looks and his 4.3 points per game only ticks up marginally.