Progress Reports: The Good and Bad of Your Georgetown Hoyas So Far

USA TODAY Sports

A look at each player's ups and downs entering Big East play.

With just one game in three weeks, the scheduling gods have allowed us working stiff bloggers a bit of time to reflect on Georgetown's non-conference slate. There's been plenty of action already, enough to find the good, bad, and ugly in each of the Hoyas' play. This is the first of a two-part recap of each player on the roster, with particular emphasis on what each Hoya (at least the ten who have logged more than 20 minutes on the season) has done well and areas for improvement as the schedule transitions to conference play. Today, we'll focus on the backcourt, with the bigger players coming in a later post. Because JTIII abolished all positions by coaching edict, some of the divisions are arbitrary.

Markel Starks.

Basic stats: 11.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.4 stl pg, 44.1 3FG%.

Wizard stats (courtesy of Hoya Prospectus): 56.9 TS%; 55 eFG%; O Rtg 108.4, D Rtg 87.3.

One year after playing off the ball next to senior Jason Clark, Starks has become the backcourt focus, for the most part effectively. His three-point percentage and assist rates have improved, as has his defense, which was a bit inconsistent last year.

What he's done well. Three-point shooting and passing. Starks's long-distance shooting has continued to improve. After a twelve-point jump in three-point accuracy from his errant freshman season to last season, Starks has led the team in made three pointers and three-point accuracy (a nearly five-point bump from last year's non-conference play). For a team that has failed to make even one-third of its three balls thus far, Starks has been a valuable outside threat. It's also worth noting that, while Starks will never be a true point guard, his assist rate has jumped nearly six points from the same point last year, an encouraging development for a sometimes drought-plagued Hoya offense.

What he needs to improve. Offensive consistency. Starks averages 11 points per game but has scored within three points of that average (between 8 and 14 points) in just three of the Hoyas' 11 games. He's scored four or fewer points three times (Liberty, Tennessee, and Towson); coincidentally or not, the Hoyas won each game by single digits, with the latter two being offensive eyesores. Finding ways into the seams of opposing zones should be a particular focus of Starks's moving forward. On the other hand, Starks scored 20 or more in both games in Brooklyn, and notched 17 against Longwood. Free throw rate is a particular issue, as Starks went to the line just twice total in his three lowest-scoring outings, while earning a comparatively robust seven free throws in the three highest-scoring games.

Greg Whittington.

Basic stats: 12.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 stl pg, 0.8 blk pg.

Wizard stats: 52.9 TS%; 51.7 eFG%; 98.4 O Rtg, 81.8 D Rtg.

A guard only nominally, Whittington has thrived (with one major exception) while transitioning from complementary player to a semi-star. He has been a menace defensively, particularly when the Hoyas have employed their full-court press. And he's proven to be Georgetown's best rebounder (non-Otto Porter division). He's even becoming a better passer, particularly in transition. Only a prolonged shooting slump has marred an otherwise breakout sophomore campaign.

What he's done well. Defending and crashing the boards. Whittington has been an absolute workhorse this year, playing more than 35 minutes per game while thriving in the areas of the game that require the most effort. Of course, his length (!!) help in both rebounding and defending, particularly as the point on the Hoyas' increasingly effective press. Overall, Cool Whit has been essentially Porter-lite, rating second to Otto in points, rebounds (including defensive rebound percentage), and steals.

What he needs to improve. Three-point shooting. Despite leading the Hoyas by a wide margin in three-point attempts, Whittington shot just 29 percent from three through eleven games, bottoming out with a 2-of-17 stretch from deep over the course of four games. While his outside shooting is vitally important, I'm not terribly worried about its improvement for two reasons. First, his shooting from last year suggests that he's much better than he has been this year; also, his problems this year seem to be a slump rather than, for example, an injury. A few long days in the gym hoisting jumper after jumper should cure what ails him, and already may have done so, given his 50 percent clip in the last two games.

Jabril Trawick.

Basic stats: 5.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.9 stl pg, 35.3 3FG%.

Wizard stats: 57.2 TS%; 54.3 eFG%; 101.4 O Rtg, 84.9 D Rtg.

Like his classmates Whittington and Mikael Hopkins, Trawick has earned a steep step up this year, advancing from 8th man to a borderline starter. The returns have been mostly positive.

What he's done well. Playing a role. Trawick is an effective, relatively efficient player, doing nearly everything fairly well without excelling at any one aspect of the game. He's second on the team in both effective field goal percentage and (in a tie with Porter) true shooting percentage, the latter of which takes free throws into account; in other words, he converts the scoring opportunities presented to him. And on defense, Trawick is a strong positional defender and a very good rebounder for a guard.

What he needs to maintain. Three-point shooting. Remembering Trawick's subpar outside shooting from last season and shaky start this year, I had this mentally slated for the "needs to improve" category. But, after making all three of his attempts over the past two games, ‘Bril is making a very respectable 35% from deep this year. His outside shooting helps space the offense without the defensive compromises of playing either of the freshmen listed below. Trawick doesn't need to be lights-out from deep, but does need to be good enough to keep defenses honest.

What he needs to improve. Being a play-maker. Among the regulars, Trawick has the second-lowest assist rate, ahead of only fellow guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. While Georgetown's offense turns both front- and back-court players into playmakers, Trawick needs to play a more active role in setting up his teammates.

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

Basic stats: 5.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.5 stl pg, 37 3FG%.

Wizard stats: 54 TS%; 47.8 eFG%; 104.6 O Rtg, 89.1 D Rtg.

DSR had a dramatic introduction to his Hoya career, netting 19 and 11 points in his first two games, wins over Duquesne and Liberty, respectively. But the freshman's minutes and production plateaued, and his questionable defense has detracted from his offensive exploits. None of his flaws are irremediable, and many are common of freshmen.

What he's done well. Score. DSR has a nose for shots, and, on his better days, points as well. Even when his shooting stroke has been inconsistent, Smith-Rivera has drawn fouls at a high rate, earning the third-most free throws on the team in far fewer minutes. And, compared to the anemic production of the rest of the reserves, DSR has been positively on fire.

What he needs to improve. Well, given that he's a freshman, a lot. The two biggest items probably are defense and shot selection. On defense, he's been downright flammable. Some of his problems relate to positioning and tracking his man, common issues with first-year players (like his classmate Domingo), while others may be attributable to the fact that he lacks the seven-foot wing span of many of the other regulars. On offense, he's still learning the difference between a good shot and everything else. He's hoisted up more than a few contested mid-range jumpers off the dribble; against zones, he's particularly prone to shooting threes out of rhythm (without a kick-out or ball reversal that would give him some space).

Stephen Domingo.

Basic stats: 2.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg, 0.7 apg, 0.3 stl pg.

Wizard stats: 37.9 TS%; 37.5 eFG%; 85.4 O Rtg, 89.3 D Rtg.

Domingo is a year young to be a freshman, and looks it, struggling to do the one thing for which he's known (shooting) and to affect the game in other ways. He in some ways seems anonymous, not screwing up too much but not making many good plays either. Despite Domingo's sometimes minimal impact on the game, I always know when he's out there. Maybe it's the high-waisted shorts.

What he's done well. Not screwing up. Domingo has missed more than his share of outside shots, making just 2 of 16 from deep thus far. But he hasn't turned the ball over much, tallying seven assists against just two turnovers, and hasn't forced too many shots, at least inside the arc.

What he needs to improve. Finding ways to affect the game when his shot isn't falling. Domingo has grabbed just 3 rebounds in 86 minutes, and hasn't done much of note on the defensive end. He also hasn't found many shots inside the arc, taking just eight two-pointers thus far. Much of that improvement may be a year away, but Domingo needs it now to justify the minutes he's receiving.

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