Yes we lost, and no one likes to lose, but I was incredibly encouraged by our performance against Oregon. There's plenty to be improved on, but I saw so much potential in this team. I am here to tell you this team is going to be really, really, really good. Like Big East champions, 3rd weekend of the NCAA's good. Let's remember this was the first game of the season. Georgetown will improve in a lot of the areas where they were deficient.
What has me so enthusiastic after a loss? (Besides my well documented delusion?). Our offense! Specifically the tweaks to the offense. We saw lots of things that many have been clamoring for for years. Driving! Markel Starks and Jabril Trawick especially clearly had the green light to drive the ball and attack the basket, something that has not been a part of Georgetown's offense in years' past. This is especially big in light of the new defensive rules. Not only were they driving, but they were driving successfully. This is huge not only for adding a new element to our attack, but it further benefits another new tweak to the offense: Offensive rebounding! The Hoyas pulled down 14 offensive rebounds and scored 20 second chance points. Last year the Hoyas were 219th in offensive rebounding so this is a huge improvement.
The Hoyas were 1/15 from three point range and we still barely lost this game. The Hoyas are not going to shoot that poorly all season. Especially not with all the attention that Joshua Smith attracts. Speaking of Joshua Smith: WOW! I don't think anyone could've asked for more. Not only was he a presence on the block he was a great facilitator. He opens things up for drivers, cutters, and three point shooters. Our offense is going to be really good with him.
Now I know there have been concerns about our defense after the first game. Our defense was not the flawless suffocating force it was last year, but it certainly was not that bad either. A large part of the 82 points given up were due to the new rules emphasis. One of two things will happen: 1) the team and teams in general will adapt and not foul as much, or 2) the refs will give up and stop calling all those fouls. Those are the two options. There is no option where the refs call 60-70 fouls a game the entire year. It just won't happen. Also let's be clear we held Oregon to 29% FG% in the first half, 27% from 3 for the game. We also only allowed 18 points in the paint. Not only that we only allowed an Oregon team that played at a very fast past 2 points in transition. The defense will improve as the season progresses as will the rebounding.
Markel Starks: 16 points, 4 assists, 3-3 from FT line, and 118 offensive rating. Markel started off slowly in the game, but really stepped it up as the game progressed. He posted a 2:1 Assist/Turnover ratio and hit Georgetown's lone three pointer
Joshua Smith: 25 points 4 rebounds 2 assists 1 block 0 turnovers an eye popping 151 offensive rating. I can't over emphasize how great Joshua's performance was. He's unstoppable. He's going to make this team and this offense so much better.
Mikael Hopkins: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 0 turnovers, 4-5 FT line an offensive rating of 132! Where did this Mikael Hopkins come from? He rebounded, he was efficient, he didn't turn over the ball, he made his free throws! If we get this Hopkins all year watch out.
Jabril Trawick: 11 points 3 rebounds 1 block. As I noted above there was a lot more driving by our guards in this game. Jabril did a great job getting into the lane and finishing through traffic and or drawing fouls. He got to the line 7 times.
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera: 5pts 2 rebounds 2 assists 1 steal. Not the start we were all hoping for, but don't give up on D'Vauntes yet. He will have a break out season and average double digit points. The development of more guard driving will help open up D'Vauntes' game by making him multi-dimensional and not just a jump shooter.
Nate Lubick: 3 points 6 rebounds 2 blocks and a steal. Nate did a great job on the defensive glass not only hauling in 6 defensive boards but also blocking out and for that matter blocking shots.
Aaron Bowen: 3 points 5 rebounds 2 steals 2 assists. You have to love when Aaron flies out of nowhere to stuff home a put back. He didn't hit his threes, but he looks more comfortable out there and was rebounding, passing, and getting in passing lanes.
The rest of the team (Stephen Domingo, Moses Ayegba, Reggie Cameron, and John Caprio) didn't get a full enough run (8, 6, 6, and 1 minutes respectively) to give a complete evaluation, but it was great to see the coach given time to eleven players in a close competitive game. Yes some of that was due to foul trouble, but certainly this was not the only factor.
It would've been nice to get the win, but this Hoyas team is going places, believe that! Joshua's performance put the fear of God into all our Big East opponents. Our offensive tweaks are going to make us very difficult to guard. I mean we put up 75 points with only hitting one three pointer. If someone told you we'd go 1-15 from 3 honestly how many points would you have guessed we scored? 60? 50? 40? Certainly not over 70. The season as young and hopes are high. Bring on Wright State!