A new season of high hopes and big disappoints lie ahead of us as we enter the 2008-09 Georgetown Men's College Basketball season. The fate of the season lies on the broad shoulders of one Greg Monroe, who dropped precipitously in the rankings since being crowned the best high school basketball player in the country just over a year ago. Interestingly, the drop in the rankings coincided with his commitment to Georgetown and subsequent dismissal of Duke's valiant, and most certainly illegal, courtship of the young lad. And they say there is no media bias... The drop in rankings also has to do with Mr. Monroe having an atrocious senior season, but let's just overlook that fact.
This introductory posting will have the normal cynical, chicken-little rants as you have come to expect from anyone forced to endure the Esherick Era, so let me start off with some good news. Billy Packer is no longer employed by CBS. Hip Hip Hooray (or is it Hip Hop Hooray? Damn Naughty by Nature messing with my mind).
Now on to the fun stuff! The last time Georgetown played a game without Jonathan Wallace as a starter, the team, under the helms of the aforementioned Esherick, lost to Boston College by 11 points in the First Round of the Big East Tournament. That also happened to be the first time since 1974 that Georgetown was not invited to a post season tournament. Tis a shame those two sentences were never mentioned to Mr. D. Pierce Nixon before he penned this masterpiece.
So what does this mean for this young, inexperienced Georgetown team? Well folks, expect a lot of scratching your head, throwing your hands up in the air and violently yelling "Why the F is Jeremiah in the game," only to be reminded that young Jerry is no longer on the team. Speaking of which, Rivers went to the now completely irrelevant Indiana Hoosiers. That is the equivalent me going to working for the Treasury Department (oh snap what now Paulson?).
The last time I wrote to you all I ended with a warning to the 2007-08 Hoyas that if they did not rebound, take care of the ball and hit free throws, they could be looking at a very early exit from the NCAA Tournament. Tis a shame they did not listen. Not to be a downer but I am a firm believer that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. So let's recap the highlights of that game. Senior captain Roy "How the Hell is he in the NBA" Hibbert scored 6 points, had 1 rebound, 1 assist, and attempted 1 free throw (which he missed). Doesn't sound like the line of a leader but hold your horses sports fans, he did lead the team in fouls and turnovers. Patrick "Soon to be on Dancing with the Stars" Ewing Jr. had an equally impressive game scoring 2 points, grabbing 2 rebounds and missing 2 free throws. Remarkably, the team was not out rebounded by the smaller and weaker Davidson squad (about even on the boards), but they did turn the ball over five times as much. And Davidson did get to the line nearly twice as much and made three times as many free throws. You know you are in trouble when Vernon "Return of the Mack" Macklin had the second highest free throw percentage on the team (by the way, Vernon shot an astonishing 25% from the line that year - have fun with that Billy Donovan). Just to clarify, they are called free throws because they are free points. If you were supposed to be any harder than that, they would be called "Take Your Best Shot" throws, or "You're a Winner as Long as you Play Hard" throws.
Enough of that, let's talk this season.
(1) We have the toughest OOC schedule we have ever had under JT3.
Home against Memphis, away at Cameron and neutral site games against Wichita State and two of the following: Tennessee, Siena, Maryland, Michigan State, Oklahoma State or Gonzaga. We also play Savannah State, coached by Georgetown alum and member of the 1984 championship team, Horace Broadnax. I threw that in there as a feel good story. We have a chance to play Maryland, something Hoya and Turd, I mean Terp fans have been whining about for 15 years. Special shout out to Gary Williams, the only coach to EVER increase his team's graduation rate by an indeterminable percentage. That's right; it is so high that it is mathematically impossible to calculate it! No men's basketball player on scholarship enrolled at Maryland between 1997 and 2000 graduated in six years. Between the years of 1998 and 2001, a whopping 10% graduated! Way to go Gary, maybe you can stop sweating so much now.
(2) We have the youngest team we have ever had under JT3.
1 senior on scholarship - Jesse "[I have a nickname but I think it is too mean]" Sapp (Bryon "Everyone Thinks My Name is Byron" Jansen does not count).
1 junior - Dajuan "No Ones Knows What You Did Last Summer" Summers.
1 sophomore who played in more than half the games last year - Austin "Arms of Oli, Height of Pardo" Freeman.
7 other sophomore and freshman players.
(3) We have the toughest stretch of games to start a Big East season we have ever had under JT3.
We start out the season against with UConn, Pitt, ND, Prov, Cuse and WV. All six of those teams can make the NCAA Tournament this year (yup, Providence has a shot). But don't worry; we have an OOC game scheduled in between Cuse and WV. It is just a small game against Duke, at Cameron.
There is a lot that can be said about these three things but general consensus is that when you have a hard OOC schedule, you should have a relatively light conference schedule (see Memphis). When you have a young team, you should have a challenging but not discouraging overall schedule. Looks like all things are working against us this season.
What to expect on the court: We are quick. Don't expect us to pass around the perimeter for 30 seconds and throw up a Hail Mary three pointer. That being said, also expect a LOT more turnovers, especially from the back court. I said the season depends on Monroe but in reality it depends on Chris Wright. He is the wild card in this equation; teams will put pressure on Sapp knowing he cannot create his own shot and double down on Summers. If JT3 spreads the offense and encourages penetration and kick outs we have a fighting chance. We know how to spread the court, but we don't know how to beat people off the dribble. A huge thing working against us is the fact that the three point line has been moved back this season. Creates more spacing inside for big bruiser teams (UConn and Pitt), a greater competitive advantage for sharp shooting teams (ND) but it just moves our "pass around the perimeter" offense even further away from the basket than in previous years.
The conference is just too big, too quick, too talented and too good to say we have a chance to finish better than what Big East coaches predicted us to finish, 7th. Just take a look at the preseason Coaches' Poll. Two Big East teams in top 5, four in top 10, seven in top 25 and a total of nine receiving votes. That is the most any conference has ever gotten.
On another note, now that I am here in DC, and shall be attending games, look for me to fight Doug Gottlieb.
It's alright if you disagree with anything I have said above. I will just laugh at you for being stupid.
Welcome back to the best time of year folks.