With just over three weeks to go until the Georgetown Hoyas open the college basketball season against Savannah State, join us as we embark on a series of player profiles to help you get to know all of the student athletes on the current roster. Today we begin our journey with the freshmen, which seems like a very good place to start. First up is Greg Whittington, a local product who is expected to have an immediate impact on the 2011-12 Hoyas.
Whittington, pictured here in China. via www.thegeorgetowndish.com
Greg Whittington turned heads when he was named the All-Met player of the year despite playing in a basketball league that is basically the out-of-shape, awkward cousin to the DMV's powerhouse conferences that produced the like of Austin Freeman and Mikael Hopkins. Though Greg averaged 24 PPG, 12 RPG, 4 APG and 3 BPG, 40% 3FG 60% FG in high school, the buzz around Whittington never really picked up, especially as most the spotlight fell on a similarly built (read: tall, very thin) and more highly touted recruit, Otto Porter, who committed to Georgetown shortly after Greg did (and it warms my heart that despite potential competition over minutes, Whittington takes credit for recruiting Porter)
Expectations and Projections after The Jump:
The expectations for Whittington have been steadily increasing, mostly due to an impressive showing in this summer's Kenner League. The narrow shouldered player didn't cut an imposing figure at Kenner, but he slowly revealed a multi-faceted game, and recently JT3 touted him as a freshman to watch. The key to framing expectations for Whittington is to realize he's a true two-guard. Not a two guard in the way Hollis Thompson is (as in "that's the only way he'll be an NBA player, so he better become a two guard"), but Whittington is a natural fit for the position. He's spends most of his time on the perimeter, thrives in the fast break, has a solid handle and uses long, almost gliding strides to produce deceptive speed from his 6'9 frame. His length allows him to stay with quicker guards and his help defense from the wings is phenomenal. Similarly, he's a good three point jump shooter (probably the best form of any in the incoming class – I doubt his 40% from three was a fluke), but he has a chance to be special because it's difficult to bother his shot at that height. He might take a few years to develop, but Whittington could be the most explosive offensive player in the Hoya's freshman class.
Whittington just doesn't have the strength to fight for rebounds and he will struggle to keep up with Big East guards. His three point shooting can be streaky and he'll struggle to earn enough minutes to steady out his play. If he loses precious few minutes in the rotation to Aaron Bowen, he'll could be stuck on the pine and find himself on the transfer watch list.
Whittington is the quintessential nightmare match-up. If he's on the floor as a two guard with Hollis or Otto as the other wing, he's almost certainly going to tower over his defender. He can punish smaller players inside with a polished game that includes a smooth floater and he could be terrifyingly good as a spot up shooter. Despite an abundance of players at the wing, Whittington will carve out a steady spot in the rotation. His skill level and high ceiling force JT3 to invest time developing him early in his carrer – and he provides in return a few "WOW" games that mark him a future star. And we start calling him Greg and no one thinks Monroe.