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Progress Reports: The Good and Bad of Georgetown's Front Court

Part Two of Our Mid-Season Player Reviews


Having already taken a look at the progress of Georgetown's back-court, and with a few days of filler remaining before Georgetown opens Big East play at Marquette, it's time to assess the work of the front court.

Otto Porter.

Basic stats: 13.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 3.2 apg, 2.2 stl pg, 1.4 blk pg, 51 FG%, 43.5 3FG%

Wizard stats (courtesy of Hoya Prospectus): 57.2 TS%; 55.9 eFG%; 20.5 D Reb%; 21.5 Asst Rate; 116.9 O Rtg, 77.2 D Rtg.

Otto largely has fulfilled the sky-high preseason expectations. He's currently first on the team in average points, rebounds, steals, blocks, and assists, even counting the game against Duquesne that he left after six minutes because of a head injury. He's also been the model of consistency, scoring in double figures in eight of the nine games he's finished, and filling the stat sheet in each outing as well.

What he's done well. Almost everything. As he was last year, Porter is an ace defender and an efficient scorer. He's also developed two aspects of his game this year. His jump shot is far more reliable than last year, as he's nearly doubled his three-point percentage. Also, with his much more central role in Georgetown's offense this year, he's become an increasingly effective passer, particularly in high-low sets in which he feeds Nate Lubick or Mikael Hopkins.

What he needs to improve. It's hard to find much fault with the team's best offensive and defensive player, but I'll try. Despite his improved outside shooting, his free-throw stroke has been off so far, as he's converted just 64 percent from the charity stripe. That number likely will rebound with more attempts. He also could stand to be more selfish: his usage rate is a mere 20.9, meaning that he's not possessing the ball much more than the hypothetical average player. In particular, he still doesn't create much offense off the dribble, largely staying within the confines of the offense. While the Hoyas' offensive struggles aren't Porter's fault, he could ameliorate them a bit if he finds ways to be even more excellent.

Nate Lubick.

Basic stats: 7.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.1 stl pg, 0.8 blk pg, 59.6 FG%.

Wizard stats: 63.7 TS%; 59.6 eFG%; 27.1 TO%; 108.8 O Rtg, 84.4 D Rtg.

Lubick has improved on a disappointing sophomore campaign, earning increased playing time with better shooting and ever-improving post defense. He's also just a hair behind Porter in assists per game, though his passing also results in a team-high turnover rate.

What he's done well. Facilitating the offense. Lubick clearly understands the various reads in Georgetown's offense and executes better than anyone save Porter. Lubick's confidence in making those passes, even when misplaced, is welcome compared to Mikael Hopkins's hesitation in similar situations. He also picks his scoring spots well, shooting nearly 65 percent from the field (though his occasional, optimistic threes elicit groans across Hoya nation).

What he needs to improve. Protecting the ball. Lubick's passing isn't all good, as he often forces the ball into tight or non-existent windows. Particularly as the competition stiffens, he'll need to reduce the miscues.

Mikael Hopkins

Basic stats: 8.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.2 stl pg, 1.1 blk pg, 2.4 TO pg, 41.1 FG%.

Wizard stats: 28.4 Usg.; 46.4 TS%; 23.4 TO%; 83.7 O Rtg.; 83.3 D Rtg.

Hopkins easily is the most controversial player on the Georgetown roster. As detailed brilliantly before, Hopkins is using the rock at an extremely high rate, even for a Georgetown big man. But he hasn't been particularly efficient with all those possessions, to say the least.

What he's done well. Fouling and getting fouled. The first is sarcastic, but it's truly amazing how often there's a whistle either in favor of or against Hopkins. In the against column, Hopkins gets called for more fouls per 40 minutes than any two other Hoyas combined. He actually is a competent defender, though he fouls so frequently that it's hard to credit him too much. On the other end, Hopkins gets fouled at a top 20 rate nationally--which makes sense, given how often the ball is in his hands--and has shot more free throws than any two other Hoyas combined. The problem comes with making those free throws, as Hopkins has made just 58 percent of his attempts, though he's been better of late.

What he needs to improve. Lots. I'll stick to the broad topic of decision-making, including the number, the speed and the substance of the decisions. Hopkins has the ball way too much. He leads the team in turnovers and shoots about 50 percent more frequently but far less accurately than Jabril Trawick in a comparable number of minutes. He also stops the ball when he gets it, slowing down an offense that already struggles to score points. In some ways, the improvement needs to come from the coaching staff, which needs to structure sets so that Hopkins is placed where he can succeed. But regardless, his rather extreme statistical profile needs to change, soon.

Moses Ayegba

Basic stats: 1.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.5 blk pg.

Wizard stats: 45.5 TS%; 50 eFG%; 20.8 O Reb%, 11.0 blk%, 78.7 O Rtg, 89.2 D Rtg.

Now returned from a torn ACL that kept him out last season, Ayegba has been a spot defense-and-rebounding role player. He's already played more than in the entirety of his first season, showing some basic promise but also demonstrating that he's far away from being a full-time contributor.

What he's done well. Block shots and rebound. Ayegba isn't asked to do much, but he's shown decent promise at doing what he's billed to do, swatting opposing shots, particularly in blocking his man's shot (as opposed to through help defense) and crashing the boards.

What he needs to improve. Defensive positioning. Ayegba really needs to improve on offense, but any such progress likely will be a long time coming, only with aid of hard work during the off-season. More immediately, Ayegba needs to work on defensive positioning, particularly in help situations. Given Hopkins's foul trouble, Ayegba may be called upon against the larger Big East front lines, and Georgetown's defense can't afford for him to be floating or inattentive.

Aaron Bowen

Basic stats: 1.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg.

Wizard stats: 73.6 O Rtg, 89.5 D Rtg.

Yet again, Bowen can scarcely get off the pine, struggling to earn minutes outside of garbage time.

What he's done well. Playing with energy. Bowen's energy particularly manifests itself on the glass, where he rebounds at a decently high rate. He's grabbed twice as many rebounds as Stephen Domingo in one third of the minutes. The two players' relatively similar positions and similarly underwhelming statistical profiles raises the question of why Domingo is playing so much more than Bowen. Presumably, JTIII is investing in the future (although Bowen has just one fewer season of eligibility left than Domingo), or betting that Domingo's shot will start falling.

What he needs to improve. Playing within the offense. Bowen tends to jack up the first shot he can, an understandable habit given the few minutes he's granted. These hurried attempts are generally low-risk, as Bowen usually plays only when the game already decided. But he may need to prove that he can play during the higher-risk minutes, by using those offensive possessions a bit more judiciously. Showing that he can play within the offense could help his case for more minutes.