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Josh Smith Ready to Roll

Georgetown big man cleared to play in season opener.

Stephen Dunn

Georgetown center Josh Smith has been cleared by the NCAA to play for Georgetown immediately and is eligible for both this season and the next.

As we all know by now, Smith transferred to Georgetown from UCLA after playing 6 games for the Bruins last season and sat out the second semester.  Georgetown had applied to the NCAA for a waiver to allow Smith to play this semester so that he wouldn't have to sit out a full year after transferring, and apparently that waiver was very well-written and convincing.  The NCAA clearing Smith is somewhat surprising, and most Hoyas fans had presumed at this point with the season slated to begin on November 8th that Smith would join the team in the second semester.

Last season Smith often played the role of well-dressed cheerleader on the bench during games while rumors of his being a beast in practices made us salivate like our fallen bulldog mascot.  He showed flashes in Kenner League this summer of being the big man presence that Georgetown lacked last season, and with news today of his clearance it looks like he'll be ready to roll in the Armed Forces Classic against familiar Pac-12 opponent Oregon on November 8th.

With Smith presumably slotted into the starting center spot, junior Mikael Hopkins will likely move to the bench, providing much-needed depth at both the 5 and his more natural 4 position.

Below is the official press release from Georgetown:

Georgetown's Joshua Smith Cleared by NCAA to Play Immediately

WASHINGTON - The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) announced today that it has granted the waiver request for Joshua Smith (Kent, Wash./Kentwood/UCLA) to be eligible to play immediately this season, beginning with the Hoyas season opener on Nov. 8 against Oregon in the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Humphreys in Seoul, South Korea.

Smith was also granted a Seasons of Competition waiver for the 2012-13 season in which he participated in six games at UCLA, which gives him two seasons of eligibility remaining (2013-14 and 2014-15).

"We are excited that the NCAA has approved the waiver for Joshua," Head Coach John Thompson III said. "Now, he has to maintain a high level of commitment on and off the court. He will provide a significant low-post presence for this team."

Smith transferred to Georgetown from UCLA in January and has been practicing with the team since his arrival.

He was a Pac-10 All-Freshman selection in 2010-11, playing in 33 games and making 15 starts for UCLA while averaging 10.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. As a sophomore in 2011-12, he started nine times and appeared in 32 games, averaging 9.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game.

The Hoyas open the 2013-14 season by competing against Oregon in the Armed Forces Classic at Camp Humphreys - a United States Army Base - in South Korea on Friday, Nov. 8 (ESPN, 8 p.m.).

Georgetown finished the 2012-13 season with a 25-7 record and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas won a share of the BIG EAST Regular Season Championship and were the No. 1 seed in the tournament after posting a 14-4 record in league play. The Hoyas were ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches' poll and closed out the regular season with 12 wins in 13 games.

This is the moment we've all been waiting for.

Watch out, Big East.

Hoya Saxa.