Our Pullitzer-Winning Player Profiles Series approaches its dramatic conclusion. Previous entries in this oeuvre have focused on Moses Ayegba, Jabril Trawick, Aaron Bowen, Mikael Hopkins, D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Bradley Hayes, Stephen Domingo, Reggie Cameron. Only three more posts until Player Profiles joins Hemingway and Faulkner in the canon of American literature.
The two biggest questions surrounding this year's Georgetown Hoyas probably are: who plays small forward?; and what happens if one of the veteran guard trio gets injured? If the answer to either question is uncertain, John Caprio, David Allen, and newcomer Riyan Williams, who like most walk-ons have have been afterthoughts, could see meaningful minutes.
Caprio's Last Season's Statistics: 14 games played, 2.3 min. pg, 0.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 apg
Allen's Last Season's Statistics: 4 games played, 1.3 min. pg, 1 ppg
Williams's Statistics: n/a
Coming into last year, both Caprio and Allen did not figure to contribute much to the team's success or failure. And for the most part, that was true. But such were the tickle-down effects of Greg Whittington's ineligibility that even Caprio caught a glimpse of real playing time. After logging just 13 minutes through the season's first 17 games, the New Jersey native suddenly was on the court early against visitors from his home state, Seton Hall. With the game still in doubt, Caprio took the court late in the first half, and produced, netting 4 points, grabbing 6 rebounds, and dropping a pair of assists, all of which set or equaled personal records.
The Hoyas coasted to a 22-point win over the Pirates, but Caprio's minutes didn't end there. With Georgetown struggling in the first half of an eventual loss at Villanova, JT3 again inserted Caprio in the first half. This time, the results were less auspicious, as the junior promptly turned the ball over, committed a foul, then missed a jumper before getting a quick hook. Thereafter, Caprio returned to a more familiar role, playing only in clean-up time. That's the most Allen saw all season, playing five minutes in four games, canning a three-pointer and a free throw in all.
Caprio's dalliance with the rotation seemed to be at best temporary, that is, until Whittington again became unavailable, this time with an ACL tear. With Otto Porter also unavailable, and with Aaron Bowen and Stephen Domingo unproven, could Caprio see an uptick in playing time in his senior year?
Kenner League largely reinforced what we already knew. Caprio was productive all around the court, scoring occasionally while rebounding and passing well and giving consistent effort, something of a rare commodity at Kenner. For his part, Allen was mostly an undersized long-distance gunner, and didn't look much like a future rotation player. Kenner also gave rise to the rumor that local product Riyan Williams would join Caprio and Allen as walk-ons this season, perhaps as extra insurance for a thin back-court. That rumor reportedly was confirmed at the Hoyas' recent media day. Still, Williams probably is the least likely to play even among the sparingly used walk-ons.
Walk-ons generally are a break-in-case-of-emergency(-or-blowout) proposition. Last season, Caprio saw sporadic time because Whittington was injured and someone needed to be the back-up small forward. Domingo obviously wasn't ready, and Bowen had his ups and downs. As a result, JT3 experimented with the hard-playing Caprio, whose obvious limitations eventually landed him back on the bench.
Even with a shorter rotation, the likelihood is that we won't see much of Caprio or Allen this season, at least when games are still in doubt. And, if we do see much of Caprio or Allen this season, the odds are that something will have gone wrong, particularly on the wing or in the back-court.
Caprio, Allen, and Williams remain spirited practice players and devoted teammates whose playing time merely punctuates blowout wins. Caprio gets some extra home-state minutes at Seton Hall and an honorary starting position on senior night, but has so successfully driven Bowen and Domingo to new heights that they far outpace his production on the court. Georgetown's small forward conundrum is solved. Allen and Williams hound the starting back-court in practice, leading to Markel Starks earning Big East Player of the Year, DSR being named All-BE Second Team, and Jabril Trawick the league's defensive player of the year.
The entire scholarship back-court, Domingo, and Bowen all catch a six-month flu, leading to a starting rotation of Allen, Caprio, and Williams flanking an experienced front court. Cynicism reigns supreme, and even the delusional dare not hope for an NIT berth. Somewhere, Jeremiah Rivers cackles.