For the uninitiated, the annual ritual officially designated as the Nike Pro City Jabbo Kenner College/Pro Summer League is an NCAA-sanctioned summer league played at Georgetown's McDonough Arena. Hoyas past, present, and future take part, though the Georgetown faithful devote the most energy looking for development from next season's roster. NCAA regulations prevent the entire team from playing together, leaving the freshmen typically to play for a Tombs-sponsored team and the returning players playing on other squads with at most one other Hoya. Games are of varying quality (like Kenner League's hot dogs), and characterized by and up-and-down, loose style (like your stomach after ingesting said hot dogs).
So, Kenner League 2013 is set to begin, what do we know? Well the schedule is available, in Comic Sans, no less, and shows "regular season" games for the next five weekends, followed by playoffs on August 4, 10, and 11.
From GU Hoyas:
Georgetown players will be spread out among six teams in the 12-team league, which will feature two divisions, one called Air and the other Flight.
The team's two most experienced players, rising senior Markel Starks (Washington, D.C./Georgetown Prep) and rising senior forward Nate Lubick (Southborough, Mass./St. Mark's) will play for DCX.
Rising senior John Caprio (North Caldwell, N.J./Seton Hall Prep) will lead Symonds All-Stars, while Aaron Bowen (Jacksonville, Fla./QEA [N.C.]) and rising sophomore David Allen (Dallas, Texas/) will play for A. Wash Associates.
Juniors Mikael Hopkins (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) and Jabril Trawick (Philadelphia, Pa./Abington Friends) will play for Team Takeover, while Moses Ayegba (Kano, Nigeria/Progressive Christian [Md.]) will play for OnPoint.
Sophomores Stephen Domingo (San Francisco, Calif./St. Ignatius) and Bradley Hayes (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) will play for Clyde's. That squad will also feature former Georgetown standout Jonathan Wallace (C'08) for most of the season, though Wallace will not be playing this weekend.
The roster for The Tombs will include sophomore guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Mouth of Wilson, Va./Oak Hill Academy) along with transfer Josh Smith (Kent, Wash./Kentwood/UCLA) and incoming freshman Reggie Cameron (Paterson, N.J./Hudson Catholic).
Let's review a few key plot lines to consider during Kenner League.
- Who is the Hoyas' Small Forward? Georgetown has three proven guards for next season and a stable of bigs. However, a torn ACL has sidelined presumptive starting small forward Greg Whittington for the bulk, if not the entirety, of next season, leaving three wings who range from unproven to completely green. Aaron Bowen, Stephen Domingo, and Reggie Cameron are all candidates to play small forward, and none can be said to have claimed the spot based on past performance.
- Bowen is the veteran of the trio, but has been inconsistent in productivity and focus during limited playing time. Can he tighten up his jumper while contributing consistently on both ends?
- Domingo was recruited based on his long-distance shooting ability, but struggled as a 17-year-old freshman. Did a year of seasoning give him renewed confidence in his jumper, and did he learn to affect the game in other ways?
- Cameron also is a sniper from three, perhaps even more so than Domingo. But is he agile and strong enough to compete in all facets of the game at the college level? And is he a small forward at all, or just a sharp-shooting power forward, as many scouting reports suggest?
- Who can score in the post? Georgetown potentially has five bigs on next year's roster: Nate Lubick, Mikael Hopkins, Moses Ayegba, Josh Smith, and Bradley Hayes. There's no guarantee that any of them will provide scoring punch for the Hoyas next season.
- Smith seems like the most likely offensive contributor, but questions persist about how much eligibility he has left after his transfer from UCLA, whether he will use any of that eligibility this season, and whether he is in shape enough to contribute regularly.
- Lubick has proven a willing distributor and occasional scorer in his first three seasons; as a senior, will he work the kinks out of his mid-range jumper and become a full-fledged offensive option?
- Hopkins has been a decent post defender, but precious little on offense or on the boards, where a lack of strength is an obvious shortcoming. Will off-season work with Othella Harrington or the new coaches yield a more chiseled frame and a short-corner jumper?
- Ayegba carved out a role as a defense-and-rebounding specialist last season, but on offense largely was limited to finishing opportunities created by others. Will he flash a drop step or other new offensive wrinkle?
- Hayes remains a man of mystery. He played no meaningful minutes last season, sat out last year's Kenner League, and was a very late bloomer in high school after a growth spurt. What are his prospects for the year ahead? As an Ayegba-like defense-and-rebounding specialist? Will we see the germ of an offensive game?
- Will Markel Starks be the man? Starks has advanced one step per season, from unsteady freshman to contributing sophomore to featured junior. Until recently, his role didn't figure to change much as a senior, with no arriving freshman guards and, except for a switch at small forward, perhaps little change in the balance of scoring and minutes. But Greg Whittington's injury means that the Hoyas will be without their best defender, a very good rebounder, and, more relevant to Starks, one of their better scorers. Whittington's replacements in the lineup are unlikely to replace all of his scoring, meaning the points will have to come from elsewhere. As the Hoyas' leading returning scorer and distributor, will Starks now take the final step, to being a senior star? He should have no problem dominating the action in guard-centric Kenner League action.
- Will the other guards take a big step forward? Whittington's absence last season meant a big uptick in minutes for all of the rotation, especially for Jabril Trawick and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. The two guards both rewarded the increase in playing time, with Trawick becoming a defensive stopper and improving outside shooter, and Smith-Rivera replacing much of Whittington's scoring punch while also using his wide frame to grab a surprising haul of rebounds. Without Whittington or Porter for the season ahead, the focus again shifts to the back-court. For Trawick, the question is whether his outside shot has improved beyond 30 percent from three, to stretch opposing defenses. For his part, Smith-Rivera is a natural scorer who must learn to find open teammates. Given that both were underclassmen last season, significant improvement is a reasonable expectation.