With Midnight Madness in the rearview mirror, actual games are next on the Georgetown basketball horizon. To get you ready for the November 15th tip-off, we'll be rolling out previews of each of this season's Georgetown Hoyas. As always, this hallowed tradition begins with this year's non-scholarship Hoyas, David Allen and Riyan Williams.
Allen: 10 games played, 1.7 min. pg, .3 ppg, .2 rpg, .1 apg
Williams: 1 min. played, 0 pts, 0 reb., 0 assts., 0 stl., 0 blk., 0 PF, 0 TO....
Last year proved to be more eventful in walk-on land than any of us expected. Before the season, I wrote the following in a preview of the walk-ons: "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."
Well, a lot of somethings went wrong on the wing. Greg Whittington was injured and then booted from the program, Jabril Trawick had to miss some games with a broken jaw, Aaron Bowen and Reggie Cameron had their respective flaws exposed by increased playing time, and Stephen Domingo still looked like he came to college at least a year too early.
So, Caprio got to play way more than any of us wanted or hoped. Excepting some overtime heroics at Butler, this was not good, as Caprio was more a likeable bench personality than a valuable on-court contributor.
This is not a criticism of Caprio. Rather, it's a reminder that non-scholarship players are usually only pressed into service in an emergency. The gaping hole at small forward was such an emergency, and Caprio tried to fill it for a while.
Things were a bit better, if not deeper, in the back-court. There, Markel Starks and D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera were responsible for whatever success the Hoyas had, pouring in about half the Hoyas' offense in any game. As a result, neither of Caprio's two walk-on understudies saw much action. Allen didn't play in any game with a final margin of under 15 points, and never played more than the 4 minutes he saw in the Hoyas' 35-point drubbing of High Point. Williams got in for a minute of mop-up duty in the Hoyas' blowout loss at Villanova. He didn't do anything during that time, ensuring his induction into the Georgetown chapter of Club Trillion.
And that's how it should be. Caprio's increased role last season is a sign of poor roster construction and unforeseen absences, not the logical fourth step after three seasons as a walk-on. Allen, Williams, Caprio, or whoever is a lot more fun jacking up last-minute threes in a one-sided win over a mid-major non-conference opponent than trying to protect a last-minute lead against Marquette.
This year, Georgetown loses Starks but adds freshmen Tre Campbell and LJ Peak in the back-court. (Both Peak and Trawick should see time on the wing as well, but on this roster it makes sense to think of them as guards.) Increased depth will mean decreased odds that Allen and Williams see meaningful playing time in their junior seasons.
Allen and Williams continue to be hard-nosed practice players who contribute positively to the team's chemistry and inspire their more heralded back-court mates to work ever harder. The rotation guards mop the floor with one opponent after another, allowing their walk-on brethren to appear in 20 or more games. Trey Mourning joins this duo as a three-headed human victory cigar, checking in only when a win is secured (and hopefully never in a loss). Allen continues to fire away from long range, spoiling one or two spreads in the process. Allen scores double-figure points, putting Caprio's 27 career points within reach, and Williams gets on the board.
Injuries deplete the back-court and we see meaningful minutes from Allen and Williams. The Hoyas once again end up in the NIT. Sigh.