Outside of junior guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, this year's edition of the Georgetown Hoyas is rife with promise, but also uncertainty. The team is made up of a combination of highly touted youngsters and upperclassmen that have yet to fulfill their apparent potential. One of those upperclassmen is senior guard Jabril Trawick.
In high school, Trawick was a largely unheralded prospect. He was rated as a three or four-star recruit by most outlets, and entered Georgetown without high expectations or hype. However, in his three years on the hilltop, he has shown glimpses of great potential, as he has highlight-reel athleticism and a developing inside-out game. Still, Trawick has yet to put it all together for an entire year, as his junior season was thrown off track by an unfortunate jaw injury. Can Trawick become a more complete offensive player and help the Hoyas fill the void left by the graduated Markel Starks?
Last season's statistics: 26.3 mpg, 9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg, 51.9 FG%, 31.3 3P%
In his first two seasons, Trawick was mainly on the court as a physical defensive presence. He was nothing more than an ancillary role player on offense, rarely looking for his own shot and merely blending in alongside high-usage players like Otto Porter and Markel Starks. After the departure of Porter, Trawick was expected to assume a larger role, but there was uncertainty as to whether he would be able to assume that increased burden.
Trawick's junior season was a tale of two halves. In his first 14 games, he averaged 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, largely mediocre numbers for a player who had assumed a much more significant role in his first year as a starter. His three-point shot was nearly nonexistent, as he made only two of his 14 attempts from long-distance. He played strong, physical defense, as has become a key part of his reputation. However, he was largely unable to prevent himself from fouling, as he recorded at least three fouls in 12 of those 14 games, and as a result he spent a good amount of time sitting on the bench with foul trouble. Despite Georgetown's thin guard rotation, he only played more than 30 minutes in one game in the first half of the season.
Eventually, Trawick's season was divided by an unfortunate injury. In the Hoyas' January 8 game at Providence, Trawick broke his jaw, and subsequently missed five Big East games, of which the Hoyas lost four.
However, when he returned from his injury, Trawick was a new man. After taking two games to ease his way back into the rotation, Trawick scored in double-figures in nine of the Hoyas' final 12 games. In addition, his three-point shot underwent a complete transformation, as he made 38.2% of his attempts from beyond the arc in the second half of his season. As he improved, Coach Thompson III gradually increased Trawick's role. He made two three-pointers and scored at least 13 points in three consecutive conference games against three Big East opponents (Xavier, Marquette, and Creighton). Other than in instances of foul trouble, he rarely came off the court. He played 39 minutes in Georgetown's unfortunate loss to DePaul in the Big East tournament, and 36 minutes in their NIT win over West Virginia. It was apparent that he had greatly improved, giving hope for a strong senior season alongside D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera.
Trawick performed very well in Kenner League. He scored 19.3 points per game, with efficient shooting ratings of 58% overall field goal percentage and 38% three-point percentage. He also dished out 3.6 assists per game, and was aggressive yet judicious with his shot selection. However, these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt, because Kenner League often offers fast-paced conditions that are generous for athletic, slashing guards.
After Starks's graduation, Trawick will be asked to shoulder an even larger offensive burden in his senior season. However, in order for Trawick to truly make the jump that we have waited for, he will need to show that his improvement as an outside shooter was not a fluke. If he is able to sustain his newfound jumper, Trawick could represent an effective and important cog in the Hoya offense, which should have a more balanced and deep distribution of weapons than last season.
Trawick's physical style of play and high-end athleticism have allowed him to be mostly effective as a defender over his time on the hilltop. However, he will need to show that he is able to defend well without fouling, in order to stay on the court. As the team's undisputed starter at the shooting guard position, the Hoyas will need Trawick to play heavy minutes, at least until the freshmen guards prove that they are ready to play at a Big East level. Trawick can't help the team if he's not on the floor.
As one of only two returning guards, Trawick will also be expected to provide leadership for a team that features a number of talented but inexperienced players.
He was named one of the team's co-captains along with Smith-Rivera, indicating John Thompson III's confidence that Trawick is ready to help fill the leadership void left by Starks. There is no doubt that Trawick is in a favorable situation; he has the opportunity to play a significant role on a winning team. However, it remains to be seen whether he will be able to take advantage in his final season of collegiate basketball.
Trawick's offensive improvement from the later half of his junior season proves to be a sustained trend, as he consistently scores in double figures while shooting close to 40% from three-point range. He is also aggressive in attacking the rim both in the half-court set and in transition, and provides an ideal mentor for freshman wing L.J. Peak. He proves to be more adept as a distributor as well, averaging over three assists per game and taking on some of the ball-handling duties vacated by Starks. Trawick and Smith-Rivera lead the Hoyas to a Big East championship and a run into the NCAA tournament. Trawick's consistent play earns him a non-guaranteed contract with the Washington Wizards, and he eventually earns a roster spot alongside former teammate Otto Porter.
Trawick regresses back to his tendencies from his earlier years, as he is unable to further his improvement on offense. His three-point percentage drops into the low-30s, and he proves to be turnover prone as he struggles to assume a larger role. As the season progresses, L.J. Peak begins to take on some of Trawick's responsibilities, and Trawick re-assumes his previous role as an ancillary offensive part down the stretch.