2015-16 Roster Construction Analysis
While we are all still very much invested in our 2014-15 Hoyas as they move toward Big East play, all fans need to be aware of both the present and the future for the team. So, I thought it might be a good idea to take an early look at the Hoyas' 2015-16 roster to see where our strengths and weaknesses might lie next season.
All of these projections assume that none of our players will transfer or declare early for the NBA Draft.
Guards: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Senior), L.J. Peak (Sophomore), Tre Campbell (Sophomore)
After the graduation of Jabril Trawick and Aaron Bowen, Georgetown will be left with a somewhat thin guard rotation. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera will return as the team's leader, and he will occupy one of the two starting guard positions next season. He has had some difficulty adjusting to the responsibility of the point guard position thus far this season, but with the way the roster is currently constructed, I expect him to remain as next year's starting point guard. L.J. Peak figures to slot in as the starter at shooting guard, sliding over from the small forward position after Trawick's graduation.
The most intriguing player in this rotation is Tre Campbell. Campbell has shown flashes of potential early in his freshman season, but he has not been able to earn consistent playing time. Next season, his role figures to expand, and I expect Campbell and Smith-Rivera to share some time in the backcourt, allowing Smith-Rivera to occupy his familiar off-ball role.
With 80 backcourt minutes available to be filled, three players is a shallow guard rotation. Theoretically, Smith-Rivera and Peak could each play most of the game, with Campbell filling in the remaining minutes. However, it would be beneficial for the Hoyas to bring in at least one more guard, in order to provide depth minutes in the event of foul trouble or injury. In addition, if Georgetown were to bring in one more guard, that player would have the opportunity to learn the system and become integrated into the rotation prior to Smith-Rivera's graduation.
Forwards: Paul White (Sophomore), Isaac Copeland (Sophomore), Reggie Cameron (Junior), Marcus Derrickson (Freshman)
The strength of next year's team will lie at the forward positions. Paul White and Isaac Copeland have already shown tremendous ability, and I expect the two of them to form a long-armed, skilled, athletic forward duo. Reggie Cameron will have the opportunity to seize a larger role, and should bring shooting ability off the bench.
Top 100 recruit Marcus Derrickson should have the opportunity to compete for immediate playing time, but I do not expect him to be forced into a large role. The Hoyas have the forward depth to enable them to bring Derrickson along slowly, and allow him to develop. With time, he should bring shooting ability, size, and skill to the Georgetown forward rotation.
Next year's forwards should have all the tools to form a standout rotation. The four players mentioned above bring size, length, athleticism, and shooting ability, and should prove to be a difficult matchup for most teams in the Big East next season. One potential worry is defensive rebounding, as White and Copeland have not distinguished themselves on the boards thus far. However, with another offseason to improve, the two of them should be able to contribute more than enough to offset any potential rebounding weakness.
Post Players: Jessie Govan (Freshman), Bradley Hayes (Senior), Trey Mourning (Sophomore)
The post position is certainly the Hoyas' biggest question mark for next season. Joshua Smith and Mikael Hopkins, Georgetown's two primary options in the post, will both graduate after this season, and it may prove difficult to replace Smith's low-post presence and Hopkins's defensive ability.
Incoming freshman Jessie Govan, who is generally regarded as a top-50 recruit, will have an enormous amount of responsibility on his shoulders from the moment he steps on campus. Govan, who stands at 6'10" and weighs in at 263 pounds, should have the size to be a successful post player right from the outset of his career. He will also bring surprising ball-handling ability and a solid mid-range jumper, and figures to be an excellent fit in the Georgetown offense. Still, it's hard to rely on a freshman to immediately occupy such a significant role.
Hayes is the wild card in this rotation. In three years on campus, Hayes hasn't been able to carve out a role, but he has the size to be a functional backup big man, and unless the team is able to bring in a transfer or a recruit, he will be forced to occupy that role. Trey Mourning has solid shooting ability, but he simply not big or strong enough to occupy a post position. Unless he gains significant strength prior to next season, he will not be ready to play the center position, and will have to try to carve a role at a forward position. Again, it seems like the Hoyas could benefit from a recruit or a transfer to fill out their post rotation.
As stated previously, our Hoyas could greatly benefit from another solid recruit or two in the class of 2015. As you might now, the past few months have not been good for Georgetown recruiting. Prospects such as Tacko Fall, Bryant Crawford, Ivan Rabb, Skal Labissiere, and Perry Dozier have been crossed off of John Thompson III's target list. So, where does that leave us? Admittedly, the Hoyas' recruiting strategy is uncertain at the moment, but here are a few of the prospects to keep an eye on in the 2015 class.
Jahshire Hardnett, 5'11" PG, Gulfport High School (Mississippi)
Hardnett is an under the radar 3-star recruit out of Mississippi. He has received a scholarship offer from Georgetown, and will be visiting campus in the coming weeks. Standing only 5'11" and without elite passing skills, it would be easy to write off Hardnett as a potential impact player at the Big East level. However, Hardnett has great quickness and is a natural scorer, which gives him the potential to be a the extra guard that the Hoyas are looking for in their 2015-16 rotation. Still, it's hard not to be skeptical of a 5'11" guard who is admittedly not a true point guard at this stage in his career.
Kaleb Johnson, 6'6" SF, Carlisle School (Virginia)
Johnson is another largely overlooked 3-star prospect. He attended Georgetown's Midnight Madness in October, but the Hoyas' level of interest is uncertain. Johnson is an athletic, versatile wing player who seems like a good fit for John Thompson III's system. He is an explosive athlete who has shown an improving stroke out to the three-point line, but even if he does end up on the Hilltop, it's hard to see him earning playing time as a freshman ahead of players like Copeland and White.
Jamal Murray, 6'4" G, Athlete Institute (Canada)
Murray is currently a highly regarded 2016 recruit who is rated as a four or five-star prospect by most recruiting outlets. However, there are rumblings that he may reclassify to the class of 2015. Georgetown has been in contact with Murray, who is an athletic combo guard with the ability to score from all three levels of the floor. Murray would be a tremendous addition to the Hoyas' 2015-16 roster, but there is not a lot of clarity on his current situation.
A Late-Emerging Prospect
Georgetown has brought in a number of players who signed late in their senior seasons (Otto Porter comes to mind), and it is always possible that John Thompson III could find a late-rising prospect for next year's team. Just because a player is not currently on the Hoyas' radar does not mean that he could not end up on the Hilltop.
A Graduate Transfer
The graduate transfer rule has allowed players all around the nation to choose a new school for their final season of college basketball. This could be an excellent avenue for John Thompson III to find a veteran guard or big man to fill out next year's roster.
In my opinion, Georgetown's roster looks ready to compete for a Big East championship again next season. Barring something unforeseen, the Hoyas could send out a starting lineup of Smith-Rivera, Peak, Copeland, White, and Govan, which looks like a unit that could compete with almost any team in America. However, the Hoyas will need to look to solidify their depth off the bench, particularly at the guard and center positions. Fortunately, there is still plenty of time for John Thompson III and his staff to fill out the roster, and regardless of what happens, the future looks bright for the Hoya basketball program.