The Casual Awards – Merry Christmas!
While you are doing your last-minute holiday shopping and figuring out whether to splurge on DVDs during an age in which DVD players have more or less become obsolete, we continue to grind out pages and pages of prose in celebration of our beloved 18-22 year-old Hoya basketball players. Just days away from our final non-conference showdown against top-flight competition, we’re rolling out the second greatest feature on the Internet, the Casual Awards, to keep up your Hoyas holiday cheer. Away we go….
Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:
Aaron Bowen. This award could have gone to L.J. or Jabril, but it’s going to Aaron because of his defensive intensity and clutch shooting. In just 17 minutes of action, Air Bow chipped in with a solid 11 points and four rebounds. He made all four of his free throws and connected on his only three-point attempt of the game. His final two free throws were huge, given that we were only up by a single point in the final minute of the game. Considering AB had been only 5 of 13 from the charity stripe entering Saturday’s game, I think it’s fair to say we were all pleasantly surprised by his beautiful high-arcing splashdowns at the end of regulation.
You can question Aaron’s decision to bull his way to the basket after DSR fouled out, and you can criticize his sometimes over-aggressive play, but the fact remains that Aaron gives us that extra little sixth-man boost of energy that we often need. His frenetic style of play can be both a blessing and a curse; against Charlotte, he was a difference maker.
Peak Performer Award:
L.J. Peak. Obvi. Peak was our most consistent offensive option all day. His 18 points, which he scored in a variety of ways, fueled our offense from start to finish. Entering the game, he had only connected on 19 of 29 free throws; against Charlotte, he hit all seven of his attempts. Clutch shooting from the freshman, particularly on those last two free throws to ice the game.
Peak’s play has really been a joy to watch because Georgetown rarely has an athletic wing that can just slice to the basket at will. In fact, I’m having a hard time identifying which former Hoya he reminds me of the most. He’s not Jeff Green. He’s not Brandon Bowman. He’s just L.J. Peak, and I’m fine with that. Now if he can just learn to do a better job of switching off of screens and closing out on wide-open three-point shooters, I might like him a bit more.
The Ralphie Award for Shooting your Eye Out
I mean, c’mon guys. Stop giving up so many wide-open threes! It’s not like Charlotte was hitting tough, tightly-contested shots. They were hitting wide-open looks because we did a horrible job of switching on screens. Why is this always such a problem for us? Charlotte hit a whopping eight threes, including three in a row during a torrid run late in the second half. Rather than singling out a particular culprit, I’ll just say this: before we get a little too excited about comparing this year’s Hoyas to those pretty, pretty teams from the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, keep in mind that those Green/Hibbert/Ewing squads were defensive juggernauts. Yeah, we have a lot of depth this year, and yeah, we’re athletic and talented and have good balance; but our defense has not been effective this year (yet), and we should not be giving up 78 points to any team, let alone a middling Charlotte squad. We have a good team right now, but not a great team. If you want to be great, start playing elite-level defense. This isn’t the Kenner League.
The Homeland Award for Big Letdowns at the End of a Season
Without any spoilers, let’s just say that a once-promising and enjoyable fourth season of Homeland concluded with a boring and rather weak season finale. I’m sorry if I can’t get excited by Carrie’s love life or her tortured family history. Much like the Homeland season finale, the Hoyas’ close-to-final non-conference finale against Charlotte was pretty frustrating. We looked so good in this game, and I was looking forward to writing about how easily we took care of a better-than-average foe (and how this never would have happened in previous seasons); and then we go ahead and squander multiple double-digit leads and nearly blow the game. While the outcome was undoubtedly positive (and really, that’s all that matters), the closing minutes were underwhelming and chaotic, to say the least.
Those legendary Georgetown teams from the mid-2000s found it very difficult to claw back from double-digit deficits, but they were also very good at preserving double-digit leads. Effective point guard play, a dominant post presence and beautiful half-court sets made it near-impossible to come from behind against us. That hasn’t been the case so far this season. Having blown leads against Wisconsin and Charlotte already this year, it has become clear that we need to figure out how to play smarter in the waning minutes of games. Had we lost this one, Christmas week would be filled with far more jeer than cheer.
The Reggie Cameron Award for Hitting Exactly One Three-Pointer Per Game:
Reggie Cameron. He hit another one against Charlotte. Hackensack represent.
The Reggie Cameron Award for Hitting Exactly One Three-Pointer Per Game:
Jabril Trawick! Right on cue, Jabril hit one of his four three-point attempts. I can’t really complain about his looks either. They were all pretty solid shots, and he also hit a wide-open deep two-pointer. There’s no need for you to jack up threes all day long, but keep playing within yourself and good things will happen. I was pretty happy with your 11 points and ten rebounds and the fact that you hit four out of five free throws. Was it the first double-double of your career? I’m going to guess that it was. Congrats, my man!
The "Airing of Grievances" Award:
In honor of Festivus (for the rest of us), the first annual "airing of grievances" award is dedicated to your Georgetown Hoyas and their frustrating inability to break a zone. The season is young, my friends, and JTIII has figured out creative ways to beat zones in the past; but we looked downright terrible against Charlotte’s feeble attempt at a 2-3 zone. Here’s a little tip for Ike and The Apostle: this is where you can shine, fellas! Go to the foul line, put your hands up, catch the ball, and then either feed the ball inside, take a shot or drive to the basket. You guys are natural-born zone breakers. Practice how to break the zone, or else we’ll look lost against better competition.
The Marshawn Lynch Award for Diarrhea:
Entering the final stages of a heavyweight bout for the fantasy football title, I was facing Marshawn Lynch. When I learned that he would miss the beginning of the game with an upset stomach, I was downright giddy. And then he picked up a handful of Skittles, put on his helmet, and scampered for two touchdowns, including a career-high 79-yard run to potentially crush my fantasy hopes and dreams. I will need Colonel Sanders to deliver a bucket of fried deliciousness against the Bengals if I am to have any chance of prevailing. I don’t like you, Beast Mode. I liked you better in the first quarter when you were pretending to be a character from that Oregon Trail computer game.
(Update: The Colonel delivered a FAMILY-SIZED BUCKET OF FRIED DELICIOUSNESS in the third quarter. I love fantasy football. Also, I hate fantasy football.)
The Markel Starks Award for Doing Tremendous Point Guard Things Award:
So, yeah, we still don’t really have a point guard. DSR fouled out with four minutes to go and we basically had no semblance of a half-court offense. This is concerning. Equally concerning was the fact that we seemed to lack any awareness of the score and the clock. Up ten with six or seven minutes to play, we should have used more clock and slowly worked our way to the free throw line. Instead, we jacked up contested perimeter shots with plenty of time on the shot clock and gave Charlotte plenty of chances to run and convert transition baskets. This should be an easy thing to remedy. Hopefully this will be a learning lesson.
The Alvin and the Chipmunks Award for Making Piercing Noises Over and Over Again:
The guys who refereed that Charlotte game. Did we really need all of those whistles? I think the whistles were balanced, but holy crap, there were so many fouls. Georgetown and Charlotte combined to shoot 63 free throws. How is that enjoyable for anyone to watch? Let the kids play. The second half, in particular, was excruciating to watch.
The Taylor Swift "Shake it Off" Award for Shaking Off Bad Performances:
Shake it off, Mikael Hopkins. Only two points and two rebounds in 21 minutes, and you missed both free throw attempts, but whatever, my dude. Shake it off. Our defense and rebounding are better when you’re on the floor. We can attribute a lot of our defensive miscues in the second half to your foul trouble. Hang in there. Don’t try to do too much, but we need you to stay on the court.
In related news, when the D.C.-area mascots performed a dance routine in the middle of the first half of the Charlotte game, they pranced around to "Shake it Off". It was not entertaining.
Here’s a Hannukah-themed version of Casual Hoya’s new favorite song:
[SwordOfBrunner edit: this is effing terrible]
The Hannukah Harry Award for Dumb Mascots Award:
So, let’s talk about Mascot Mayhem. For some odd reason (probably that it was a late December Saturday afternoon game, so lots of small children would be in attendance), the Verizon Center invited all of the D.C.-area mascots to run around the arena and participate in a basketball game at halftime. The mascots included, among others: Jack the Bulldog (who, it turns out, is terrible at basketball), the Oriole "Bird" (straight from the Department of Redundancy Department), the Baltimore Raven, the Nats’ very own Dustin Diamond, some giant Washington Kastles Tennis Ball Head Dude, and that creepy Noid character from those Domino’s commercials.
This collection of mascots was incapable of playing basketball. It was like watching a group of five year-olds play soccer (everyone chases after the ball at once). It was a scoreless affair until the Oriole Bird ran down the court and got a lay-up with less than thirty seconds to go. I was not impressed. I kept hoping the Noid would pick up a giant-sized tennis racquet and smack the Tennis Ball Head Dude in the face; instead, the Noid just kept scampering to and fro, while stealing people’s pizza and not showing any signs of remorse. Why does the Verizon Center even have a random costume for the Noid? Makes no sense. Throwback mascots are as bizarre as people who still use dust busters. I hate that "Yo Noid!" Nintendo game back in the day. It was awful.
SwordOfBrunner Edit: Apologies for the Yo Noid! reference, but hope this makes up for it
The National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation Award for Inspirational Halftime Speeches Award:
I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall during Steve Alford’s halftime speech when his UCLA Bruins trailed Kentucky, 41-7, on Saturday afternoon. I’ll just assume that Alford did his best Clark Griswold impersonation: "Worse? How could things get any worse? Take a look around here, Ellen. We’re at the threshold of hell."
Thanks for reminding us after the game, Coach Cal, that your players aren’t machines, and that it takes a lot of hard work and coaching for them to play well. Your faux modesty is rivaling Roy Williams’ "aww shucks" routine. You’re the best recruiter in the country, Coach. Let’s not pretend that your stellar strategizing and coaching sessions have a whole lot to do with your team’s success. When you’ve got Butch McRae, Ricky Roe and Neon Boudeaux on your team, it’s pretty hard to lose.
The Smarmy Tom Crean Award for Looking Smarmy:
Tom Crean. Your smarminess during that "upset" win against Butler was oozing through my television. Go drink another diet Coke and work on your super-cool part down the middle of your hair. Saturday can’t come soon enough.
The Same Old Beast Award:
The Big East conference still has the nation’s second best conference RPI (behind only the Big 12), but the results were a mixed bag over the weekend. While I was heartened to see the Johnnies come from behind to defeat St. Mary’s, and pleased with Providence’s win over UMass, and downright thrilled with Nova’s win over Syracuse, we still dropped a number of winnable games against non-conference opponents. DePaul lost to Oregon State by 30 (and Oregon State promptly lost to Quinnipiac a couple of days later). Butler lost a tight one to Indiana. Xavier lost a double OT affair at Auburn. And Seton Hall got blown out at Georgia.
This next week or so will give us our last chance to pile on non-conference victories prior to the start of Big East play. Here are the remaining games to keep your eye on:
DePaul v. Colorado (Update: DePaul lost because the Blue Demons are not very good at basketball.)
North Dakota at Marquette (Update: Marquette won!)
Providence v. Miami (Update: Providence won!)
DePaul v. GW/Ohio (Honolulu)
Georgetown v. Indiana
FGCU at Xavier
Belmont at Butler
After those losses to Auburn and Georgia, we are now neck-and-neck with the SEC for the second-best conference RPI. I really don’t want to slip behind a lousy football conference. Show me something, DePaul and Providence.
The Darnell Jefferson Award for Holding on to the Damn Ball Award:
[SwordOfBrunner Edit: the youtube clip of Darnell from the program looks like it was filmed with a calculator. K + P 4 life]
Joshua Smith. Please stop fumbling the ball. I know our guys can do a better job with the entry passes, but please stop fumbling the ball in the last two minutes of games. You shouldn’t even really have to put the ball on the floor. If our guards can get it to you closer to the basket, you should be able to turn and shoot, or kick it out to open shooters. And note to everyone else: work on the spacing a bit more, so we can make it easier to clear everyone out for the Monument. He’s an unstoppable elephant. He only gets rattled when those pesky ants get a little too close.
The "All I Want for Christmas is You" Award:
SwordOfBrunner Edit: Can you believe NYHoya is married to a person that isn't in a vegetative state? This is horrible.
Dedicated to the Young Man.
I don’t want a lot for Christmas.
There is just one thing I need.
I don’t care about the baskets
Underneath the Christmas tree.
I just want you for my own, Tre.
More than you could ever know.
Make my wish come true, Young Man.
All I want for Christmas is you.
Now that that creepiness is over, here’s the point, Tre. Whether or not you realize it yet, you are the missing piece of this (surprisingly very complete) team. I really like what I’ve seen from you. You remind me of Markel Starks during his freshman year. If you can learn the offense, develop a little more patience, and contribute 10-15 minutes off the bench as our point guard (while hitting a wide-open three every once in a while), our team will be unstoppable. You’re young, you’re talented and you’ve got a long way to go. But man, if you continue to develop in the next couple of weeks, we could go from being a very good team to a scary good team.
So yes, Tre Campbell, all I want for Christmas is you.
The Diabetes Award for Weekend Gluttony:
I went to Komi over the weekend. This little gem in Dupont Circle, which was recently voted as the #1 D.C. restaurant by Washingtonian Magazine, was pretty stellar. A tasty 14-course meal included scallops, hamachi, ravioli with blue crab, some sort of pasta in a goat ragu, hearty lamb’s neck, dates with mascarpone cheese and chocolate, apple cake, sour dough ice cream with sour dough bread, and root beer lollipops. The food was very solid and the service was impeccable. And before you judge me for going to a fancy schmancy restaurant, keep in mind that I HAD A GIFT CERTIFICATE, so settle down, all you civil servants and students.
Zero documentation because I don’t know how to use a computer.
The Blowing a Five Point Lead with 17 Seconds to Go Award:
Syracuse. For a school that makes so much money playing football, you’re still pretty terrible at basketball. Also, congrats on being the only team to NOT beat Michigan this season.
Jim Nantz Award for In-Game Commentary:
Here are a few casual nuggets from the last game thread. Upset that your witty posts didn’t make the cut? Write something funny or insightful next time, jerks.
Today we are all Villanova
I will now hang my head and cry while wearing the hubcap of shame.
New sig tba
"You're too big" foul on Josh #1
Fox Sports graphic with snow falling is driving me (even more) insane
that’s not real, is it?
It looked like he was wearing a yarmulke at first glance...
Hoyas on pace for 168 points
Not sure if they’ll maintain this pace . . .
Pete Rose is selling Skechers on YES
Looking at the stands
It appears that a lot of fans were doing their best to avoid the Noid.
Too many 18 ft jumpers
Got to work on figuring out the zone.
RED BULL GIVES US WINGS
Jack with a HARD moving screen.
As Ike dunked he said to Jabril, "I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory."
I'm looking forward to conference play
When Big East games are called like Big East games.
Just checked my scoresheet - we have 3,763 fouls in the first 31 minutes of this game, apparently.
This game is officially No Longer Fun
and another team unconscious from 3
gotta figure out the scheme, it happens way too much
Let me guess
Charlotte drives from the wing, kicks to the corner for 3
Peak with ice water in his veins
That game should not have been that close
The bartender started feeding me stress Oreos during the last 5 minutes.
Not in my house. Not today.
just like Georgetown
Nova holds off a mediocre 6-win team at home
Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Indiana.