The Casual Awards – Welcome to Indiana Basketball, Jerks!
While you are eating leftover Chinese food and returning ugly sweaters at your local Target, we continue to generate solid gold material in honor of a small group of AMERICAN HEROES on a Hilltop in D.C. Just two days before the "regular season" tips off in the Queen City, our gift to you is a late December classic, your very own Hoosiers-inspired Casual Awards, to celebrate and vilify all of those most deserving. Away we go….
Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:
This award could easily have gone to Aaron Bowen, but it’s only fitting to deliver this trophy to the young man from Indianapolis, who finally ended his shooting slump and put in one of the finer performances of his sparkling collegiate career. Smith-Rivera, who struggled mightily in the first half, poured in an impressive 29 points, four steals and four assists. In the second half and overtime, he was everywhere. After kicking off the second frame with three consecutive threes, DSR looked as good as he did when we played Wisconsin. He hit threes, mid-range jumpers and sweet Euro-step-flavored lay-ins off of turnovers. It was pretty. So pretty.
Credit JTIII with playing him off the ball a bit more. By mixing things up at the point and resting DSR for a stretch in the first half, DSR seemed to have fresher legs down the stretch. If this is the same DSR we’ll see during Big East play, we will all be very happy. Welcome back, #4.
Toyota Peak Performer Award:
Obvi. But only because this award is his namesake.
The real peak performer was Aaron Freaking Bowen, who chipped in with a career-high 22 points on 10 of 13 shooting.
It’s hard to believe this is the same guy who only played three minutes against Kansas. Bowen did a little bit of everything on Saturday. He hit a three, played tremendous defense, made a couple of key lay-ups, and was the sparkplug this team needed in the second half and overtime.
Comparing Bowen to Patrick Ewing Jr. isn’t that far off. They’re both intense, aggressive players who play stellar defense, hit the occasional three, provide earth-shattering dunks and rock the hell out of the pre-game intro handshakes. (Did anyone else notice Aaron Bowen fixing Joshua Smith’s imaginary tie during the pre-game intros? It was awesome.) We’ve gone from the "Bowen provides a spark" phase to the "Aaron Bowen needs to play at least 25 minutes per game" phase. Although Air Bow is sometimes erratic, we are a better team when he sees the floor. He has the wingspan of a pterodactyl and an even better smile. Love Aaron Bowen.
The Tommy Crean Award for Having No Clue how to Break a 2-3 Zone Award:
Give credit to JTIII for switching to a zone for most of the second half. Indiana had absolutely no idea what to do. Where have we seen such offensive ineptitude before? Oh right, it was when Indiana got pummeled by Syracuse in the Sweet Sixteen two years ago. Fast forward to December 2014 and Indiana still had no clue how to break a 2-3 zone. Despite giving up thirteen three-pointers (more to come on that), Georgetown’s defense was actually pretty decent for most of this game. Shocking, really, considering we gave up 87 points. Special thanks to Tommy for bringing back memories of Syracuse’s run to the Final Four through the Verizon Center. Excuse me while I go vomit blood.
The Round Mound of Rebound Award:
The big fella was all over the place on Saturday. His 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals were all important. When he was on the floor, we were tough to stop offensively. At least five times during the game I kept imploring our guys to FEED THE BEAST. Indiana couldn’t deal with his girth. Despite being in early foul trouble, he managed to stay on the court for the second half and overtime and really made a difference. Given the setting, our very own Joshington Monument played like the Freedom Tower and the Statue of Liberty wrapped into one massive cement truck. I loved watching him go to work. I can’t wait to see what he does against the Uber-driving centers of the Big East. FEED THE BEAST.
The Ollie Award for Making your Damn Free Throws Award:
Your Georgetown Hoyas. OMG, you guys. For real. Please make your damn free throws already. Against Indiana, we shot a foul-tasting 14 of 23 from the line (53.8%). If we shoot even a measly 70% from the line, we probably win this game pretty handily. Everyone is to blame. Hop, Peak, Jabril and Bowen each missed two free throws, and the normally accurate DSR missed THREE. This needs to stop. So please just go to the gym and shoot 1,000 free throws. All of you. If you need to shoot them underhanded like Ollie, then SHOOT THEM UNDER-HANDED. Grandma-style is fine, as long as the ball goes in. In short, please stop missing your damn free throws. It’s driving us all crazy.
The OMG Stop Giving Up Wide-Open Three-Point Shots Award:
[maybe this is a MSG problem? food for thought]
Your Georgetown Hoyas. OMG STOP GIVING UP WIDE-OPEN THREE-POINT SHOTS. Why is this always a problem for us? Can you imagine if that terrible Notre Dame team was still in the Big East? Holy Colin Falls-tastic terribleness. Need to improve communication, need to switch off of those screens a little better, and need to just do an overall better job of defending.
And for what it’s worth, before we get carried away with how far this year’s Hoyas can advance, let’s keep in mind one important thing: we still have no idea whether this team will display the sort of defensive tenacity that we saw in those juggernaut squads from 2006 to 2008. We can’t give up 40 points in a half like we did against Indiana. We just can’t. We’re still giving up far too many easy baskets and it’s painful to watch.
I’m not sure if our defensive woes can be attributed to these new rules for defense (increased emphasis on hand checks, etc.), or if we just need to step up and play better defense. I’m inclined to say it’s a bit of both. We still haven’t seen a solid defensive showing this season. And while it’s true that our defensive pressure is leading to more fast breaks and transition baskets, we’re still giving up way too many easy baskets. This needs to stop. Please work on this before conference play begins.
The Maginot Line Award for Best Defensive Lineup Award:
[SwordOfBrunner edit: this is the nerdiest reference NYHoya has ever made]
It didn’t last long, but for a short stint I think we had our best defensive lineup of the year. Jabril, Bowen, Hopkins, Peak and Copeland. I want those guys on the floor when we need to get stops. It makes sense when you think about it. Just look at their nicknames. The Bash Brothers, General Ike, Comrade and Lafayette. (I think the "L" in "LJ" stands for "Lafayette" because that’s his dad’s name. If true, it’s pretty clear that in addition to "LJ" he will be known as the Marquis de Lafayette. I mean, there’s no question.) So when you combine the Bash Brothers with a decorated U.S. general, a Bolshevik and a muthaf*ckin French revolutionary, it’s hard to get by us. Best defensive lineup for this year’s Hoyas. Let’s see more of it. And somebody please give me a GIF of the Hoyas’ very own Marquis.
The Walter Sobcek Bumper Bowling Award:
[SwordOfBrunner note: did you know that you never see Walter or the Dude actually bowl in The Big Lebowski?]
Do we need to install the equivalent of bumpers in and around the basketball hoops to increase the likelihood that Georgetown players will make layups? I’m just saying. We missed approximately 37.5 layups against Indiana. That can’t happen again. Also, don’t mess with the Jesus.
The Patrick Ewing Jr. Award for Grit and Toughness and Heart and Awesomeness:
I loved watching Jabril in this game. Yes, he will occasionally make overly-aggressive plays or commit silly fouls, but against Indiana there was FAR more good than bad. Each and every one of his 12 points and seven rebounds was awesome. His unexpected spin move and reverse lay-in towards the end of regulation was awesome. His hard-nosed defense, including while he was a member of the Maginot Line, was awesome. Love Jabril. Hate the missed free throws, but he’s still my guy.
The Yogi Ferrell Award for Being Almost as Good as DSR:
Sorry, my dude, but DSR was better. Your 27 points were nice, but they were not as nice as DSR’s 29. Your late-game three-pointers were pretty, but not as pretty as DSR’s heroics at the end. Your team is pretty good, but not as good as the Georgetown Hoyas.
The Roy Hibbert Award for Making Cameo Appearances at Georgetown Games:
I see you, John Caprio.
The Coach Norman Dale Award for Shooting Award:
In the words of legendary coach Norman Dale, "I’ve seen you guys can shoot but there’s more to the game than shooting. There’s fundamentals and defense." Indiana was really good at shooting. They hit 13 threes. They were kind of unconscious, and for many stretches of the game, it was frustrating as hell. Yogi Ferrell and James Blackmon Jr. killed us over and over again.
It’s totally understandable that Indiana should have a couple of Ricky Roe guys on their team. After all, it’s Indiana. But here’s the thing. All Indiana could do was shoot. The Hoosiers would run their silly little offense and some guy would be left open for a three. Shame on the Hoyas for once again failing to defend the perimeter? Absolutely. But some of these shots were just unreal, most notably the two daggers that Yogi hit at the end of regulation.
Unfortunately for Indiana, you need to do more than hit jump shots to win basketball games. We were the better defensive team, with the superior inside presence and a more polished offense. This is why it would have sucked to lose to Indiana. We were clearly the better team, and yet, the Hoosiers kept shooting the lights out. Good thing we won.
The Byron Moreno Award for Worst Officiating Ever:
The inaugural Byron Moreno Award, named after one of the worst referees in the history of everything: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/soccer/world-cup/the-tragic-tale-of-byron-moreno-the-worst-referee-ever/article19110587/, is dedicated to the awful zebras who officiated Saturday’s game. The refs were nothing short of terrible. During a one-minute stretch midway through the first half, the Hoyas were whistled for four fouls, including two on Joshua Smith (his second and third fouls), one on Hopkins (his second foul) and one on Jabril (his second foul). Those whistles changed the course of the first half and contributed to the Hoyas’ ten-point deficit at the break. Most of the calls were of the ticky-tack kind, the usual garden-variety hand-checks and arm bars. Smith got whistled for standing up, and then he picked up a foul for having an elbow attached to his arm. Bowen was whistled for having some dude fall on top of him. These were the sort of fouls that killed us last season. If these whistles are a sign of what’s to come in conference play, I might as well light myself on fire now.
The Brooks Brothers Award for Stylish Threads:
The dude is so well-dressed it’s ridiculous. I love seeing Ty-Ty’s energy on the bench. He gets fired up so easily, he yells at guys when they’re not playing well, and he’s the best cheerleader on the sideline since Lance Harbor in Varsity Blues. Give the guy a clipboard and let him call some plays out of timeouts. Love Tyler’s enthusiasm. So glad he didn’t go to Duke.
The Where’s Waldo? Award:
Where were the freshmen against Indiana? Peak was alright. Copeland played an uneventful ten minutes. Paul White scored two points in twenty minutes. Tre Campbell was only out there to spell DSR for a few minutes. Kind of underwhelming, which is fine. They’ll still have another opportunity (at St. John’s) to experience the bright lights of MSG before we head back there for the Tourney. Pretty amazing that we won this game, all things considered. Poor officiating, too many wide-open perimeter shots, missed free throws, and virtually nothing from the freshmen, and we still managed to put up 91 points and beat a very good Indiana team. Man, this team is deep.
The Kiddie Pool Award for Shallow and Urine-Soaked Bench Play Award:
The Indiana bench. Thanks for chipping in with a whopping two points, fellas. Tremendous depth. You reminded me of the 2013-14 Georgetown Hoyas.
The Tom Crean Award for Drinking Diet Cokes Award:
Keep drinking those diet cokes, Tommy! Aspartame and carbonation are perfect for wiping away your daughter’s tears. Side note: sorry to hear that your brother-in-law is leaving San Francisco. He deserved better. But on the bright side, he will be a lot closer to Bloomington, so it will be easier to plan family vacations!
The Same Old Beast Award:
The Big East conference
...still has the nation’s second best conference RPI (behind only the Big 12). Aside from DePaul losing all three of its games in Hawaii (to Colorado, Ohio and Loyola Marymount), the Big East finished with a flurry of victories against some pretty decent opponents. Marquette beat North Dakota, Providence beat Miami, Xavier beat FGCU, Butler beat Belmont and oh yeah, we beat Indiana. Solid non-conference performance, Big East brethren. Now if only we could find a way to keep DePaul from doing DePaul things.
The Diabetes Award for Weekend Gluttony:
I had Thai food on Christmas Day. Zero documentation because I don’t know how to use a computer.
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.
The coach of the Washington Generals is apparently the Ted DeBiase of basketball
Show me something
Thank God the Globetrotters didn't go into OT
Would be worse than getting bumped for NASCAR practice.
what the hell is the indeed invitational
Tom Crean's shirt/tie combo is about 4 months too early
tyler adams has very nice suits
What sorcery is this?
These are not uncontested 3s
This is not poor defense. This is everything I throw up goes in offense
The entire team has Mikael's shooting touch today
Except for Mikael
that might be a foul call JT3 needs to take a tech on
How many layups can we miss today??
HOLY CRAP!!! I guess we should be happy to be only down 10. If they don’t come out fired up and rip off a run to start the half this could get REALLY ugly. So frustrating….
Can someone please
-Make a layup
-Get them off of the three point line
-Make a freaken FT
this game is driving me towards carbohydrates
Jabril do the team a favor and slap the shit out of Blackmon
I hate the 3 point line.
Foul on Air Bow for having a chin
I just saw caprio in the building
Poo is coming out
Can’t handle this
Jay Bilas' voice
fastest boner deflation ever
The Kate Upton Award for doing Kate Upton Things Award:
Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Xavier.