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Georgetown Hoyas Regular Season Player Evaluations

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Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

As our Hoyas head into the postseason and a battle with Creighton tonight in the Big East Tournament, I thought it would be an appropriate time to evaluate the performance of the individual players, relative to the preseason expectations.  So, I went back through the archives to look through every player's preseason player profile to find their "Soaring Delusion" best-case scenario for this season as well as their "Crushing Cynicism" worst-case scenario, and then evaluated where each player fell on the range of possible outcomes. As always, this is a subjective exercise, and discussion is encouraged in the comments.


Seniors:

Joshua Smith:

Soaring Delusion:

Smith dominates the low-post from the outset of the season. With improved conditioning, he is able to play 25 minutes per game, and is an efficient and effective post scorer. As the season progresses, he draws more and more double teams, and all of Georgetown's guards and forwards benefit from the increased space with which to operate. On defense, Smith is able to use his frame as a deterrent for opposing guards, and is a competent rim protector. In addition, his increased agility allows him to avoid fouls and stay on the floor for more minutes in each game. Smith leads the Hoyas to a highly successful season, a Big East regular season championship, and an NCAA tournament run, and is selected in the second round of the NBA draft by a team that is looking for a second-unit big who can put the ball in the basket.

Crushing Cynicism:

Smith's weight balloons again as the season starts, and he is unable to stay on the floor for more than a few minutes at a time. He is a sieve on defense, as he simply does not possess the foot speed or the endurance to keep up with high-energy opposing big men. Throughout the season, Smith misses several games due to injury, and is unable to play more than 25 minutes in a single game. After the end of the season, Smith fades into oblivion, the classic example of a player who failed to fulfill his significant promise.

Postseason Evaluation:

Smith has exceeded most realistic expectations this season. He has been a force on the low block for much of the season, and has been on the court for every game this season. Foul trouble and pick and roll defense have been issues at times, but for the most part, Smith has played his role well and has been a key part of this year's Georgetown team.


Jabril Trawick:

Soaring Delusion:

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.

Crushing Cynicism:

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.

Postseason Evaluation:

Trawick's season actually closely resembles his "Soaring Delusion" prognosis. His 3-point percentage has skyrocketed to 42.4%, which is higher than anyone could have predicted. He has been aggressive on offense and has been a veteran leader for a young team. As much as I hate the cliché, he has been the heart and soul of this Hoya team, and has certainly exceeded expectations.


Aaron Bowen:

Soaring Delusion:

Bowen and Mikael Hopkins take the floor as part of a pressing, running bench unit that maximizes athleticism and length. He is a terror as the point man on the press, which gets the Hoya reserves plenty of easy baskets. Bowen also sports a serviceable outside shot (say, 32 3FG%) and free-throw stroke (60%) that don't make him a weapon but at least minimize his weaknesses. He also improves as an on-ball defender, locking up opposing wings and guards and allowing JT3 to hide D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera on weaker opponents.

Crushing Cynicism:

Bowen remains athletic and not much more, and his liabilities outweigh his one strength. He still can't really shoot, turns the ball over too often and is too jumpy on defense. The freshmen and Cameron gobble up his playing time, leaving Bowen on the outside looking in. He doesn't see meaningful action outside of Senior Day, when he gets a token start and a few extra minutes of run.

Postseason Evaluation:

Bowen has carved out an important role in the Hoya rotation. He has provided essential energy and athleticism to the Georgetown second unit, and has thus earned a consistent spot in John Thompson III's rotation. After Bowen made the somewhat surprising choice to return to the Hilltop for his senior season, he has become a valued member of this year's team, exceeding expectations and filling an ideal role in the rotation.


Mikael Hopkins:

Soaring Delusion:

Hopkins sticks to what he does best, rebounding, defending, and occasionally taking advantage of an open spot near the rim on offense.  At the beginning of the season, he starts alongside Smith, but is the first sub out in favor of Copeland.  Hopkins otherwise rarely plays alongside Smith, instead forming a center platoon. Hopkins' speed and athleticism allows the Hoyas to play fast when he's on the court, extending pressure full court and getting out on  in transition on offense. He keeps his fouls in check long enough to play about half the game, eventually averaging about 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game.

Crushing Cynicism:

Smith gets injured or can't play heavy minutes, Hayes isn't ready, and Hopkins is pressed into service for 30 minutes per game. The ball sticks with him, and too many possessions end with a flailing Hopkins losing the ball off the backboard or out of bounds. He continues to be foul-prone, and JT3 is forced to go super-small for long stretches with Copeland, White, Trey Mourning, and undeveloped Hayes all seeing time in the middle.

Postseason Evaluation:

Hopkins's season has actually closely resembled the Soaring Delusion projection, as he has settled into a platoon role at the center position along with Smith, providing value particularly on defense with his athleticism and shot-blocking. However, he has turned the ball over too much, and has remained woefully inefficient as an inside scorer. Still, Hopkins is a hard worker and has been a good soldier for Thompson III, and remains an important part of the team.


Juniors:

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera:

Soaring Delusion

Smith-Rivera continues to build on his breakout sophomore campaign. He becomes an ever more efficient shooter, topping 40 percent from three, getting into the lane with ease, again leading the conference in free-throw percentage, and becoming the first Hoya of the JT3 era to eclipse 18 points per game.  He also evolves into an efficient distributor, setting the freshmen up for easy looks in transition and feeding Smith in the post.  DSR holds his own on defense and continues to rack up boards.  Georgetown wins the Big East and Smith-Rivera earns player of the year honors.

Crushing Cynicism:

Not enough of the other pieces fall into place: Smith gets injured or can't stay on the court for long stretches, the freshmen aren't totally ready, and Trawick's jumper falls off.  Tre Campbell, Trawick, and Peak don't provide much relief on the ball, saddling DSR with the bulk of the scoring and distributing duties. Smith-Rivera becomes a one-man scoring force, hurting both his efficiency and Georgetown's fortunes in the process. While the box score shows impressive raw numbers, the eye test shows DSR gunning because there aren't enough other options to score.

Postseason Evaluation:

Smith-Rivera has been a steady, guiding force for this year's Hoyas. After an early-season shooting slump, he is back up to 40% shooting from beyond the arc, and has proven to be an adept ball-handler and a solid lead guard. While his numbers may not jump off the page as much as they could have, that reflects his ability to stay within the offense and play as part of the team. Smith-Rivera has been a great Hoya, and we should all be thrilled to get him back for one more season.


Bradley Hayes:

Soaring Delusion:

Hayes takes a big step forward and becomes a consistent rotation player. He's an effective rebounder, a decent rim-protector and post defender, and occasional finisher. He keeps his fouls to a minimum, playing longer stretches in blowouts and when Smith or Hopkins battles foul trouble. Hayes plays 5 to 10 minutes per game regularly and sets the stage for a successful senior season.

Crushing Cynicism:

Hayes can't stop fouling long enough to stay on the court. Georgetown's smaller lineups with Copeland and White at the four prove so successful that Hopkins plays virtually all of his time backing up Smith, leaving no minutes for Hayes. Hayes doesn't get enough minutes this season to be ready for next year, when he'll be the only returning post.

Postseason Evaluation:

Hayes is the first player to drastically fall short of his preseason outlook. He hasn't improved enough to carve out a place in the rotation, and barring an enormous step forward in his senior year, will be remembered as a disappointment.


Sophomore:

Reggie Cameron:

Soaring Delusion:

Cameron makes a predictable sophomore-year improvement, drilling around 40 percent of his threes and requiring a prescription for custom-made three goggles.  He rebounds well enough to justify keeping him on the court for reasons other than his shooting, and develops enough of a one-dribble, step-in jumper to keep defenders from closing out too aggressively. He can hold his own on defense, particularly when paired with Hopkins at center and either Copeland or Bowen at the other forward position.

Crushing Cynicism:

Cameron struggles again to get his shot off and doesn't contribute in any other aspect of the game. His three-point percentage dips below 30 percent, he remains flammable on defense, he can't hold position on the boards, and he quickly is surpassed by the freshmen forwards. Cameron toils at the end of the bench, only seeing extended run in blowouts.

Postseason Evaluation:

Much like Hayes, Cameron's season has been much closer to the "Crushing Cynicism" prognosis. He hasn't been able to earn consistent playing time, and seems like a likely transfer candidate.


Freshmen:

Isaac Copeland:

Soaring Delusion:

Copeland's meteoric rise continues.  He starts from day one and plays more than half of every game, giving sort of across-the-board production that approaches Otto Porter's freshman season. On offense, Copeland is an opportunistic finisher and hits enough of his jumpers to stretch opposing defenses. He plays stifling defense in the half court, gets steals in the open court, blocks the occasional shot, and shows enough bulk to defend opposing fours and compete underneath the hoop. Supporting conference player of the year D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and a newly svelte Smith, Copeland has a solid freshman campaign that sets him up for stardom in year two.

Crushing Cynicism:

Copeland needs a year in the weight room and on the practice court. His jack-of-all-trades, king-of-none game means that he can't reliably contribute in any aspect of the game. Aside from a few exciting dunks of the sort that won him the Hoya Madness dunk contest, Copeland struggles offensively. His jumper is too inconsistent to make him a perimeter threat and he can't reliably get to the basket on or off the ball. He still needs to add a few pounds to be able to bang with larger power forwards. He finds himself competing with the rest of the unproven forward scrum to back up Hopkins at the four.

Postseason Evaluation:

Copeland's season falls squarely in the middle of these two projections. He has shown tantalizing flashes of star potential, particularly recently. However, for such a talented player, he has had too many quiet games, and has not established himself as a consistent star yet. Still, it is easy to see that Copeland has great potential, and could be the next in a growing line of long, athletic Hoya forwards to enjoy a successful pro career.


LJ Peak:

Soaring Delusion:

Peak begins the season as a sparkplug off the bench, and becomes the leader of the second unit, putting up points in bunches while D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Josh Smith rest. As the season grows, so does Peak's confidence, and he eventually earns a starting role at the small forward position, where he thrives in a supporting role. He displays improved form on his jumpshot, and plays hard on both ends of the floor, earning John Thompson III's trust and creating optimism for a huge sophomore season.

Crushing Cynicism:

The adjustment to college basketball proves to be too much for Peak at the beginning of his career. He struggles to get to the rim, and thus tries to force the issue, often resulting in turnovers. He displays visible frustration with his lack of touches, and struggles to adjust to his role as a supporting player.  Peak falls behind Aaron Bowen and Reggie Cameron in the wing rotation, and is kept on a short leash by John Thompson III as the team moves toward the postseason.

Postseason Evaluation:

Like Copeland, Peak has shown flashes of his Soaring Delusion forecast, but has also had frustrating periods of inactivity, particularly recently. He has had trouble finishing around the rim and his outside shot has deserted him. Still, LJ is a naturally gifted scorer, and will be a key piece of Georgetown's future.


Paul White:

Soaring delusion:

White becomes the Hoyas' sixth man and he and Copeland form a menacing, long-armed forward combination. He's strong enough to defend the four and to hold his own on the glass.  He's quick enough to allow JT3 to rotate White, Copeland, and Bowen as forwards in a lethal press. On offense, he stretches the floor by hitting threes and mid-range jumpers and moving effectively without the ball and freeing up space for his more ball-dominant teammates.

Crushing cynicism:

White needs a year to adjust to the speed and bulk of the college game. He shows flashes of his diverse skill set but struggles to create enough space on offense, to keep up on defense, and to hold his own around the basket. He gets lost in the shuffle for front-court minutes and ends up at the end of the rotation, chipping in here and there but not contributing reliably.

Postseason Evaluation:

White has generally exceeded expectations. He is a polished offensive player who can score from all three levels of the floor, and shows a high basketball IQ. Still, he has struggled as of late, and has looked unsure of himself on the floor at times. Overall, White has shown enough to indicate a bright future for him alongside his classmates, and it is clear that he was an excellent recruiting coup for John Thompson III.


Tre Campbell:

Soaring Delusion:

Campbell provides a solid presence off the bench and immediately earns minutes as Smith-Rivera's backup. He shoots 35% from 3-point range and provides effort and energy on both ends of the floor, gradually earning Thompson's trust. As the Hoyas march towards the postseason, Campbell starts to earn minutes alongside Smith-Rivera in addition to his backup minutes, allowing DSR to slide over to his more natural shooting guard position for part of every game.  Alongside L.J. Peak, Campbell creates an exciting backcourt for the future.

Crushing Cynicism:

Campbell struggles to adapt to the college game. He is overwhelmed by faster and bigger point guards on defense, and struggles to fight through picks set by bulkier and smarter forwards.  On offense, he turns the ball over far too often, and forces the issue too often in the half-court set.  As Big East play begins, Campbell plays only spot minutes, as Jabril Trawick takes over backup point guard duties. Campbell is forced to wait until his sophomore year to make a significant impact.

Postseason Evaluation:

Campbell has greatly exceeded expectations. He is a confident shooter and has shown great speed and agility, and has proven himself to be capable enough to play significant minutes when the team needs him to. His one-man full-court press is one of the most enjoyable subtle aspects of this year's team, and he is a key part of the future.


Trey Mourning:

Soaring Delusion:

Mourning is stronger, quicker, and better than his uneven play at Kenner League suggested.  He carves out a role as a sharp-shooting stretch-four who in spot minutes opens up the court for Smith and the slashing Hoya guards.  With Copeland and White, Mourning lays the foundation for the Hoya front court of the future.

Crushing Cynicism:

College competition is too much. Mourning is too slight to guard opposing posts, to slow to defend the perimeter, and not burly enough to pound the boards. He doesn't release jumpers quickly or accurately enough to stretch opposing defenses, and he's relegated to mop-up duty with the walk-ons.

Postseason Evaluation:

Mourning simply isn't ready to be a Big East post player, but John Thompson III has expressed optimism that he will eventually become a part of the rotation. By all accounts, he is an intelligent and articulate young man, and there is certainly hope that he can develop into a capable stretch forward.


Walk-ons:

David Allen & Riyan Williams:

Soaring Delusion:

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.

Crushing Cynicism:

Injuries deplete the back-court and we see meaningful minutes from Allen and Williams. The Hoyas once again end up in the NIT. Sigh.

Postseason Evaluation:

Allen and Williams have provided valuable contributions in practice, and have not been forced into playing significant minutes. Overall, they have filled their role and helped the program in the ways that they can.

Team Evaluation:

Overall, this season has been a success. True, some players have failed to meet expectations, and all of them have shown certain flaws. Still, the Hoyas have earned a number of memorable wins, zero inexplicable losses, and solid position for the Big East tournament as well as March Madness. This season has certainly been more enjoyable than last year, and a thrilling freshman class has laid the foundation for a promising future. Hoya Saxa.