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Tremont Waters Commitment: What It Means for Georgetown

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, Class of 2017 point guard prospect Tremont Waters committed to Georgetown, as the Hoyas emerged the winners of a critical and hard-fought recruiting battle. There was little chatter about Waters coming to Georgetown until a week before he committed, making the recruiting victory even more surprising and satisfying.

In my opinion, Waters' commitment is one of the most important commitments Georgetown has had in recent years, not just for what he can contribute in the present, but for what he means for the program's long-term future. Waters, who is a consensus top 40 player in his class and a very highly rated prospect, but I believe that his ranking is not what makes his commitment important for Georgetown.

As the Hoyas struggled last season, fans sometimes criticized Thompson for his offensive scheme. Some regarded it as outdated, while others were frustrated by its lack of pace. This piece from the end of last season is an excellent analysis of possible changes in the offense.

In addition, while Thompson did bring in several highly rated prospects in 2014 and 2015, recruiting in the Classes of 2016 and 2017 had been mostly stagnant. Jagan Mosely was highly regarded, but was not a top-ranked prospect and was not recruited by many of the top schools in the nation. Outside of Waters and Troy Brown Jr., most of the Class of 2017 prospects that Georgetown was chasing were also outside the consensus top 75 prospects nationally.

Waters' commitment shows that after all the chatter about changes happening around the program, Thompson and the staff have committed to reversing those negative narratives. Take a look at this quote from Scout:

"...this year on the recruiting trail Thompson and his staff have been selling that they are going to be modifying, if not outright changing, the offense. They sold players on playing faster, having more freedom, and utilizing more ball screens.

Some prospects didn't buy into the sell, but Waters did. The No. 36 overall prospect has been to Georgetown to see them practice, and he saw enough to believe that they were putting in a system that would fit him well."

It's hard to understate the importance of this quote. Waters, a jet-quick 5-foot-11 point guard, is exactly the type of player that Georgetown's roster has lacked over the past few years — and is exactly the type of recruit Thompson has struggled to bring in. Ball-dominant guards like Chris Lykes, Seventh Woods, and P.J. Dozier didn't want to play in his offense, so they went elsewhere.

Waters, by all accounts, is a student of the game. He knows what offense would fit him best. Indiana, widely regarded as the second place finisher for Waters' services, has a run-and-gun offense in which Yogi Ferrell, another jet-quick small point guard, has flourished over the past few years. And yet Waters picked Georgetown over Indiana. If I hadn't just seen it happen, I wouldn't believe it.

Many fans have understandably adopted a wait-and-see approach to potential changes in Thompson's offense. Still, without seeing the Hoyas take the court, this is as clear a sign as there could be that the coaching staff has committed to making changes in the offense.

The way Waters' recruitment played out is also important. Duke, Kansas, and Kentucky, and Indiana, four of the top programs in the country, were named in Waters' top seven schools, and while it is unclear exactly how involved those schools actually were, Georgetown showed that it is still unafraid to compete, and win, against those schools.

Waters' commitment is also positive because other recruits may want to play with him. He is the kind of player who makes the game easier for all of his teammates by attracting attention and finding the open man. For example, Troy Brown Jr., another great facilitator, might see the appeal in forming truly dynamic backcourt alongside Waters and L.J. Peak next season. In addition, once Waters starts his career, he could demonstrate to future recruits that point guards can succeed in Thompson's offense.

On the court, Waters also addresses some of Georgetown's biggest weaknesses from last season. He can clearly handle the ball and break down a defense off the dribble and create open shots for himself and his teammates.

Still, as good as he is on offense, I think his potential impact on the defensive side is being overlooked. Although he is only 5-foot-11, Waters is a pest on defense and has quick hands and quick feet. On the EYBL summer circuit last season, he averaged 2.4 steals per game. Last season, Georgetown struggled mightily to keep quick point guards out of the lane and off the free throw line. Here's a look at some of the numbers:

Player

Height

Team

Date

Stats

Rashun Davis

5'11"

Radford

11/14

28 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, soul-crushing game-winning 3FG

Melo Trimble

6'3"

Maryland

11/17

24 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 13-18 FT

Braxton Ogbueze

6'1"

Charlotte

12/22

18 PTS, 6 REB, 1 AST, 5-8 3FG

Duane Wilson

6'1"

Marquette

1/2

17 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 3-3 3FG

Maurice Watson

5'10"

Creighton

1/5

27 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST, 9-13 FG

Watson

5'10"

Creighton

1/26

16 PTS, 8 REB, 7 AST, 7-14 FG

Kris Dunn

6'4"

Providence

1/30

26 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 4 STL

Dunn

6'4"

Providence

2/13

20 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 10-16 FT

Sorry I had to bring up Davis and the Radford game when it had probably just slipped out of your consciousness, but the point stands. Waters is a guy who will make it much more difficult for these players to have their way against the Hoyas' defense.

Waters is also a serious student, and like Jagan Mosely, he picked Georgetown in part because of the balance of academics and athletics. He has expressed a desire to stay four years in college and get a degree, which would make him, in my opinion, even more impactful than the top-ranked one-and-done prospects that populate the college ranks. If things pan out, Waters could be a four-year starting floor general for the Hoyas, and could find himself near the top of the Georgetown all-time leaderboard in categories including assists, three-pointers, and steals.

Despite my unbridled optimism, it's important to take all of this with a grain of salt, at least for now. We still have to see Georgetown in action before we can make any definitive proclamations about changes in the offensive philosophy. We also still have to see Waters compete at the Big East level before we anoint him as the program's savior. It's important to acknowledge that no one recruit can single-handedly alter the perceptions surrounding the program.

But Waters is a damn good start.