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Player Profiles: Jessie Govan

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NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Villanova vs Georgetown Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next two weeks, St. Patrick and Run DSR are bringing you all their hot takes on this season’s Hoyas, as they desperately try to avoid a nervous breakdown regarding the collapse of their fantasy football teams and possibly the Western world. Up this week: Jessie Govan.

NAME: Jessie Govan

YEAR: Sophomore

POSITION: Center HEIGHT: 6-foot-10 WEIGHT: 270 lbs

WHAT WE KNOW

As the Hoyas’ most highly-touted freshman big in years, Govan was a much-needed source of optimism amidst the worst season of the John Thompson III era. He spelled senior Bradley Hayes in the paint all year, bringing a breath of fresh air to the stagnant offense with his outside shooting ability and playing smart, fundamental defense at the rim. The promising year didn’t come without its bumps, of course: He struggled to defend quicker face-up big men, appeared winded at times and finished second on the team in turnovers as the backup center. But while he’s still raw in many ways, Govan is considered a future NBA player and showed flashes of elite talent that could make him a dominant force in the conference for years to come.

Strength and conditioning were the clear target areas of improvement coming into Kenner League — Govan needed to show that he could run the floor, stay in front of his man and be strong with the ball in traffic. A slow start did little to dispel these concerns, but Govan became more comfortable as the summer progressed. His defense is still a work in progress, but he got down the court well and dazzled in stretches with his soft touch from all over the court.

WHAT WE EXPECT

Govan almost certainly would have assumed full-time starter’s minutes this season if not for the return of Hayes for a redshirt graduate year. Whether this is a blessing or a curse depends largely on Govan’s development. The two centers share some of the same defensive shortcomings, and Govan would be infinitely more effective in opening up space for the Hoyas’ slashing wings to attack the rim. But it’s easy to imagine scenarios in which JTIII prefers a strong 7-footer (and hook shot clinician) in Hayes over the smaller Govan, especially if the younger center continues to struggle with fumbling in the post.

Regardless of who gets the starting nod, fans should expect Govan to split center duties once again (though with a full year under his belt, we’d be surprised if he didn’t see a moderate uptick in minutes). If he’s strong with the ball and stays out of foul trouble, Govan could become a dominant inside-out force and the centerpiece of the Hoyas’ halfcourt offense. If he’s not quite there yet, Hayes’ return means that JTIII still has an experienced center at his disposal for 20+ minutes a night.