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Senior Highlight Reel: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

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Grab your popcorn, kids. DSR has put on quite a show.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was not originally planning to be a Hoya. The promising young guard from Indiana had verbally committed to Xavier early in his Junior year of high school. Later that fall, he decided to re-open his recruitment to schools that had previously offered him scholarships. He visited Georgetown for Midnight Madness in October 2011, and the rest, as they say, is history.

He has worked his way up the ranks to become the 5th all-time leading scorer in Georgetown basketball. Over the course of this season, his totals surpassed near-contemporaries such as Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. This required eclipsing names from decades past, like Charles Smith, Othella Harrington and Allen Iverson. The beautiful, deadly three-point shot he used to such glorious effect earned him the nickname "DSR43", a phrase that has been e-screamed no fewer than 300 times on this very lunch blog.

Before the senior guard steps out under the dimmer switch of MSG one final time, the incredible performances (and hairstyles) of the past four years deserve a replay.

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As a freshman in the 2012-2013 season, DSR was the third guard option behind Markel Starks and Jabril Trawick. He played starter minutes from the beginning and integrated himself seamlessly into the Hoyas lineup. A 33-point performance late in Big East play brought him, once and for all, out from the shadow of the Otto Porter-led lineup. It was the most points scored by a Georgetown freshman since Victor Page, and the most ever by a freshman under John Thompson III. And during that sweet, sweet 61-39 win over the traitors of Syracuse? He racked up 5 blocks alongside double-digit scoring.

You likely don't remember, but DSR was involved in the most memorable basket of that season. And it was a shot that he missed. His aggressive layup attempt split the Cardinals' defense and opened up a lane for Aaron Bowen to come soaring in for the game winning putback against Louisville.

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Smith-Rivera's arsenal only expanded as he gained experience at the college level. This pretty jumper left no option for Doug McDermott and the Creighton defenders but to turn and watch that ball glide through the net.

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Questions about his effort on the defensive end were answered as well. He pursued loose balls and chased opponents down the court. The pretty shot off the glass that had sometimes eluded him Freshman year was no longer an issue either, even under pressure. The congratulatory thump and snarl from Jabril Trawick is always a sign you're doing something right.

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The solid frame that had drawn comparisons to Austin was serving DSR well in conference play. He corralled passes well and was unafraid to draw contact while driving to the basket. The innate "touch" he possessed as an outside shooter was equally present in the paint.

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Junior year asked a lot of D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera. With Starks having graduated, the mantle of PG was going to be placed upon DSR, as the guard with the best handle. Trawick could share some of that load, and freshman Tre Campbell was waiting in the wings, but this would be DSR's team.

With the game on the line, the team would look to get the ball in his hands. When that very situation arose in overtime against Florida at the Battle4Atlantis, he rose to the occasion. Smith-Rivera nailed the game-winner in overtime.

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You expect the point guard to handle the ball deftly, surely, and with an uncanny knowledge of everyone else's position on the court. This behind the back pass to Trawick against Wisconsin is the first time I can recall DSR executing something that fancy. It's mesmerizing.

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Leading a team requires more than just scoring. It also means supporting your teammates and being engaged even when you are not on the court. If the sight of the two upperclassmen whispering and smiling in approval of then-Freshman Isaac Copeland's dunk doesn't give you that warm-and-fuzzy feeling, you may be dead inside.

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Of course, he wouldn't be worthy of the "DSR43" moniker without the ability to nail outside shots and singlehandedly propel his team back into the game. That's exactly what happened in Georgetown's big showdown against Indiana just prior to the start of Big East play.

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Sometimes DSR is stoic. Sometimes he is not. I love this and cannot watch it without giggling gleefully. (Note: Yup, sometimes basketball 'analysis' gets replaced with being a fangirl. I make no apologies whatsoever.)

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The big moment does not always involve putting the ball in the basket. Sometimes, it's all about defense. After a huge three from Copeland gave the Hoyas a slim lead over Butler with 5 seconds remaining. It was DSR who got back down the court in time to block the shot from Roosevelt Jones and seal the victory.

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DSR continued to make friends with the Bulldogs a few weeks later. On the road at Hinkle Fieldhouse, he showed off an impressive handle with this sweet behind-the-back dribble and destroyed Alex Barlow's ankles in the process. Couldn't have happened to a nicer kid. Really.

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Georgetown was set to face Creighton in their first matchup of the Big East Tournament in 2015. That whole "it's hard to beat a team three times in one season" was a spectre hanging over the game. Fans (and perhaps a few players) were wringing their hands and flashing back to the Hoyas' unceremonious elimination at the hands of DePaul in the opening game of the previous year's conference tournament. DSR turning in quite the solo performance, capped off by two icy-cold free throws to close out the win.

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In Spring of 2015, Smith-Rivera surprised us all when he declared for the NBA Draft. Another frustrating loss in the NCAA tournament likely took a mental toll. There would be many questions about the prospect of competing his final season as out-of-position point guard and leader alongside a group of inexperienced players. The risk of injury is something college players must always weigh against their decision to remain in school over beginning a professional career. Whatever his motivations, DSR ultimately decided to withdraw his name from consideration and return for his fourth and final season on the hilltop.

Without another experienced guard by his side, the pressure on DSR was greater than ever. He has played tirelessly and turned in huge performances throughout the season. He has scored in double figures 27 times, passed Jonathan Wallace to claim the title of most 3-point baskets made by a Hoya, and he eclipsed last season's assist total weeks ago. When describing the tenacity of his senior guard, John Thompson III seemed incredulous at the suggestion that Smith-Rivera would do anything but play his best:

"He's a senior at Georgetown playing against Syracuse. If he's not fired up to play in this game we've made a whole lot of mistakes these last four years."

Adapting his game to accommodate and work with the skill set of those around him could not have been easy. Between Akoy Agau's torn ACL, Tre Campbell's early season illness, Paul White's surgery, Marcus Derrickson's brief absence with a bruised knee and Bradley Hayes' broken hand, this season was losing moving parts on a weekly basis. Add to that the awful slump Isaac Copeland was experiencing, and it's no surprise that the Hoyas have struggled.

Those who dare to describe this season as a disappointing performance by Smith-Rivera must pointedly overlook the fact that he has worked tirelessly and without complaint, playing far more minutes than any of his teammates. 500+ points, nearly 150 assists, 110 rebounds and 82% FT across more than 1100 minutes of playing time. Statistics can be manipulated in any number of ways, but performances such as this 30-point outing give credence to the eye test.

...

The things that would be impressive coming from another player no longer move the needle with DSR.

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Think about it: Did anyone notice when he shot 100% from behind the arc in the upset of Xavierr? Fans expect him to make the game-winning free throws when he draws the foul off Creighton with 6.2 seconds left, icing an unbelievable Hoyas comeback. Without looking at the box score, it would not register that he racked up a career-high nine assists in the recent game against Marquette. These are not the flashy contributions that get fans excited. The replay of those isn't going to make anyone say, "Wow!"

It takes things like the 33-point performance against St. John's, matching his career high, to make people take notice. And it certainly is impressive to watch. At least for Georgetown fans. Listen to the audio, please. The announcers seem blissfully unaware that D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (or anyone else) is playing basketball. They talk about other schools' tournament chances, how tough things are for Syracuse with Jim Boeheim's suspension, and fail to even acknowledge one of the three-pointers late in the second half.

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Tracking down all 69 of his three-pointers from this season seemed like a fitting (and potentially dizzying) way to end this tribute. However, I'm still holding out hope that he's going to add to that total starting Wednesday night. Because it's what he does so well.

This week's Big East Tournament starts tomorrow. Let's see what else DSR's got up his sleeve.