Barring any last-minute commitments and/or transfers, your Georgetown University Fighting Bulldogs appear to have a complete roster heading into the 2016-17 season. After perhaps the most unconventional offseason of the JTIII era, Georgetown is determined to right the ship and alter the trajectory of a program that has failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in two of its last three seasons.
With a newfound sense of urgency, JTIII and his staff have added five warm bodies to next year's roster in a matter of weeks: Jon Mulmore, a 6'-4'' combo guard who finished second in the country in JuCo scoring; Rodney Pryor, a grizzled 6'-5'' guard who will be 24 years old before the season starts; Jagan Mosely, a 6'-3'' tough-as-nails guard who was voted New Jersey's player of the year; George Muresan, the 6'-8'' and still-growing son of Gheorghe Muresan; and a seven-foot behemoth nicknamed Rutherford by a group of snarky but passionate fools on the Internet.
With this collection of new blood, one certainly can't fault our staff for trying. It's hard to recall a more creative offseason, particularly when you consider that the Hoyas have added a traditional recruit, a junior college transfer, a fifth year graduate transfer and an experienced walk-on, while at the same time making savvy use of the red shirt rules to allow Big Brad Hayes to stick around for one more run. With all of these developments, Georgetown now has one of its deepest rosters in 15+ years.
Given this newfound depth, and despite last season's disappointments, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't excited. To be sure, there is a fair bit of uncertainty with regard to who will start, who will play, and who will pout; but for now, let's examine what the current roster of Hoyas needs to do to make the most out of this very pivotal of offseasons.
For those of you who have criticized the direction of the program, you have asked for positive developments in the following areas: recruiting, coaching philosophy and style, and player development. Having demonstrated a fresh aggressiveness on the recruiting trail (and with our fingers crossed that elite players from the Class of 2017 and 2018 decide to commit to the Hilltop), the staff seems to have checked the first box. It's far too early to glean any information on changes to JTIII's coaching philosophy, although there have been some early indications from both JTIII and potential recruits that there will likely be modifications to our Princeton-influenced sets. And while we won't receive any real sense of how the players have developed until the Kenner League begins later this summer, we can at least put together a wish list of what each player can do to make himself a more complete player and valuable contributor.
Without further ado, here is one writer's early summer night's dream of what each Hoya needs to work on to improve his game. In alphabetical order, so as not to prejudge any potential starting lineups, etc.
Akoy Agau: After a season-ending ACL injury derailed his first season on the Hilltop, Agau will surely be looking to get back into game shape, fully rehabilitate his knee and work on his conditioning. Georgetown clearly missed his defense and rebounding last season, and I expect that a healthy Agau will end up being a key contributor next season. For Agau to receive some minutes next year, he needs to demonstrate an ability to do all of the little things. There's room for an athletic grinder at the power forward spot who can defend well, collect loose balls and go hard to the basket. If Agau can stay healthy entering next year, he really can emerge as a glue guy on the squad.
Reggie Cameron: At this point, we all know what Reggie can and cannot do as a player. We're aware of his strengths and limitations. With a decent showing last season, he has become a streaky set shooter who can get hot from the perimeter, but who lacks the defensive agility to hang with speedy guards. Although I am not convinced that Reggie can alter his game for better or worse in any significant way, there is one area where he will be counted on to develop: his leadership skills. Alongside Bradley Hayes, Reggie will be a senior on this roster and should be hungry to remake the image of this once-feared Hoyas' squad. Now that DSR is gone, Reggie needs to be a vocal leader and start leading by example. Whether his minutes go up or down next season, he needs to set the tone early for this mish-mash of new and returning players. Reggie can absolutely be that guy.
Tre Campbell: What makes T.C.'s sophomore campaign so frustrating is the fact that he showed so many positive flashes during his freshman year. One could argue that he looked more polished during his first year than guys like Markel, Jon Wallace and Jason Clark did during their respective rookie years. But instead of seeing his game trend positively, fans were frustrated when it looked like Tre took a step back. Whether this has something to do with Tre's early-season medical issues, or whether he simply struggled to adjust to a team without backcourt stalwarts like Jabril and Bowen, it's tough to say. Either way, it was clear he wasn't the creator and floor leader that folks wanted him to be. So, where does Tre go from here? For starters, I think he needs to focus on not trying to do too much. Tre should be able to hit perimeter shots and provide a spark on offense. He doesn't need to be the engine of our offense, but he at least needs to find a role for himself and perform it well. Although he has a good assist to turnover ratio, he was often too tentative and unsure of himself. With another year under his belt and a full offseason to work on his game, hopefully he can rediscover his role. On defense, he needs to find a balance between playing tight and reaching; Tre has quick hands, but he gambled a bit too often last season. With more experience, this should be less of a concern.
Isaac Copeland: Perhaps the biggest enigma all of last season, Isaac dazzled when he scored 21 against Duke and 32 at Marquette, but disappointed when he combined for 41 total points during a woeful eight-game stretch in January. With Isaac, we all know the skill set is there; it's just a question of whether he can put it all together on a consistent basis. Too often last season, he would hang out on the perimeter, defer to DSR and settle for shots beyond the arc (where he was a disappointing 27.2%). For Isaac to be effective on offense, he needs to find the right balance of hard moves to the basket, midrange jumpers and long-range shots. He can do it, provided he regains his confidence. In the offseason, I think it's critical that Isaac not only work on his decision-making, but also his shooting. Cope's percentages from the foul line and beyond the arc both dipped negatively compared to his freshman year. Both should be easily correctable. With such a deep squad next year, Isaac shouldn't feel like he needs to be the focal point on offense, but when he puts it all together, he can perhaps be the most complete player on the team. Get that confidence back, Isaac, and this team can go places.
Marcus Derrickson: In his freshman campaign, the Doctor displayed some promising skills. His sweet perimeter stroke is complemented by muscular interior play and solid rebounding. Derrickson reminds me a little of DaJuan Summers in the sense that he can be effective as a set shooter and can play either of the forward positions. So, what can young Marcus do to improve his game? For starters, I'd like to see what he can do in between the three-point line and under the basket. With his ability to shoot the ball, including a dazzling 86.9% from the charity stripe, Derrickson can and should be able to find a more efficient midrange game. As the season progressed, he relied a bit too much on his outside shot and was reluctant to mix things up. As he gets more comfortable in the offense, he should refine his midrange game and volunteer to step over to the foul line to shred opposing 2-3 zones. On defense, he just needs to move his feet faster and communicate better. Both of those things should happen now that he's had some time to get his feet wet.
Jessie Govan: In his lone season on the Hilltop, Jessie G. displayed a dazzling skill set for such a young guy. Shooting 83% from the line and 50% from beyond the arc, Jessie showed us that feathery touch that forced defenses to pay attention to him on the perimeter. Despite his strong opening campaign, which included a 27 point performance against Seton Hall, there is much that Jessie can improve upon. On offense, he needs to work on his post game. We all know he can hit threes and bull his way to the basket, but against stronger foes, he needs more finesse in the paint. He should work with Big Brad every single day to develop his arsenal of fakes and fades and post-up moves. And he should develop a little face-up game too. Jessie is just scratching the surface and has the potential to do so much more. With a more polished post-up game and maybe the occasional midrange jumper, he becomes so much more dangerous. On defense, Jessie just needs to learn how to position himself, when to move his feet and how to avoid contact. As the season progressed, his lack of conditioning became apparent and his foul rate increased. If he can avoid these "tired" fouls, he'll help this team a lot.
Bradley Hayes: In a breakout senior season, ol' Rutherford displayed a number of nifty post moves and provided the Hoyas with some much needed leadership during tough stretches of the season. It's hard not to love a kid who has praised this team during good times and bad, and who continues to work for the good of this program. The Hoyas went 0-6 while Big Brad was sidelined with a fractured hand late in the season. And yet, despite the crucial role he played as Georgetown's low-post anchor, there is so much more that B.J. can do to improve his game. On the offensive end, he can complement his array of low-post moves by developing a mid-range game. At times, Brad was a one-trick pony: he would catch the ball deep in the paint and either look to post his man up or kick the ball out to a perimeter shooter. With the confidence to hit mid-range jumpers and improve his face-up game, defenses won't be able to take advantage of his largely predictable tendencies. On defense, many have argued that despite Big Brad's size, he was a liability because of his slow play and eagerness to leave his feet and thereby commit fouls against penetrating guards. On this issue, he can take a page out of Roy Hibbert's book: you're already a towering seven-foot beast, so there's no need to jump. Stay back, play smart and keep your hands up, big fella. Sometimes that's all it takes.
Kaleb Johnson: Averaging 11 minutes per game in his rookie season, Kaleb showed some flashes, particularly on the defensive end. With his length, speed and above-average rebounding skill for a guard, Kaleb filled in nicely for Aaron Bowen to give the Hoyas the occasional spark. He even connected on half of his threes (albeit only seven out of 13). For Kaleb to improve this offseason, he needs to work on his ball handling and free throw shooting. Without DSR, there will be opportunities for someone to bring the ball up the court; even though Kaleb is unlikely to start, he can certainly contribute. Kaleb's most glaring weakness on the offensive end was his poor shooting from the charity stripe, where he only connected on 26 of 50 attempts. If he can improve those numbers (which seems doable, as long as he puts in the time), he should get more run. On the defensive end, he just needs to keep up the intensity without fouling as much. Kaleb averaged approximately one foul every 5.5 minutes, so he'll need to figure out a way to stay aggressive without fouling if he wants to stay on the court.
Jagan Mosely: I'm downright giddy about this kid. If you don't know much about him, just read this interview: http://247sports.com/Bolt/34-questions-with-Hoyas-signee-Jagan-Mosely-44962226. Jagan is a combo guard who can get to the basket, plays hard-nosed defense and isn't afraid to work. He's basically a younger version of Jabril. Despite his relative youth, Mosely is a winner who led his St. Anthony's squad to an NJ Tournament of Champions title. There is no doubt that he'll have to adjust to the speed of the college game, but this is a kid who should earn some decent minutes next season. For him to see more time on the court, Jagan will have to work on his strength and conditioning, carve out a role for himself in the offense, and demonstrate an ability to play the point (given the presence of Mulmore, Pryor and Peak, I think Mosely will have an easier time of finding minutes this year if he can serve as a ball handler). Mosely isn't your typical freshman, so don't be surprised if he uses this offseason as a chance to be a young leader. I'm excited to see what this kid can do.
Trey Mourning: With all of the injuries to the Hoyas last season, Trey was often asked to contribute, and for the most part, he did. He played well against Duke and Creighton, and during that epic oh-so-close comeback at Providence, he chipped in ten points, including a massive three late in the contest. Heading into next year, it's unclear whether Mourning will be able to get more run as a junior. The return of White, Agau and Hayes will almost certainly limit his minutes. That said, at a minimum, Mourning should be able to chip in off the bench. With another offseason under his belt, how can he improve his chances? For one, he can work on his midrange game. Unlike Hayes and Agau, Mourning has already demonstrated an ability to hit mid-range shots. If he can make those on a more consistent basis, he could receive playing time alongside Hayes or Govan, rather than simply replacing them when they're in foul trouble. He also just needs to work on the little things, like rebounding and defense. With another year in the weight room, Mourning should have the size to body down low; we could use him under the basket as a stopper if/when he sees action. Perhaps most importantly, though, Mourning needs to embrace a leadership role. Despite his lack of playing time, he's one of the more vocal guys on the floor. We'll need more of that fire next year, as only a kid named Mourning knows how to bring it.
Jonathan Mulmore: Although it's tough to evaluate a kid who has yet to play for the Hoyas, there's a lot we know about Mulmore. He's a tough kid who is adept at penetrating to the basket, finding his shot and hitting his free throws (he shot over 80% from the line last season). With the departure of DSR, it's not bad to have a guy on this team who isn't afraid to shoot the rock. So, given what we know, what can he do to help this squad? First and foremost, he needs to work on his point guard skills. My hunch is that Mulmore has a decent chance to start this season, provided he can handle the ball and not turn the ball over as often as he did last year. Georgetown is craving some steady play from the lead guard spot and Mulmore can certainly provide it. The question is whether his score-first mentality will gel with whatever system we deploy. Lots of guys on this team will want shots; and although it's refreshing to have someone on this team who, similar to DSR, is happy to put his head down and score, one wonders whether that mind set will complement or frustrate the skill sets of the guys who play alongside him. Mulmore's chemistry with other guards on the roster will be something to watch this offseason.
George Muresan: Welcome to the Hilltop, young big fella. My Giant's son just needs to work on his conditioning, hit the weight room and learn as much as he can from other big guys on the team. George isn't going to play much this season, but this is an important year in his development. Big Brad should put his arm around him, explain to him how much he can improve in the next four or five years and what it means to be a Hoya big man. George is a lanky forward now, but after a year or two or growing and developing, who knows what he'll look like? If he puts in the time, he could be the next Hank Sims.
L.J. Peak: Perhaps Georgetown's most improved player, L.J.'s minutes went down slightly in his second season, but his numbers in virtually every category improved, often considerably. His FG% rose from 39% to 49%; his three-point FG% rose from 24.6% to 40.9%; his FT% rose from 70.1% to 74.8%; his rebounds rose from 2.3 per game to 3.3 per game; and his scoring average rose from 7.9 ppg to 12.3 ppg. Despite all of these considerable leaps in performance, Peak's minutes declined as a result of turnovers and fouls. In addition to a slight increase in turnovers per game, Peak's foul rate increased from 2 fouls per game to 3.5 fouls per game. In the offseason, then, it's clear where Peak needs to focus his energy: learning to play defense without fouling and playing smart with the ball. If Peak can learn to be aggressive without reaching, he'll be able to stay on the court longer.
Rodney Pryor: When the season begins, Rodney Pryor will be a 24 year old man who has experienced a number of highs and lows. He has already experienced the high of playing in the NCAA Tournament (which included a nice showing against Duke) and the low of missing two seasons due to a broken foot and a torn ACL. Through all of it, the kid has persevered. He's a shooting guard who knows how to defend at a high level. And heading into next season, he'll be called upon to be a leader even though it'll be his first year on the Hilltop. In terms of what he can improve this offseason, I think he needs to polish his outside shot and spend as much time as possible learning our system and gelling with his teammates. Pryor will get a ton of minutes; and with young guys like Mosely entering the mix, Pryor can set a positive example for all of the underclassmen with his work ethic and hard-nosed defense. After five years at the collegiate level, Rodney won't necessarily be able to develop his skill set in any meaningful way; but he will certainly have an opportunity to be a leader on a high-major squad, a role he should hopefully embrace.
Paul White: After missing most of last season with a sports hernia, White should be ready roll heading into next year. Given his lack of time on the court last year, it's perhaps most difficult to assess what he needs to improve on in the offseason. For the most part, Paul just needs to do what Paul does best, which is a little of everything. Paul should be a guy who can knock down open perimeter looks, throw solid entry passes into the post and help out with ball handling whenever our backcourt needs help. Paul isn't magically going to change his game to become more of a slasher, but given the makeup of next year's roster, he won't need to. If Paul can just keep up his good work as a facilitator and perimeter threat, he should help considerably next year.