Your Georgetown Hoyas are back at it for their first game of the new year Tuesday night in Chicago at DePaul. For more knowledge on all things Blue Demon, here’s Dan Stack, freelance college basketball blogger extraordinaire. You can find him on Twitter @stacdemon.
DePaul! You guys just almost beat Xavier. How's the season gone otherwise?
Well, it's tough to properly assess right now. The thing is DePaul has won all of the games it was "supposed" to win and lose all the games it was supposed to lose. Normally DePaul would lose to a scrubby mid-major, but not this year. So there's that. Plus, DePaul has played a really tough schedule (at least with top-end games) and did compete in losses to Notre Dame, Oregon, Illinois, Northwestern and Xavier—the latter two games DePaul really should have won. They simply choked those games away.
So with Billy Garrett Jr. graduated, who's good on DePaul? Is there a Billy Garrett III or something?
You better recognize Max Strus. This kid is something special.
The D2 transfer (from Lewis) leads the Demons in scoring with 18.6 points per game. Strus is a terrific shooter who is now getting his legs under him after few shaky games to start the season, But he is more than just a shooter. He is an athletic freak and plays his heart out. He’ll hit with long-range jumpers, spin moves to basket as well as showing a deft touch from mid-range as well. Plus he is a good passer and rebounder. Don't be surprised if he gets “loose” for an alley-oop (BTW, “the Strus is loose” phrase is a trendy Twitter subject among Demon fans).
He has been much needed, too, with holdovers Eli Cain and Tre McCallum struggling this season.
How much have the Blue Demons' new recruits changed people's minds, if at all, about Dave Leitao? Is he long for this job?
Recruiting is certainly gotten better under Leitao as compared to Oliver Purnell and Jerry Wainwright.
Strus has been a phenomenal addition. We have a 4-star freshman point guard in Justin Roberts (who had a helluva game against Xavier). We got former 4-star guard Austin Grandstaff (previously at Ohio State) on the roster; although he has shown little to justify his lofty HS prep clippings. We got another former 4-star guard sitting out in Jalen Coleman-Lands (from Illinois). DePaul also just signed a 4-star point guard from New Zealand and he may be eligible to play soon. Then again, he may just sit out the year depending on when he gets cleared.
Plus, we are still in the hunt for Tyger Campbell, a top-60 player who decommitted earlier in the year.
Leitao is starting to feel the heat from many in the fanbase though, and he'll have to deliver results sooner rather than later. I think he'll get an additional year no matter what this year. That said, if he can't get this team towards a winning record by year 5, he may be a goner.
What's DePaul's new arena like?
I have not been there just yet but plan on going soon. From all accounts it is beautiful with terrific sight lines. Complaints are pouring in about parking and the long concession lines. Regardless, a move to playing, you know, within the city limits was criminally overdue and the smaller-size arena provides it with the coziness it needs. No more games in a hangar with 1,000 people in attendance. If even the attendance is poor, it's a better look in this arena.
What do you think of new coach Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas so far this season?
Well, first of all you are welcome for DePaul replacing you guys in the PK80 Tournament. As a result we suffered losses to Michigan State and Oregon that you guys shoulda had. Just kidding.
In all seriousness, the perception I have is probably one you are familiar with. That schedule. Sorry, but it was brutal and if DePaul had played the same schedule, I think the Demons would have had the same record.
That said, it seems the players seem pumped playing for a legend in Ewing. He definitely warrants respect and his connections to the NBA should get the Hoyas better recruits.
Ketchup on a hot dog: yes or no? Explain your reasoning.
No. It's odd, though, I love ketchup on other meats like brats, sausages, etc but I grew up liking only mustard on dogs. That's the way it stuck for me.
Oh yeah, the Friar mascot is downright creepy. I have covered some Providence games and that thing is more creepy up close. The mascot looks like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber dressed in a robe with his face melting. Hide your kids around that guy! HA.
Special mention goes out to the Stanford mascot. It's not creepy, but it's a still an abomination of a mascot.
Any goals or resolutions for 2018 for yourself?
Well, I'm in the middle of losing some weight, so I will keep that resolution up. I guess, I will try to not let sports and my favorites teams boil my blood. I'm also a New York Mets and New York Giants fan, so the last year has been brutal for me.
Final score prediction?
DePaul has prepared itself well with its tough schedule and they are so close to breaking through. Hence, the Demons will finally get their first win. I got Blue Demons 75, Hoyas 70.