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The Casual Awards: Sex in the Champaign Room

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NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, hi. How are you? We’ve missed you. But more importantly, we’ve missed the warm embrace of VICTORY. While you were preparing yourselves for yet another season of forlorn, we were casually gearing up for an early Turkey Day, jury duty, and the sweet, sonorous rhythm of a Jim Boeheim whine. So, after a couple of disappointing relatively award-free seasons, we return, back with a vengeance, with an inaugural edition of THE CASUAL AWARDS.

In case you missed it, our Baby Hoyas are off and running with a cool little W at Illinois, capping off a week of three wins, zero losses, and paving the way for a rejuvenated, hungry, eager-for-another-inevitable-heartbreak fanbase.

So, now that our young ‘uns have finished poppin’ virgin champagne in Champaign, it’s on to Jamaica, mon.

But before we nibble on conch fritters and gulp down a case of Red Stripe, it’s time to hand out hardware to those most deserving.

Away we go….

Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Illinois
raindrop. drop top.
Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

James Akinjo.

Ladies and gentlemen, at long last we have ourselves a point guard. After four years in the wilderness following the departure of Congressman Markel Starks, your Hoyas now have a talented floor leader who can dribble, dish, and score. And dribble, dish, and score he did. What Mr. Akinjo may lack in size, he makes up for in heart.

On Tuesday night, the already famous freshman led all Hoya scorers with 19 points and seven assists (while connecting on all seven of his free throws, including some monumental ones in crunch time). After three games, Akinjo has established himself as the pace setter, the #1 ball handler, and a guy who just knows, in the words of Clyde Frazier, how to drive and thrive, dish and swish. Against Illinois, despite turning the ball over a handful of times, Akinjo remained cool and collected down the stretch, playing solid defense and hitting a dagger teardrop after splitting two defenders in the final minute of the contest.

After three games, James is averaging over 13 points and seven assists, while connecting on all 17 of his free throws. We have a real point guard, everybody. And it’s f*cking awesome.

Honorary mention:

SwordOfBrunner, because he watched the last eight minutes of this game on his phone while being surrounded by tourists and fending off the weird filthy Elmos in Times Square because he didn’t want to board the subway and miss James Akinjo’s dope ass runner while screaming “AND ONE” and scaring the people entering the 42nd Street Station.

(NYHoya note: For those of you who don’t know, Sword of Brunner is actually the naked cowboy.)

The Bonnie Laettner Award for Rooting for your Son on National Television:

Giorgi Bezhanishvili’s mom.

Most of you remember that famous Duke-Kentucky game in the early 90s when Christian Laettner hit that buzzer beater heard ‘round the college basketball world. And some of you might recall from that game that CBS made the questionable decision to repeatedly show Christian Laettner’s mom (Bonnie) sporting a neck brace while cheering and praying for her annoying son after every field goal, free throw and stomp on a Kentucky player. It was decidedly not casual.

On Tuesday night, for some unknown reason, the gods of Fox Sports chose a similar approach by focusing the cameras on Illinois big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili’s mom. Why? We have no idea. But our casual counter noticed the cameras on Ms. B at least 14 times. Boo.

The Jeff Green’s Mom Award for Getting the Crowd Fired Up at your Home Arena:

Not Giorgi Bezhanishvili’s mom.

Look, Mrs. B, if you’re gonna be the star of the show, you need to bring it like Jeff Green’s mom. If not, you might as well stay in Georgia/Austria/New Jersey (she is from all three).

Side note: Giorgi Bezhanishvili apparently spent six years taking dance lessons and is able to dance the rumba, salsa, jive, cha cha, tango, English waltz, slow waltz and foxtrot. Weirdly casual.

The Billy Hoyle Award for Not Being Able to Jump Award:

Not Mac McClung.

Remember all of those times in the last decade when you were begging, pleading and cajoling Georgetown players to just, for the love of all that is holy, f*cking dunk the ball and stop throwing up that soft garbage? Well, no more.

Mac and James may remind you of Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane, but we’ve got a roster full of Sidney Deanes. These cats can really jump. In just a few games, Mac has already done this:

And you know what that means.... we goin’ sizzler.

The Nathan Peterman Award for Turning the Ball Over Award:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

We warned you before the season started. To measure progress for this year’s Hoyas, one need only look at the turnover rate. Last year, we had the second most turnovers of any power conference team in the country. This year, even with a few more ball handlers, we’re not much better. Against Illinois, we committed a woeful 22 turnovers and we are already averaging 18 per game.

This is a problem. Young James is averaging 4.3 turnovers per contest, while Trey Mourning is chipping in over 4.0 turnovers per game. It’s a concerning start to the season, and it needs to improve. Coach Big Pat needs to make this a priority because it damn near almost cost us Tuesday night’s game. PROTECT THE BALL Y’ALL. ESPECIALLY ON INBOUNDS PLAYS, COME ON.

The Aaron Bowen Red Bull Award:

Josh Leblanc.

Dude. This kid is exactly what we need. He’s a breath of fresh air and represents the sort of long, tough, aggressive player that previous editions of your Hoyas have sorely lacked.

Josh LeBlock is basically a bigger version of Aaron Bowen. He wears Aaron’s old #23, he flies down the court, he has the wingspan of a pterodactyl and the intensity of my mom. Against Illinois, our guy Josh had a LeCasual 14 points (on seven of nine shooting), with seven boards and two blocks.

Even though Red Bull doesn’t give you wings…..

….this kid can really fly. Welcome to D.C., young warrior.

[SwordOfBrunner note: I was the campus brand rep for Red Bull at Georgetown. It gives you wings, despite reports to the contrary. It also gives you diarrhea.]

The Austin Freeman Award for Surprising Body Control:

Mac McClung.

Remember how silky smooth Austin Freeman was around the basket? He just played with a quiet confidence that allowed his slightly chunky body to contort in freakishly controlled ways.

Matthew McClung has a little bit of Austin in him. Against Illinois, Mac displayed an eagerness to score. And despite a few poor looks or rushed attempts from the perimeter, he had a handful of aggressive takes to the basket that resulted in dunks, lay-ins or acrobatic kick-outs around people to open three point shooters.

The Mac Dad’ll Make ya...

[SwordOfBrunner note: A Mac McClung highlight compilation from this game already has 200k views on YouTube, which is insane.]

The Allen Iverson Award for Perimeter Shooting:

#Mackinjo aka #JAMM aka Mac and James aka Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane

Aside from the aforementioned turnovers, the weakest part of our young backcourt’s first few games has undoubtedly been poor perimeter shooting. Unlike Govan, Pickett and Blair, who are off to good starts (both in terms of shot selection and their ability to connect on jumpers), Mac and James have had a relatively tough opening to this season.

James has missed nine of his first 12 shots from beyond the arc, while Mac has missed all 11 of his three-point attempts. This needs to improve. With James, he seems to be short on most of his shots – maybe because he’s tired, or maybe he just needs to improve his form. With Mac, we’re not sure what’s to blame. Mac was a pretty good shooter in high school, so it may just be a case of freshman jitters, but whatever it is, these guys need to hit perimeter shots. And if they do, oh my goodness we’ll be so good. Go to the gym and work on your shots, young men.

And for those of you wondering why this award is named after THE ANSWER, it’s because AI is actually the fifth worst perimeter shooter in the last twenty years, connecting on only 30.9% (904 out of 2928) of his perimeter shots. On the bright side, you don’t need to be a great perimeter shooter to play like Allen Iverson; on the other hand, Mac and James can be so much better if they take better shots and do a better job of making them.

The Almond Joy Award for Having Nuts:

James Akinjo.

Because, in the words of the great Patrick Ewing, James Akinjo has nuts. Mounds don’t.

Because sometimes you feel like a

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes you don’t

NCAA Basketball: St. John at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Hoya sacks-a! (h/t to whichever poster suggested that at the end of the game thread)

The Jeff Goldblum is Watching you Poop Award for Providing a Terrifying Visual while you are Trying to Take Care of Business Award:

Gary Williams.

Confused? Some of you may remember Jeff Goldblum’s crazy looking character from “The Fly”. Some of you may also remember that there was a movement to put posters of Jeff Goldblum’s character from “The Fly” in bathroom stalls throughout America. The posters consisted of Jeff Goldblum’s face from the movie and the following: “Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop.” Which made it quite difficult to, you know, poop.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, a couple of your Hoya faithful visited a bar called CHATTER in Chevy Chase, D.C. The bar is owned by people like Tony Kornheiser and Gary Williams. And so, next to the TV displaying the BARKING BULLDOGS, we alternated our line of sight between sweet Georgetown victory and a picture of Gary Williams and his sweaty face. It made it difficult to be happy. But somehow, we soldiered through, tried our best to ignore his visage, and celebrated the win. And now, because we’re superstitious folks, something tells us that Gary Williams’ face will feature prominently in Georgetown’s MARCH TO GLORY.

And now.....

And now, it’s on to Big Pat’s homeland for a tournament that we really, really need to dominate.

Note of Caution for the Young Hoyas: Just because you beat Illinois on the road (congrats, by the way!) does not mean any of these games will be easy. Loyola Marymount is 3-0 and has already defeated UNLV. Don’t overlook any of these teams. You’re too young to feel comfortable. So, keep that swagger going, but stay focused, my dudes.

For now, feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme. Ready or not, it’s Georgetown time. The march to Minneapolis continues in Montego Bay.

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Loyola Marymount....and everyone else in Jamaica.

Hoya damn saxa.