Well the Georgetown season may not have started but the stories are starting to take form. Specifically, the idea that Head Coach Patrick Ewing is more comfortable heading into his second season (complete with casual-like allusions to his new big chairs) and that this team is young, yet hungry.
While no one is going to force you to take a drink if a commentator mentions these on Tuesday night, such quotes may be primed to join historical catch-phrases such as “this Georgetown team has a lot of ‘length,’” “Ewing coached 15 years as an assistant in the NBA” and “Jon Wallace was recruited to go to Princeton.” Also, you may want to prepare yourself to hear that Marcus Derrickson signed a two-way contract about a dozen times.
Nevertheless, this serves as a reminder that the expectations for the Hoyas are a bit higher than one would expect for any team with a second-year head coach and planning to feature 7 freshmen and sophomores in the rotation. Trey Mourning wants some hardware and nobody is saying it is absolutely, completely ridiculous. Most fans seem to think it has to be “tournament or bust” is the rational approach. We’ll get a glimpse tomorrow! Here are the links:
Patrick Ewing is more comfortable in Year 2 at Georgetown, down to the size-XXXL couches https://t.co/4dnHqAdQXs— Philadelphia Hoyas (@PhillyHoyas) November 5, 2018
Sophomore Jamorko Pickett, having added 15 pounds or so to his reedy frame over the summer, spoke confidently as he listed goals for the Hoyas, his voice no longer shaking when addressing a room as it did last year.
“Everybody’s a lot more confident and comfortable,” Pickett said. “Last year, the team, everybody was a little skittish and stuff, we didn’t really know coach’s tendencies or how he acts. Now, everybody’s a lot more comfortable … he definitely has a lot more confidence in us.”
Ewing isn’t the newbie in the Big East anymore. He’s made the natural progression from rookie coach who leaned on his assistants when it came time to work on zone offense and defense — those quirks of the college game — to a man with a solid foundation his team understands and a roster in which the majority of players are now guys that he brought in.
PREVIEW: With a year under his belt, Ewing and the Hoyas are ready to start winning https://t.co/j2PnWu06F9— Voice Sports (@GUVoiceSports) November 5, 2018
As fans will recall, the 2017-18 Hoyas struggled on a number of fronts, most of all taking care of the ball. According to KenPom.com, Georgetown turned the ball over on 20.8 percent of their possessions, ranking 308th in Division I. A number of key, close results hinged on the team’s ability, or inability, to effectively conquer defensive pressure. New drills incorporated over the offseason targeted this weakness and the ability to close out games, Mosely said.
“We score [in the drill]by getting stops,” Mosely said. “And obviously, a stop ends with a rebound. We lost a lot of games, by rebounds, turning the ball over, and you lose points.”
Ewing acknowledged that, despite the offseason work, taking care of the ball is a work in progress.
“It’s gonna be growing pains,” Ewing said. “We’re young, especially at the guard position. All you can do is harp on it, talk about it, show film on it, show them the mistakes.”
For Ewing’s part, the main strategic change this year will be to shoot for a more balanced offense between the perimeter and the post. He downplayed the idea that he faced a big learning curve in Year One, citing his 15 seasons as an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards and three other NBA teams.
“There’s no difference in that respect because the NBA’s so young now,” Ewing said. “You’ve got one-and-done guys. You have guys who, before they changed the rule, were able to come straight from high school. I don’t think that it’s too much difference.”
Having Govan’s senior presence will be beneficial to Ewing as he enters his second year. The Hoyas have a handful of new faces this season, Ewing will need to integrate them into his program. Having well-respected upper classmen in the locker room can help with that transition. This is still a team which is a work in progress, but Jessie Govan will help keep them together.
Ewing will be looking to take Georgetown into the next phase of their rebuild. Govan’s been instrumental with implementing the type of culture the Hoyas want. This hasn’t gone overlooked by other coaches around the conference. Govan was picked for the Preseason All-Big East First Team at this year’s media day.
Georgetown sits atop DC. (Clearly.) We all know Govan is both awesome and important, but it's refreshing to see Akinjo get a nod here, because the Hoyas have more going for them this season. #HoyaSaxa #4DaysTillBasketball https://t.co/83Cxkbjry9 pic.twitter.com/Fjb1FkdPn6— Hoya Saxual (@Hoya_Saxual) November 2, 2018
Newcomer to watch: James Akinjo (G 6-0 Fr.)
Outlook: Georgetown might be the most popular dark horse pick to disprove the preseason projections that have it finishing in the Big East’s bottom half. The Hoyas do have a promising group of freshmen and sophomores who were recruited to play Patrick Ewing’s brand of ball. And big man Jessie Govan could serve as a nice centerpiece for the offense. But no Marcus Derrickson really hurts. He went pro after averaging 18.1 points per game in his final 11 contests.
The BIG EAST Conference was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Georgetown Director of Athletics Emeritus Frank Rienzo. Over the span of three decades beginning in 1969, Frank propelled the Georgetown intercollegiate athletics program into national prominence, establishing an unwavering commitment to academic and athletics excellence that defines the Hoyas to this day. Frank burnished his reputation as one of the founding fathers of the BIG EAST Conference in 1979, when he worked in concert with Dave Gavitt, John Thompson, Jr. and others to establish an East Coast-based collegiate conference with basketball at its core. As the BIG EAST looks ahead to our 40th anniversary in 2019, we pay homage to Frank, his visionary leadership and the values he held dear. We extend our sincere condolences to Georgetown University and the Rienzo family.
THOMPSON: People always ask why I don’t sit at the end of the bench. It was because of Coach McLendon. He sat in the middle of the bench and coached. He was the assistant coach [of the 1968 Olympic team], and players were on both sides of him. They could hear him. From that day on, I sat in the middle of the bench because of my respect for him.
PATRICK EWING (Center, New York Knicks; 11-Time NBA All-Star): One of the first times I experienced racism was when I moved to Boston. A lot of racial things happened with my Cambridge Rindge and Latin team. Our bus got broken into, our tires got slit, and the names that they called us . . . I just used it to fuel myself to be better.
THREE-PEAT!!!!! HOYAS WIN BIG EAST Championship for the THIRD-STRAIGHT YEAR pic.twitter.com/9NOJX4yvyl— Georgetown W Soccer (@HoyasWSoc) November 4, 2018
Georgetown Comedians: these guys need their jerseys on the wall... (tickets available)
My Dad was the first one in his family to go to college. I’m doing a benefit show with @GUAlumni @mulaney & @birbigs to benefit first generation @GeorgetownHoyas students. @Georgetown @GeorgetownHoops @georgetownsfs @msbgu @GtownVoice @thehoya @GeorgetownColl pic.twitter.com/TnNoCqNYD0— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) October 23, 2018