For the first time in his college career, Georgetown sophomore Jamorko Pickett wasn’t in uniform when the Hoyas faced SMU on Saturday.
Pickett, who played in all 30 games as a freshman with 28 starts, appeared in each of Georgetown’s first nine games this season with eight starts before ending up on the bench in a suit in what coach Patrick Ewing called a ‘coach’s decision’.
Kaleb Johnson started in place of Pickett and finished with two points and three rebounds in a season-high 12 minutes as Georgetown (7-3) lost its first home game of the season and is now on a two-game slide.
An all BIG EAST Freshmen selection a season ago, Pickett’s numbers are down across the board and it’s something that has made Ewing shake up his lineup in each of the past two home games.
In a win over Liberty on Dec 3, Ewing started Greg Malinowski instead of Pickett.
Pickett responded with one of his better games of the season in tallying a career-best five assists to go along with nine points and five boards. Ewing went with Pickett to start the second half and then after the game announced that he would be back in with the starters in the Hoyas next game at Syracuse.
In the 72-71 loss to the Orange, Pickett had three points and three turnovers and tied a season low with just 15 minutes. Pickett sat the final 17:38 as Georgetown squandered a double-digit lead to Syracuse for the second year in a row.
Johnson’s first start of the year was a curious selection based on what’s happened to date. A starter in all 30 games last season, Johnson had logged a combined 37 minutes this season, going scoreless five times. Johnson played less than a minute against Syracuse while Malinowski, who got the nod over Pickett two games ago, had 11 points in 14 minutes off the bench in the Carrier Dome.
When asked about lineups and rotations afterwards, Ewing explained how he coaches on feel and momentum.
“On any given night someone else is going to shine or someone else is going to play,” Ewing said about is rotations.
“I don’t go into a game with preconceived notions of he’s going to play and he’s going to play this many minutes or someone else is going to play this many minutes. I just base it on how they’re playing. If they’re playing well they’ll play. If not then someone else is going have that opportunity.”
While only commenting that Pickett’s absence was a ‘coach’s decision’, Ewing felt that Johnson played well despite only getting three minutes in the second half.
“I think he played fine,” Ewing said. “The fact that he got his third foul that kind of hurt him. I just wanted to go, I went elsewhere.”
Malinowski played 18 minutes, scoring three points while committing three turnovers.
No players were made available after the game.
Georgetown hosts Appalachian State at home on Tuesday.