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Hopes and Expectations for the Hoyas at Kenner League

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Five incoming Hoyas to debut on July 7-8 with some interesting match-ups!

mcdonough

‘Twas the night before Kenner and all through the house ... well, after getting a glimpse at the rosters and schedule yesterday, Hoyas fans are certainly having visions of hot dogs dance through their heads with games opening up on Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Here are the expected Hoyas playing:

A WASH ASSOCIATES: Jagan Mosely, Jamorko Pickett

CLYDE’S: Jahvon Blair, Josh LeBlanc

DARREN MCCLINTON ALL-STARS: Trey Mourning

HIGHER LEVEL: Kaleb Johnson, Grayson Carter

ON POINT: Jessie Govan, George Muresan

PREMIERE ATHLETES PERFORMANCE ATHLETES: Antwan Walker

SYMONDS ALL-STARS: Greg Malinowski, Omer Yurtseven

TOMBS: James Akinjo, Mac McClung

And here are the first games:

July 7th, 8th - Kenner

Day Date Time Team 1 Team 2 Team 1 - Player 1 Team 1 - Player 2 Team 2 - Player 1 Team 2 - Player 2
Day Date Time Team 1 Team 2 Team 1 - Player 1 Team 1 - Player 2 Team 2 - Player 1 Team 2 - Player 2
Sat 7/7/18 1:00 PM PREMIERE ATHLETES PERFORMANCE ATHLETES SYMONDS ALL-STARS Antwan Walker - Greg Malinowski Omer Yurtseven
Sat 7/7/18 2:20 PM CLYDE'S A WASH ASSOCIATES Jahvon Blair Josh LeBlanc Jagan Mosely Jamorko Pickett
Sat 7/7/18 3:40 PM DARREN MCCLINTON ALL-STARS TOMBS Trey Mourning - James Akinjo Mac McClung
Sat 7/7/18 5:00 PM ON POINT HIGHER LEVEL Jessie Govan George Muresan Kaleb Johnson Grayson Carter
Sun 7/8/18 1:00 PM CLYDE'S HIGHER LEVEL Jahvon Blair Josh LeBlanc Kaleb Johnson Grayson Carter
Sun 7/8/18 2:20 PM PREMIERE ATHLETES PERFORMANCE ATHLETES ON POINT Antwan Walker - Jessie Govan George Muresan
Sun 7/8/18 3:40 PM A WASH ASSOCIATES TOMBS Jagan Mosely Jamorko Pickett James Akinjo Mac McClung
Sun 7/8/18 5:00 PM SYMONDS ALL-STARS DARREN MCCLINTON ALL-STARS Greg Malinowski Omer Yurtseven Trey Mourning -

Looking at the Georgetown players competing, it’s no doubt that most fans are dying to see the freshmen and transfers in action, but here are some thoughts as to hopes as to what we will witness (or hear about from vv1983, #fbf to last year) for our favorite players in Kenner:

Jessie Govan (ON POINT) - Jessie Govan has some “unfinished business” in the Big East. After terrific growth and development last season (2017-18), and frankly being snubbed from nomination to an All-Big East team, Jessie is expected to be the leader of this young team statistically and in effort-level. In-season, expect Govan to be stronger and have more stamina, especially from battling Yurtseven in practice every day, but for now we’d like to see more steady progress from the big guy. Low-post work and fast-breaks will still be the hallmarks of his offensive game, but do not be surprised if he tries to show off his three-point prowess more after shooting 16 for 46 (34.8%) last year, compared to 44-109 for 40%, overall. Perhaps with more stamina and a deeper bench, Jessie’s defense will make a big step—especially his switches on screens and rim protection—but for now, we’d be happy with seeing steady improvement in his game in the Kenner League. Jessie may have to handle Walker on Sunday, but it appears as thought we’ll have to wait until 7/22 for Jessie’s ON POINT to face Yurtseven’s SYMONDS ALL-STARS.

Kaleb Johnson (HIGHER LEVEL) - During the 17-18 season, Kaleb (6’6”) was perhaps the Hoyas’ strongest and most consistent defender. His free-throw shooting became serviceable and his three-pointer looked smooth when he was wide open. Kaleb started all Big East games last season. With the talent level on the team rising, many foresee Johnson’s role being transitioned next season, but Kaleb’s effort, especially on the defensive end, may not allow that. Expect his minutes to be similar this upcoming season and, this summer, hope for continued improvement in his offensive confidence, ball-handling, and driving abilities. Kaleb is teamed with Grayson Carter (see below), who appears to be taller and a better shooter for the 3 or 4 positions.

Trey Mourning (DARREN MCCLINTON ALL-STARS) - Early last season Trey’s father, Zo, relayed that his son was recovering from hip surgery, so the Hoyas did not get anything from Trey Mourning last season. While under JTIII, Trey Mourning saw sparse minutes as a power forward, but fans readily acknowledged great hustle and nice jump shot from the elbow. While no one expects the 6’9” Mourning to lead statistically in his final season, almost everyone expects him to help lead this young team and energize games with quality depth minutes in a pretty shallow frontcourt. This summer, fans would love to see Trey defend, rebound, and nail every single open-look from 8 - 12 feet. Trey may match up against Yurtseven on Sunday 7/8.

Greg Malinowski (SYMONDS ALL-STARS) - Even after practicing with the team while sitting out a year, this guy is still a mystery for Hoya-fans. Malinowski, a 6’5” guard, transferred from William & Mary where he was a third-year starter in 2016-17 and averaged 14 ppg. Many fans are expecting Malinowski to be a shooter after making 116 of 297 three-point attempts (39.1%) in 95 games with W&M. For comparison, Marcus Derrickson was 117-for-295 (39.7%) in 89 collegiate games (MD was 47-for-101 last season). Malinowski played a couple Kenner games last summer without lighting up the world, but he really needs to shoot incredibly well this summer to give us (and Coach Ewing) confidence for the upcoming season. Malinowski may match up against Antwan Walker in game 1 on day 1.

Jagan Mosely (A WASH ASSOCIATES) - Under Coach Ewing, this 6’3” guard from NJ saw improvements in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, and points per game. While Jagan was not a starter last season (yet started 20 games his freshman year), his average minutes per game did increase a bit from 20 to 23. During the moments Hoya fans remember the team as struggling with turnovers, many were calling for more minutes for Mosely in the backcourt. While he may not be the ball-handling cure-all, Jagan’s willingness to drive and take contact certainly helped regain some much needed momentum at times. This summer expect Jagan to go out to prove that he deserves some guard-minutes by attacking the basket and distributing, as well as further demonstrating his versatility by defending some bigger players. Jagan should match up against Jahvon Blair (and maybe Josh LeBlanc, a little) on Saturday and Akinjo and Mac on Sunday.

Omer Yurtseven (SYMONDS ALL-STARS) - The 7-footer left NC State because he wanted Ewing as “a big-man coach that can help me improve.” Highlight videos of O7 show a smooth, skilled center who can get low-post points seemingly at will. However, no one wants to get too excited as (i) the transfer rules force him to sit and (ii) some people believe he was already NBA-ready. It appears there will be no rule change for the “in residency” year, so a hardship waiver is likely his only chance to play immediately. He is already fitting in well with the team, if his Instagram posts are to be believed. That said, this summer, high expectations are in order—if O7 is not the clear-cut MVP of this league it will only be because of Govan and/or small-ball dominance. Yurtseven may see Walker guard him a bit in game 1 on Saturday, and Trey Mourning on Sunday.

George Muresan (ON POINT) - Muresan is a 6-9 Junior and son of Washington Bullet’s legend Gheorghe Mureșan. He has only seen the floor in reserve minutes (8 min over 2 Big East games, last year) through two seasons, but appears to enjoy his role and work hard. We would love to see sim work with Jessie Govan on ON POINT and demonstrate some good passing and shooting with the future NBA center.

Jamorko Pickett (A WASH ASSOCIATES) - After earning Big East All-Freshman Team honors this past year, it’s sometimes easy to forget that the DC-local 4-star versatile wing did not commit to Georgetown until July 28. 2017. At 6’7” and known for his smooth shot, Pickett has been often compared to Kevin Durant. While the comparison might be premature, the ceiling for Jamorko is quite high and expectations of him following in the line of Jeff Green and Otto Porter are not unwarranted. Pickett shined in transition where he would smoothly get to the hoop and finish pretty consistently. Over the season we saw Pickett picking his spots more carefully and getting better 3-point looks from the wings (not at the top of the key). Most of Pickett’s turnovers appeared to be “freshman mistakes” that came from Ewing’s increasing pace, as well as late-game Big East pressure defense, but even his improved decision-making still fell a little short of earning a spot as a consistent end-of-game option. This summer, with more confidence and some Big East hardware already on his mantle, we should see Pickett faking the three and getting to the rack more often. His biggest improvements needs to come in moving without the ball, as he will hopefully be asked to do less ball handling and more finishing. Picket may match up against Jahvon Blair or Josh LeBlanc a bit on Saturday and may have to help guard Akinjo and Mac on Sunday.

Jahvon Blair (CLYDE’S) - Also honored as a member of the Big East All-Freshman Team, Blair was known as a scary-but-streaky left-handed shooter this year. Almost exclusively playing shooting guard last year, the 6-4 Canadian was billed as a PG coming in to GU. “Juggy” was seen running off-ball, around picks to get an open look—even towards the end of some big games. Coach Ewing certainly liked Blair enough to have given him 23 min per BE game, but late-game freshman turnovers had fans questioning if Ewing was asking too much of the rookie. Blair has tremendous potential, and confidence never appeared to be an issue for either of the two freshman shooters (206 3PA in Big East play), but this summer, ball-handling and shot selection and consistent mechanics must be priorities, and last year’s freshmen mistakes will likely be easily forgotten. Blair has an interesting match-up Saturday against Mosely in game 2 of the day.

Antwan Walker (PREMIERE) - Many believe that Antwan Walker deserved more minutes last season. For one, the 6-9 forward never looked bad or lost during his 92 minutes in 15 conference games. Also, he could have used some more work in the non-conference schedule. Now, with hindsight of Derrickson leaving for a pro career and Georgetown losing the last 5 games of 2017-18 season, Ewing likely wishes he could have given Walker some more development time. That said, Walker has not proven himself as a legitimate scoring threat as he got many of his 31 total points in BE games off of 13 offensive rebounds. Of note, however, is a memory that last summer’s Kenner League stats depicted Walker (2-5 from three on the season) shooting a significant amount of three-pointers—like more than any other GU player in the league—so, we’ll see how his gameplan is different this summer. If he is conditioning himself to play inside more, Walker may have to defend Yurtseven in game 1 Saturday and Jessie in game 2 of Sunday.

FRESHMEN

Grayson Carter (HIGHER LEVEL) - Honestly, the reason I wrote this post was as a reminder to myself not to sleep on this guy as Grayson Carter has the size (6’8”+) and touch to be one of the most deadly Hoyas this summer and next year. The first signee of the class, the versatile Texan has a smooth, high-arching shot and some solid moves around the hoop. Also, like the other freshman, he gives a pretty good interview, too, focusing on rebounding and defense. Carter has to distinguish his abilities before next season as there appears to be a log-jam at the 3 as there are at least six quality players who fall in the “wing” size/position and some of the taller guys may have to take more minutes at forward in order to get significant minutes. It would be great to see the shooting, hustle, and defense that we’ve been hearing about, as well as adding some low-post back-to-the basket moves. Paired with Kaleb on ON POINT, the two wings may be competing for minutes this summer and in the future.

Josh LeBlanc (CLYDE’S) - From what we hear, Josh LeBlanc and his 7-foot-1-inch wingspan will have an immediate impact on the defensive end. While his 6-6/6-7 height may limit his position to forward, his athleticism and timing will lead to some incredible blocks near the basket. Fresh off of winning the Louisiana state title, LeBlanc was observed (via streaming) to lead his team in scoring with a solid jumper and some good moves in the paint. Josh had his turn at breaking the internet with this monster block (days before breaking his foot and missing several weeks of the season). Expectations are high for Josh as we hope to see him as a “3 to 4 year program changer” and a defensive presence this summer. If Josh can easily score in Kenner then he’s got a shot at being an impact offensive player next season, but conversely...not so much. This weekend Josh may have to guard Jamorko in game 2 of Saturday and Carter on game 1 of Sunday.

Mac McClung (TOMBS) - The 6-2 dunking phenom likely needs no introduction in these parts, but with fairly recent appearances in the Iverson Classic and the Ballislife All-American Game, Hoyas fans got to see the different aspects of this young man’s game that attracted the coaching staff’s attention. For instance, Mac demonstrated a very nice looking shot (surprising many in three-point competitions), as well as some nice moves getting to the basket. There’s no doubt that elevation is his signature weapon, but a quick first step and good vision will hopefully open up the court for him and his teammates this summer.

James Akinjo (TOMBS) - The latest addition to the 2018 recruiting class, and the highest-rated player, the 6’1” PG out of Northern California is billed as a hard worker and tough-nosed defender. That said, the Peach Jam 2017 MVP is also known for facilitating and scoring. The term “space admiral” has replaced “floor captain” with the hopes that James can continue to be the PG-leader we’ve seen and read about. Also observed at the Ballislife game, James is eager to attack defenders and create open lanes and looks. Expect more of the same this summer.

Watching TOMBS with Mac McClung and James Akinjo sharing time as primary ball-handlers—perhaps from a suggestion by a certain coach—we may get to see the future-best-backcourt of the Big East (or more). Expect a lot of off-ball screens and pick-n-roll sets and be sure to re-read Alleninxis’ notes on Coach Ewing’s playbook and why good guard play is so valuable to the NBA-style sets. Their matchup against Jagan on Sunday should tell us something.