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The Casual Awards: Furlough Magic

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NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Hello friends. Quick shout out to federal government workers out there doing your thing.

While you were bemoaning the reappearance of our snowy white uniforms, we were throwing snowballs at government workers, eating chicken lo mein, and finding just enough time to draft THE CASUAL AWARDS.

After two overtimes and two heart-stopping game-tying threes, there’s plenty of hardware to give out.

Away. We. Go.

The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

Jessie Govan.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The big fella does whatever the big fella wants to do. Saturday at Kente One Arena was no different. Jessie was by far the best offensive player on the floor, as he poured in a career high 33 points to go along with 14 rebounds and four blocks in 42 minutes. Jessie scored at will in the paint, hit threes, hit free throws, and managed to stay active even after logging what must be the most minutes he’s ever played in a single game.

Govan seems somewhat underappreciated by the Hoya faithful - all he does is drop double doubles and provide a focal point for our offense when the rest of the team decides to look his way, while simultaneously being the proverbial backstop for us on defense.

Govan is averaging 25.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in Big East play while averaging 37.5 minutes per game (three overtime periods inflate these numbers, but the point remains).

Yes, his defense isn’t on par with his offensive output. We know this. But man, for all of the big fella’s faults, let’s take a second to appreciate his development over four years and his current value on this team. Jessie has emerged as the best big man in the conference. Where the hell would we be without him?

We’ll tell you where: livin’ in a van, down by the river.

The Mark Morrison Award for The Return of the Mac:

[editor’s note: this song is so old the video features a Concorde]

Mac McClung.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Two all beef patties, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and special sauce on a sesame seed bun are coming to Mac McClung for coming back from a sprained ankle and giving the Hoyas’ offense a much needed injection of ball handling, acrobatic layups, and big shots, none more important than his buzzer beater off the glass at the end of regulation to give the Hoyas a new lease on life.

McClung showed no ill effects from his layoff, dropping a sweet 16 points on Providence on 7 of 13 shooting and giving Georgetown a much needed second ballhander to take some pressure off of James Akinjo.

The Little Mac Award for Landing a Star Punch:

Mac McClung.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Mac gets back to back awards because he earned them today.

The Mike Seaver Award for Excellence Despite Growing Pains:

James Akinjo.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

James Akinjo finished regulation 3 of 15 from the field with eight points and when he shook off Coach Ewing’s play call with the Hoyas down one point with ten seconds left to launch a DEEEEEP three, we wanted to pull our hair out. Sounds like Coach Ewing did, too.

But then overtime happened. In the extra frames, Akinjo went 3 of 4 from the field with 12 points, including a DEEEEEP three at the end of the first overtime to tie the game

and a jumper that put the Hoyas up for good at 90-88.

Akinjo finished with 20 points and nine assists [many of which were PRETTAY off the bounce in traffic] while logging FORTY SEVEN of a possible 50 minutes in today’s contest. He was also the runner up for the Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award.

He’s a freshman who is going to get way better at picking his spots and recognizing game situations. In the meantime...the James Akinjo Experience will continue to be a bit of a roller coaster ride, but we are very much here for it.

Side note: Your Hoyas lead the conference in assists per game. That little factoid had us saying a collective “huh?”.

The Walt Clyde Frazier Award for Being a Really Good Dresser:

Not Louis Orr.

We loved JTIII’s sense of style. His threads just looked good, man. And so do his brother Ronnie’s. Coach Pat has had his ups and downs, but is really starting to find his groove on the sartorial side of the house.

But Louis Orr? Yikes. The reaction of the people behind him says it all.

You gotta step up your suit game, Louis. We’re watching you. Time to show the young ‘uns something more stylish than a recycled brown and beige checkered blazer with a white tie.

[Louis’s suit captured in this tweet, much appreciated]

The Wonderboy Award for Playing Tenacious D:

Jamorko Pickett.

Lost amongst the glitz and glamor of dual game-extending three pointers by our starting backcourt, Jamorko Pickett was integral to Saturday’s win, using his length and quickness to make great closeouts on the perimeter and providing help defense on the interior. Four blocks and a ton of altered shots, some key offensive rebounds, and this dunk?

All in a day’s work for JP. Not much to say when you’re high above the mucky muck, is there Jamorko?

[Let’s work on that handle, though.]

The Found Money Award:

Grayson Carter.

With Jessie Govan needing a rest, Grayson Carter stepped up and out of nowhere dropped two treys and an assist while running the offense from the free throw line and attacking the 2-3 zone. His six points in six minutes, in a game in which the margins proved to be razor thin, were extremely important.

The How Much Ya Bench Award:

Coach Ewing and our bench.

Ewing deserves a ton of credit for calling his number, and for going to the defensive lineup to end the first half with the Hoyas trailing by 11 with 4:14 to play. A lineup of:

James Akinjo / Jagan Mosely / Greg Malinowski / Kaleb Johnson / Grayson Carter

held Providence scoreless for the remainder of the half as Mosely/Kaleb/Grayson scored 9 points to make it a 2 point game going into halftime and giving the Hoyas a fighting chance coming out of the tunnel for the 2nd half.

[SwordOfBrunner’s explanation of bench minutes for you lawyers and English majors available here https://www.casualhoya.com/2019/1/12/18179690/game-thread-providence-friars-at-georgetown-hoyas#501189023]

The Fool Me You Can’t Get Fooled Again Award:

Ed Cooley.

First, we’re big fans of Ed Cooley. Any dude who can take little ol’ Providence to five consecutive tournaments and beat your Georgetown Hoyas EIGHT DAMN CONSECUTIVE TIMES is probably a pretty good basketball coach.

And in Saturday’s game, he started things off by continuing the trend of making our guys look silly. By attacking our bigs, refusing to get beat in transition, and injecting a bit of 2-3 zone, he tried to follow Xavier’s blueprint of punching us in the mouth (because we usually relent).

And midway through the second half, people started anointing him as the next Brad Stevens. But then something curious happened. He made a couple of poor decisions.

Up three with the clock winding down in regulation, Providence elected not to foul, and Mac McClung hit a deep three to force overtime.

Up three with the clock winding down in overtime, Providence elected not to foul, and James Akinjo hit a deep three to force double overtime.

Is Cooley a good coach who made a bad decision (twice)? We guess so….but we can’t keep up with all of the love/hate relationships we have with these dudes.

And by the way, CasualHoya.com would supernova and explode if Coach Ewing ever made those calls. Let’s hope it never comes to that, as sharing pictures of what we had for lunch is therapeutic for all of us.

The Atlanta Falcons Award For Blowing Significant Leads:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

If it feels like your Hoyas keep inexplicably squandering double digit leads every other game, it’s because, well, they do. We did the research. In the Big Pat era, we have lost 20 games thus far. In nine of those games, we have blown either late leads or double digit leads (or both). Check it out:

2017-18

Georgetown v. Syracuse: blew a ten point lead with 6:54 to go

Georgetown v. Butler: blew an 18 point halftime lead and a ten point lead with 7:02 to go

Georgetown v. DePaul: blew a one point lead with eight seconds left

Georgetown at Xavier: blew a four point lead with 36 seconds left

Georgetown at Providence: blew a five point lead with 1:49 to go

Georgetown v. Marquette: blew a four point lead with 3:44 left in overtime

2018-19

Georgetown at Syracuse: blew a 15 point second half lead and a one point lead with ten seconds left

Georgetown v. St. John’s: blew a four point lead with 17 seconds left

Georgetown at Xavier: blew a 17 point first half lead

What does all of this mean?

First and foremost, we need to learn how to preserve leads. Our lack of ball handlers last year contributed to some of these results, but we don’t have a similar excuse this season. While it’s nice to see our team can play fast, we still turn the ball over way too much and, with the exception of our game at Butler, our players can’t seem to recognize when to take timeouts or when to control the pace and tempo when we’re in front. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating here: can this team play at any tempo other than “extremely f*cking fast”? If not, we’ll be in for a wild ride. SLOW IT DOWN, FELLAS.

The Dora the Explorer Award for Finally Doing It:

All of us.

BUT WE WON A CLOSE GAME THIS TIME. We did it! AND We beat Providence. For the first time in five years. For the first time in nine games! For the first time since Markel Starks left the Hilltop. And we did it despite wearing those horrific snowy white uniforms. HOORAY!

The Alan Greenspan Award for Irrational Exuberance:

Us.

Entering the game against Providence, we had an 11-5 record, and that’s the kind of win-loss total that ain’t too shabby in the NFL. Now that we are 12-5, we’ve basically made it to the divisional playoff round, so unless we’re playing in Foxboro, we totally have a fighting chance.

Also, despite our five losses, we’ve been competitive in every game thus far. Granted, we still haven’t played a single sure-fire Tourney team, but you know, whatever. Want to start being taken seriously? Go out there on Tuesday night and beat up on Wojo and his boys.

Let’s Go Hoyas. Beat Marquette.