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The Mountaineers finished 9-22 overall last season and 6-12 in the Northeast Conference as a coach hired late in the process tried to get his feet on the ground and young players tried to learn how to win.
“Last season, it was kind of blind because we didn’t really know what to look for,” said guard Vado Morse, who led the team in scoring (14.7 points per game) as a freshman last season.
But that should be largely mitigated this season since the Mount returns 97 percent of its scoring and 95 percent of its minutes played from last season. Everyone is another year old and presumably has a better idea of what to expect.
“We grew as players and people [last season],” said guard Jalen Gibbs, one of four juniors on the roster. “Now we know what Malik [Jefferson] can do in the post. We know that Dame [Chong Qui] can run the show [at point guard]. You can go down the list.
Reigning NEC Rookie of the Year Vado Morse and Jalen Gibbs headline the Mount’s top returnees this season. Morse averaged 14.7 points per game as a freshman while Gibbs contributed 12.9 points per game in 2018-19. Mount St. Mary’s opens the 2019-20 season at Georgetown on Wednesday, November 6, at 7:00 p.m. with the game being televised live on the CBS Sports Network.
Mount St. Mary’s opens its men’s basketball season next Wednesday at Georgetown. To help get you ready for the season, The Final Score podcast offers a little preview this week with the team’s leading scorer and its coach @FrederickSports @frednewspost @MountAthletics @MountHoops https://t.co/YDNnsK6h6H— Greg Swatek (@greg_swatek) November 1, 2019
As a walk-on during his freshman campaign, Chong Qui took over the point guard duties just eight games into his career and started each of the final 24 games. The Mount recorded all nine of its wins during that stretch. As the season wore on Chong Qui’s play continued to strengthen, and he averaged 8.4 points, 4.4 assists, and 3.5 rebounds in Northeast Conference play. His 2.3 assist to turnover ratio was 13th nationally among freshman.
”It was a great feeling,” Chong Qui said of receiving the scholarship. “Because I knew exactly how much I had been through to get to that point.”
The obstacles and setbacks and Chong Qui’s reaction to them is what sets him apart from others. At just 5 feet 8 inches, Chong Qui continues the tradition of small guards that excel at Mount St. Mary’s. But basketball is still a big man’s game. Consequently, his lack of size has led to many always questioning whether the guard could compete at the next level. Chong Qui knew from a young age he’d have to set himself apart. His work ethic and his unwavering desire to get better have helped him achieve that type of success.
It was also a banner year for Ewing’s freshmen class as James Akinjo, Mac McClung and Josh LeBlanc were all named to the Big East All-Freshmen Team. Akinjo took home Big East Freshman of the Year after averaging 13.4 points and 5.2 assists per game...
Back for the Georgetown basketball program will be the aforementioned now sophomore trio of Akinjo, McClung, and LeBlanc. Ewing will undoubtedly build around this promising nucleus. Akinjo is the engine that makes the Hoyas bark. McClung is an athletic freak who is a highlight reel and a fan favorite on Twitter. Meanwhile, LeBlanc (9.1 points ad 7.3 rebounds per game) flies under the radar but is one of the Big East’s better forwards.
Everyone knew that Patrick Ewing’s rebuild of his alma mater’s prestigious basketball program was going to take some patience, but Ewing got the team up to an unexpected 19 victories last season, their best since their last Tournament appearance in 2015. The Hoyas were particularly enthused by the quick rise of freshmen James Akinjo, Mac McClung, and Josh LeBlanc. With usual Tournament hunters like Marquette and and Creighton dealing with their own questions, Georgetown can swipe away one of the Big East’s tournament bids, even if contending with rival Villanova may be too much to ask for at this point.
25. Georgetown ... In Year 3, Patrick Ewing finally has the talent to take the Hoyas to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in five years. The backcourt of high-flyer Mac McClung and James Akinjo will carry the team on most nights, but the storied program’s return to relevance hinges on 7-foot North Carolina State transfer Omer Yurtseven, who is set up to thrive under the tutelage of a Hall of Fame center.
The Hoya sat down with both the Georgetown men's and women's basketball teams to discuss their upcoming seasons, which both start this week.— The Hoya (@thehoya) November 4, 2019
Read our coverage here: https://t.co/F1UxTQ6ddL
Ewing said his offseason preparations to incorporate the newest players in the system this summer mirrored previous summers, despite the new transfers.
“My approach wasn’t any different: trying to get them back in the gym more to try to develop their skill set and improve on what they have learned from previous years. And hopefully that will help them to get a jump,” Ewing said.
Ewing continued to single out individual players who he expects to improve significantly upon their 2018-19 performances. “I expect for Jahvon to make a jump. I expect for Jamorko Pickett to make a jump. I expect both James, Mac and Josh to make a jump from what they accomplished last year,” Ewing said.