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The Casual Awards: Hoyas Rising

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

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun. Double the….CASUAL AWARDS.

Now that your Hoyas are in the midst of an improbable, riveting, entertaining TWO GAME BIG EAST WINNING STREAK

We think it’s high time to hand out hardware to the best and brightest from this last week of greatness. And away….we….go….

The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award:

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

Mac McClung.

Bro. Big Mac’s first game at The World’s Most Famous Arena was MAJOR, and reminded the world that it’s the Big Mac, and not the Big Mick.

Mac didn’t have time for a seedless bun while pouring in 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes of action. And really, he just looked like he belonged on that floor.

Since coming back from injury, Mac has really started to find his rhythm. He’s hitting perimeter shots, penetrating with purpose, and not forcing things as much as he did earlier in the season.

And against Xavier, which found ways to limit Mac’s aggressiveness, Mac found other ways to contribute, as he led all Hoyas with five assists.

The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award, Part Deux:

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

James Akinjo.

Dude. Did you see YOUNG JAMES put this team on his back against Xavier? On Thursday night at Kente One Arena, our feisty little point guard exploded for 23 points (all in the second half!), five rebounds and four assists. He hit four massive threes in the second half, and each and every one of them was huge.

Around these parts, we know that James has come under fire for looking too often for his shot. And early in conference play James has struggled to play consistently. But against Xavier, we saw the full repertoire: the passing, the shooting, the penetration, the free throws, the defense, the swagger. This is the starting point guard we’ve been missing since Markel Starks, who was the last Georgetown point guard to enjoy a home victory against Xavier (it’s true...it was FIVE DAMN YEARS AGO).

The “I Don’t Give a F*ck” Award for Just Not Giving a F*ck:

Josh LeBlanc.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at St. John Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Son, did you see this man at the end of the St. John’s and Xavier games? Against St. John’s, he capped off the big win by dunking the ball at the buzzer and, in the process, causing Big Pat to growl.

Against Xavier, he goaltend-smacked a ball out of the basket on Xavier’s final shot. Why? Because our young gazelle Mr. LeBlanc just doesn’t give a f*ck. And we love it.

And by the way, has anyone else noticed Josh’s most performances? He seems to always be in the right place at the right time, dropping 15 points and six boards against St. John’s, while throwing down 17 points (on 8 of 11 shooting) against Xavier.

This man is finally coming into his own, which means the rest of the conference is in for a real surprise.

The “Come from Ahead” Loss Award:

Your Georgetown Hoyas. Xavier.

For once, we were the ones to rally back from a double digit deficit. After leading by ten in the first half and eight at the break, Xavier squandered its lead in the first few minutes of the second half as your Hoyas answered every garbage banked-in Xavier three with a barrage of threes of their own.

It just feels good to be on the right side of these games for a change. Yay.

The Big Man U Award for Being the Best Big Man in the Big East:

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

Jessie Govan.

Jessie’s hard work is really starting to pay off this season. Almost halfway through conference play, Jessie has been the most consistent big in the league. Against the Johnnies, he contributed 20 points and nine rebounds; against Xavier he had 12 points and six boards.

He’s always there when we need him. He’s Mr. Reliable.

The “Foods that Start with the Letter Q” Award:

Qudus Wahab.

Yeah yeah, we know our new addition to the squad isn’t a food, but he does have a name that starts with the letter Q, and we love Gloria’s magical run on Jeopardy in “White Men Can’t Jump”....so Qudus, this award is for you.

You may not be quinoa or quince or quiche or quail, but you’re Qudus and you’re now a Hoya. Welcome to the Hilltop, young killer. We love Nigeria. And yes, we are all Wahabbis. Kudos to the staff for reeling in this big fish. The future is bright….

And speaking of which….

The Ghost Writer Award for Conveying Secret Codes During Basketball Games:

St. John’s v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Gus Johnson.

Hear us out. We love Gus. And yeah, we know he messed up some of our players’ names last weekend, but he’s still our guy.

As many of you know, Big John Thompson mentored Gus early in his career, so Gus still has a lot of affection for our program. Which is why it didn’t surprise us midway through the STJ game when Gus randomly said that Georgetown was one elite point guard away from being a really special team.

It led us to scratch our chins. Huh? We have Big Game James on the roster and he’s only getting better. So what did Gus mean? Our best guess is that Gus was sending a subliminal message to a senior in high school who may have been watching our game on national television. His name is Cole Anthony.

Was this Gus’s indirect way of trying to lure Cole to the Hilltop? Maybe it was. Either way, we like it. If Gus wants to cheerlead for our program as much as Jeff Van Gundy does, that’s cool with us.

[SwordOfBrunner note: NYHoya actually believes these things. When he calls me to float these theories, this is call i can think of:]

The “No, No, No, Yes!!!!!” Award :

Obviously Trey Mourning.

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

You all thought it. Some of you said it out loud. Some of you screamed it at the game. With 4:06 to go in regulation against Xavier, Georgetown was clinging to a hard-fought one point lead. Coach Pat had subbed Govan out of the game just before the eight minute mark to try to get Jessie a quick breather; he sent Mourning in to play some defense until the next TV timeout. The only problem was that the stoppage never came, and even when it finally did, Trey was sent to the free throw line where he promptly missed the second of two free throws, so Jessie couldn’t get back in. Should Pat have called a timeout sooner to get Jessie back in the game. Yes, probably….but we’ll let it slide because when Mourning received the ball at the top of the key, he looked at the basket, never hesitated and drilled the biggest shot of the game before blowing on his hand.

We’ll take it.

The Jabril Trawick Award for Improving Steadily Over a Four Year Career:

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-3rd Round-Georgetown vs Utah Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Jagan Mosely

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at St. John Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

There, we said it. When Jagan arrived on the Hilltop, people instantly anointed him the next Jagan. But as much as we loved Jabril’s attitude and toughness from Day One, Jabril didn’t really evolve into one of our favorites until his junior and senior seasons. In Jabril’s first two seasons on the Hilltop, he didn’t have much of a handle, couldn’t hit threes, and fouled way too often. But he reliably played stout defense and provided a certain toughness that was noticeably absent from others on the team.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Jagan isn’t Jabril….yet. We like Jagan’s toughness, ability to take charges, and usually solid defense. But we dislike Jagan’s ball handling (he’s turnover prone) and some of his decision-making. (But, if we’re being honest, in the last two years Jagan has been called upon to handle the ball way more often than he should because we haven’t had a damn point guard.)

In the last couple of games, though, something interesting is happening. As Akinjo emerges as more of a prototypical point guard, Jagan is learning to find his spots. He doesn’t dribble as much, he knocks down open shots, and continues to be our best perimeter defender.

As Jagan keeps identifying the important role he can play on this year’s squad, let’s hope he keeps it up.

The Jason Williams Who Didn’t Murder His Limo Driver Award For Excellence in Passing:

Mac McClung.

Mac McClung making no look passes in traffic (2:39 in this video if the timecode is lost in the embed) warms my heart. If he breaks out the elbow pass in a game I might pass out.

The Malibu’s Most Wanted Award for Looking Like a Taller Version of Jamie Kennedy:

Zach Hankins.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

We’re so glad we don’t have to face this guy again this year. He’s just so….Cincinnati.

[SwordOfBrunner note: what about the Big East Tournament, though?]

The 2004 USA Basketball Award for Receiving a Bronze Medal:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

Don’t look now, but your Hoyas are somehow in sole possession of third place in the conference. Still a ridiculously long way to go, and to be honest, we should have at least two more wins in the conference, but as these things go, we’ll take it.

The Dora the Explorer Award for Finally Doing It:

All of us.

You guys. We did it! We beat Xavier! For the first time at home in five years. We’d lost nine out of ten against this team before last night’s big win. HOORAY!

The “We Hope Tom Brady Gets Hit by a Bus Award”:

Us.

Because we hope Tom Brady gets hit by a bus. On national television. May he lose the Super Bowl in embarrassing fashion, nay, VERY embarrassing fashion.

[SwordOfBrunner note: I’m a Giants fan and don’t really care, too busy getting my CAP SPACE Knicks jersey made]

But that’s just the Super Bowl for football fans. Our Super Bowl on Sunday will be against a different team. Its name is Villanova. It has won two of the last three national championships. It has defeated us eight straight times. We do not like them. They do not like us. And we’re tired of getting our asses kicked these last few years.

So on Sunday, with a little two game streak in hand, and a little swagger in our gait, can we possibly, maybe, hopefully SHOCK THE WORLD?

We doubt it. But then again….

Let’s Go Hoyas. Beat Villanova.