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LINKS: Ewing Discusses Yurtseven, Sophomores, Recruiting with John Fanta

BIG EAST Media hype starting to pick up...

SiriusXM broadcasts from Radio Row at the NCAA® Final Four® and National Championship in Minneapolis Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images for SiriusXM

John Fanta of FS1 and BIG EAST Shootaround sat down (virtually) with Georgetown Hoyas’ head coach, Patrick Ewing to discuss a number of topics including Omer Yurtseven, James Akinjo, Mac McClung, Josh LeBlanc, and recruiting.

The full interview has some great highlights playing in the background, but here are some segments from the interview to hold us over:

John Fanta: Entering year three as the head coach at Georgetown its Patrick Ewing who joins us from DC coach what did you learn about your group heading into this season in your Bahamas trip?

Patrick Ewing: Well the trip was about team bonding so I thought that we did a very good job of bonding you know working [] through some kinks. It was a great opportunity to get some great practice in, so you know it was a great experience… I think that we have a long way to go before [] November 6th when we—it’s our first game—but it was a great opportunity to work with everybody [] get an opportunity to be around each other practice [] and all those types of stuff.

JF: You told me in your first year that bricks had to be laid a foundation need to be put in place … with that foundation in place how did expectations change this coming season?

PE: Our expectation hasn’t changed any, you know. I still think we’re still… the foundation has been laid and we’re still putting up the building. The best is still yet to come we have a long way to go especially now you know the season is still [] a long way away but it’s still [] close… it’s still right around the corner. So we you know we’re still growing, we’re still working, we’re still developing, you know, we’re gonna have six new faces on [] this team, so everybody has to [] do their part to [] be able to—for us to be able to gel.

JF: One of those new faces that Hoya fans will be used to seeing is Omer Yurtseven the NC State transfer it really fills the hole left by Jessie Govan who graduated this past year. Whhat does Omer bring to the table, coach?

PE: He’s a proven commodity he’s is [] a person that has played extremely well at NC State and I’m expecting great things out of him. He has to continue to work, continue to develop but he’s gonna be the person to take Jessie’s place. Jessie had a great career here at Georgetown, in his four years, you know he’s in Japan now playing and Omer has to [] fill that void and I think he’s very capable of doing that.

JF: Staying along with that thought of him coming in and helping you down low—on the offensive side the basketball you’re able to score with anybody in the Big East last year what needs to happen to turn the corner defensively?

PE: Everyone, you know, and I think we have we we’ve got [and] we’ve brought in some guys that are very good [] defensively brought in Galen Alexander he was a JUCO kid we brought in Myron Gardner out of, he’s out of Detroit, but he played at Spierr Academy last year we brought in Qudus Wahab, he’s from the area, he’s a “big,” we’ve also brought in Malcom Wilson from South Carolina, we also brought in Terrell Allen, you know those to name a few, and I think that everyone that we brought in is [], you know, a piece to the puzzle that we needed to add and they’re only gonna help us to be better especially in the future. And everyone has to take it upon themselves to be a much better defender than we were last year. That was our Achilles heel we [] could score with [] anyone in the country but our defense is the reason why we weren’t able to be as good a team as we need it to be.


JF: Let’s stick with them. What kind of leap do you want to see James and Mac make from year one to year two?

PE: Well not only James and Mac but also Josh LeBlanc. You know, we have those three guys either—any one of them could have been freshman of the year. James is the one who received the award but they all had great years for us and [] we need for them to continue their maturation process [] and also development. So you know I’ve been on them about, you know, growing not only on the court but also off the court and becoming better players.

JF: Josh LeBlanc you said to him in Jamaica—that was way back in November—you said you keep playing the way you’re playing and it’s gonna be hard for me to have you coming off the bench and sure enough he became a starter for you. What kind of a problem does he present when he’s on the floor?

PE: Well just his energy—he’s relentless, he’s tiresome, [] he goes after every basketball…at one point he was averaging [a] double-double [] and that’s what we’re gonna need out of him. You know if I call a play for him or not, his energy his effort [] never changes and that’s what I love about and that’s what I love about him when I recruited him coming out of [Louisiana], out of high school, and [] you know he has to continue to grow and continue to develop his game [] and I see that in him.

JF: For you, on the recruiting trail, [the] way you’ve been able to lay the foundation with some kids who have come in and really taken a lead role already… I don’t want you to necessarily unveil the secret ingredients, but what’s your approach in recruiting that’s led you to success?

PE: You know, you have to love it, you know, it’s a huge part of every program and you know that’s one of the things when I first got this job everyone would talk about is “is he gonna be able to recruit?” “is he gonna put in the time that it takes to recruit?” I’ve proven that you know I want to be successful at this at this job, so in order to be successful you have to embrace the recruit and you have to enjoy it and, you know, that’s how I look at it you know night in night out, day in, day out, 365 days of the year it’s all about trying to get better players or better talent here...

Not allowed to talk about recruits or willing to give away his goals, Ewing’s recruiting portion of the interview was predictably thin. Be sure to give the latest Kente Korner a listen for an excellent recruiting discussion. Ewing also touches on UConn and the other BIG EAST coaches in the interview.

John Fanta interviewed analyst Nick Bahe last week and he shared some thoughts on the Hoyas and the conference.

Bahe shared some positive thoughts on the Hoyas, beginning at about 3:40:

Fanta: You talk about point guard play we saw the bricks get laid at that position for Georgetown last year with James Akinjo and Georgetown a freshman class that really broke out immediately what are your expectations for the Hoyas in 2019-20.

Bahe: Well I think they’re one of those teams that can look at themselves in the mirror and say, “Why can’t we be an NCAA tournament team?” I think they hit the necessary checkpoints throughout the season of improvement. I was so impressed—if you remember John—[the] last Saturday at the Big East regular season Marquette was hosting Georgetown and Marquette had a chance to win that if they win that game they clinched a share the Big East title and it was rocking in Fiserv [Forum]—I mean rockin’ in there—and here comes Akinjo, McClung, LeBlanc—all those young guys—in that environment, they go on the road and win. I just remember driving away from the arena thinking whoa the those guys are on an ascension that I think is gonna be really, really good for them.

I think the world of James Akinjo. Sometimes those California dudes are a little soft—there ain’t nothing soft about James Akinjo.

I think if Mac McClung can infuse just a little bit of—I don’t want to call it—just a little more intelligence [in] shot selection. I still think he took that “high school” mindset of “I’m just gonna go get buckets, no matter what,” and I think if he can infuse a little bit better decision-making of winning attacks—how he attacks is a little bit more patient, I think his efficiency will increase.

I think Coach Ewing’s done a really good job, like I said at the start, I don’t know why Georgetown can’t look at themselves in the mirror and say, “We can go to the NCAA tournament.”

Be sure to check out Fanta’s #2 (48 sec in) BIG EAST Question, as well as the other five...

In a podcast released today, Andy Katz interviewed Fran Fraschilla about what he saw in Georgetown at the Bahamas.

Fraschilla starts at 29 minutes and the Georgetown talk runs from 32:40 - 34:30. Here are some notes:

  • Andy Katz believes Georgetown will be a top 4 Big East team
  • Fraschilla agrees—essentially a starting lineup back, plug-in Yurtsevento have the same type of year that Jessie did. Yutseven is better passer than Govan, they will play through him a lot.
  • Fraschilla loves the sophomore guards, Akinjo and MccClung and acknowledges that they are each a year older.
  • LeBlanc became one of his favorite players--high energy.
  • Galen Alexander & Myron Gardner will really help.
  • Deep. very impressed watching Georgetown play and practice, and he is very happy for Patrick.
  • Overall, Fraschilla thinks they play extremely hard, he loves LeBlanc, and he believes will be one of best in Big East.

BIG EAST Media Day is one month away...