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Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing, players speak before opener

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NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing as well as seniors Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair were made available to the media over Zoom on Tuesday morning in advance of the Hoyas season opener against UMBC.

While it’s true that the Hoyas begin what is supposed to be their 25-game regular season against the Retrievers on Wednesday afternoon on campus at McDonough, the majority of the approximately 30-minute virtual media session was spent on covid related topics.

And look, that’s deservedly fair because while the virus spreads, teams all over the country are having to pause basketball activities for 14-days. This is of course wreaking havoc on schedules as postponements are everywhere. It’s really less a matter of *if* and more a matter of *when’* as it relates to game postponements for every school.

Ewing said he would obviously adhere to all protocols and went on to say that all coaches as well as players on the bench would wear masks. The players won’t wear masks while playing. Ewing was also non committal about wearing a towel over his shoulder tomorrow to honor his late coach John Thompson Jr - a cultural and coaching icon - but I think we can expect that to happen all over the country.

So when the talk focused on basketball some things went as expected. As you would guess the starting line-ups weren’t revealed. Equally unsurprising, neither Ewing nor Pickett or Blair would give even a hint as to who’s even playing well.

Obviously every coach has their own style and while one needs to stay true to that, I think that in 2020 there are benefits to speaking highly of players while on the record. Earlier in the day I heard Maryland coach Mark Turgeon on local sports talk radio gushing about some of his new transfer players. Now, as someone that doesn’t follow Maryland, I know a little bit more about their team. I think there’s value in that. Ok let’s move on.

So here are what I think are the best quotes of the day:

Pickett on being asked on the keys to the season: “Taking care of the ball and sharing the ball. Sharing the ball has been the Achilles heel [from] what coach Pat say to this team since I’ve been here. I think we have a very unselfish group. I think that will be the key to our success.”

Blair echoed his teammates remark: “Being unselfish. Really moving, passing it, finding open guys but with this team I don’t think we have that problem.”

So who could be the selfish players from the past? Hmmmmm there are a few options.

On covid updates:

Pickett: “We’re definitely aware of everything that’s going especially in the Big East. Coach Pat and the rest of the coaching staff and trainers def keep us aware. The biggest thing that is going on with the team is sacrifice. You got to sacrifice wanting to go hang out with somebody or wanting to go do this because there’s a chance you catching it and shutting it down and that’s the last thing you want to do.”

Blair: “Coach Pat and the staff definitely tells up updates every single practice. We’re aware. Trust me. We just got to go to practice, go to school, do our classwork and that’s really it honestly. This is a different year. We know what we need to do and what not to do to play.”

This from Pickett shows you everything the college athletes are going through to play during these uncertain times. Think about this the next time you want to complain about something small.

Pickett: “I can’t even go home and I live 15 minutes away to go see my mom and my sisters and my family. Making the sacrifices to have a great senior year and finish this thing out with a bang.”

Ewing on if the team will focus more on 3-point shooting this season:

“Whatever shot is available. I’m not going to tell them to force shots. I want them to take good shots. If our guys are open inside I want them to get the ball inside. We have to be a two-pronged attack inside and outside. We’re not going to win just by jacking up threes. We have to take good shots. We have a lot of guys that can shoot the three. That should hopefully make it go up but just as long as they’re good shots.”

Ewing on having so many new players:

It’s been really difficult being that we got to campus so late. It is what it is. We had zoom meetings while we were away trying to get guys to know each other and talk about my defensive philosophy and offensively philosophy and what I expect out of them.

It was hard to just sit there and zoom week in and week out just trying to get to know them over zoom.

We hit the ground running. It’s good to have all those faces and some of them, a lot of them are going to help us as the year progresses. We’re still trying to learn each other and still trying to figure out what our identity will be.

Quick analysis: Both Pickett and Blair will be the face of this team for most of the season and are already off to a good start in dealing with the media. Here’s to more and more Zooms as the season [hopefully] goes off without many issues.