It has been 18 days since the Georgetown Hoyas (3-8, 1-5) played a game and, presumably, Patrick Ewing got the green light for practicing ahead of the announcement that the Saturday afternoon game against Providence (9-7, 5-5) will proceed.
With an expected 10 games left on the Hoyas’ schedule (6 home games)—plus four potential make-ups (3 away) that could be crammed into February—there is still time for the Hoya faithful to find positive growth and development in this team. Immediate chemistry may be hard to come by after two-plus weeks off, but other conference foes have been able to get back in the swing quickly.
Looking at the schedule, it’s not going to be easy. After Providence at home, the Hoyas could be double-digit underdogs on sportsbooks for all games, save maybe DePaul. Still, home games against Providence, Butler, Xavier and even Seton Hall could be chances to steal a W.
- Sat 30-Jan Providence
- Wed 3-Feb at Creighton
- (Potential make-up game this weekend?)
- Tue 9-Feb Creighton
- Sat 13-Feb Butler
- Wed 17-Feb at Villanova
- Sat 20-Feb Seton Hall
- Tue 23-Feb UConn
- Sat 27-Feb at DePaul
- Tue 2-Mar Xavier
- Sat 6-Mar at UConn
UConn and Creighton look solid this year, but the Hoyas could match-up with each decently at home or even on the road. A mid-week visit to Villanova seems like a loss already, but maybe the Hoyas catch them sleeping like that first half in December. Visiting DePaul on a weekend might be the best chance for a win on the schedule, but they are no slouch.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it, the Hoyas are in the basement of the BIG EAST standings with not much light to climb out. If wins and losses are your biggest concern this winter, maybe focusing on 2021-2023 recruiting is best for you.
Here are some team goals for the Hoyas on Saturday and beyond:
- Stay Healthy - Unfortunately it’s probable that there will be another pause in the BIG EAST that will affect Georgetown’s schedule, let’s hope everyone stays healthy and safe. Still, that break could not have sat right for any of these players. Don’t take playing games for granted. Find some fire. Stay positive, test negative.
- Defensive identity - We’ve seen Patrick Ewing’s teams for almost 4 seasons now and the defense has been inconsistent, so no one expects the Hoyas to go full-court-paranoia overnight. Still, the two-week break may have instilled the necessary sense of urgency. Watching other teams in and outside the BIG EAST in this bizarre season, physicality on the defensive end seems to be tolerated more than recent memory. Don’t be scared to foul. Georgetown has the bodies to bump some turnovers loose and get the transition offense humming. Stop going for the pump fake, please.
- Offensive leadership - If the goal is to score 75+ every night, someone needs to score 25. Jahvon Blair is the most likely candidate. Pickett will be 16 points a night, scoring in two or three bunches. Carey and D. Harris will have a few nights from time to time. And Wahab will have 12-point halves (and disappear). Help is coming next year, but volume scoring is more en vogue in the modern game than filling the stat sheet with 8- and 10-point scorers. Can Blair have consistent big nights? Will Pickett score over 20 for Georgetown in any of these last games? Hopefully, if he finally feels the urgency.
- Free throws - Get to the line. Good things happen when you draw fouls. Opponents shuffle lineups and strategies, holes open up. Aggressiveness is not just shooting, it’s attacking. When the shooters get cold, get to the charity stripe. If the referees’ whistles are silent, increase physicality on the defensive end until they get fixed.
- Turnovers - Turnovers appear to be an issue with Ewing’s team because of pace and volume of possessions. We will see if Ewing sacrifices pace in order to protect the ball more, but I doubt it. Playing fast does not help a team prone to being on the wrong side of these 16-0 runs. Hoya guards need to step up. Additionally, heavy pressure from the opponents is coming at around 6 minutes left in the game, so be prepared for it!
Individually, each guy on the roster needs to have goals. Here are some ideas:
Jahvon Blair - Blair needs to assert himself offensively, without the turnovers from rustiness of two weeks without games. Ewing can afford to give him a couple more games at top minutes to see if the Hoyas can steal some wins before the big #playthefreshmen movement resumes. Ewing asks a lot of Blair to help out with ball-handling and carry the scoring load, but the senior leader needs to make it happen. Take the open looks, but pump fake and drive and make stuff happen.
Jamorko Pickett - When he is not on the floor, Georgetown’s rebounding suffers incredibly. It’s as simple as that when talking about why he merits so many minutes despite mercurial play. Anyone who watches him knows he has some great tools offensively, but it may be too late for Pickett to put it all together in college. Maybe Ewing has a few tricks up his sleeve. I’d like to see more pick-and-pops for three from Pickett because his mid-range shot is just not high enough percentage to rely on.
Don Carey - We need more Carey. More touches. More shots. More action. If Jalen Harris is not around, Don Carey needs some point guard minutes. Carey has experience creating and passing that can be utilized here. Ewing cannot afford to have him just as a perimeter sniper any more. Plus, getting him more involved seems to help him score in bunches.
Qudus Wahab - Wahab is and will be a very good BIG EAST center. There are a handful of things he needs to really work on, but one of the biggest is consistency in post set up. When he had his shots blocked at Seton Hall, he appeared to be pushed out of his comfortable position. When the guards fail to feed him in the second half (after a good first half), he is bring fronted. We’ve seen it before with Govan and Yurtseven, and they would settle for mid-range jumpers that aren’t necessarily an option for Q. No doubt the offense works best when he gets an inside touch, collapses the defense, and kicks the ball out for a an open look.
Jalen Harris - Will he get back with the team? Last we heard, Harris is away from the program on a personal matter. Ewing should welcome him back with open arms (figuratively; make sure he quarantines), but certainly utilize this time to work in all the freshmen at guard.
Chudier Bile - Bile was showing better signs of playing within himself and the team before the break. His hustle and energy are assets. His shot creation can help a stagnant offense. His first shot of the game really can’t be a air-ball three though. Get a layup or some free-throws before taking those open looks.
Timothy Ighoefe - When Big Tim is in, the offense changes a bit from an inside-out approach to more of a perimeter game, which of course can dry up at the well. Summarizing from what Ewing has said, for Ighoefe to be a serious back-up option, he needs to (i) have a first move that is successful, (ii) find a go-to second move, and (iii) be able to find and pass out to the open man. His catching of entry passes has improved. Oh, and defending without fouling can help get him on the floor (but, hey, you have 5 fouls and I say “use ‘em or lose ‘em”—just be smart about it).
Malcolm Wilson - Wilson needs to make the most of every minute he gets. He needs to show off his strengths of speed for a center, a quick second jump on blocks and rebounds, and (presumably) intelligence.
Freshman Dante Harris was available to speak with media today. Harris, a DC native, played high school basketball for UVA great Curtis Staples at Lakeway Christian Academy in Tennessee. I asked him if there were any similarities in playing for Staples and Coach Ewing. #Hoyas pic.twitter.com/hPVZegWojQ— Patrick Waring (@WaringPatrick) January 1, 2021
Dante Harris - Dante showed great leadership early in the season. I thought is was a good sign that he was leading the team prayer at practice. Defensively, I think he has the most active hands and good jump instincts on the team (except for, maybe, Clark). Defenses have certainly adjusted to Dante recently, but if he can bring the ball up without turnover, feed his four other starters, and hit 3-4 open jump shots, he will be solid.
Jamari Sibley - The Sibley minutes mystery is intriguing—apparently Ewing needs to see more of what he does in games during practice. Everyone wants to see more of Jamari, so increasing the effort on rebounding and defense might be the key to more minutes. He’s had a couple nice jumpers but he can’t settle for those shots.
Kobe Clark - Clark’s energy and effort have earned him minutes at the wing and forward spots. I don’t want to take it for granted, but no one expects he can’t keep that up. The ankle sprain happened at an inopportune time. Fans would like to see if he can generate offense if given a little more leeway to dribble, drive, and shoot. His points are primarily from rebounds or losing his defender, which is fine for a freshman. I’d like to see his jump shot looks like.
TJ Berger - Berger’s shot translates at this level. He looks comfortable with the ball, too. I’d like to see him help eat some point guard minutes (without Jalen Harris) and get more comfortable. My guess is, like many freshmen, the coach worries about turnovers and defense. Berger was victim of some phantom fouls recently and can’t let that slow his tenacity on that end.
Collin Holloway - Holloway has not had a lot of minutes but he hasn’t stuck out for any of the wrong reasons when on the floor. Maybe he has a game or two with some decent run and scores double digits and close to 10 rebounds. Hoyas fans would like to see what he’s got.
Jaden Robinson, Chuma Azinge, and Victor Muresan are obviously solid parts of the team in practice and preparation. Jaden has some experience, Chuma has shown some speed, and Victor has some height. If they get some game action this year, the blow-out is not likely with the Hoyas leading. Let’s hope they raise the bar for the Hoyas.
Latest Kente Korner is up!— Bobby Bancroft (@BobbyBancroft) January 27, 2021
It's another Hoyas Rewind edition with @NationWideNolan & @FLHoya as we revisit Georgetown's improbable win at WVU on 1/26/08
Sapp w/ the 3, Ewing Jr w/ block, Huggins chasing refs!
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Patrick Ewing & Staff - The coaches appear to have maximized their COVID-19 pause by (a) skipping a stretch of road games (unintentionally, of course) and (b) making some headway with several top recruits. Maybe this team can jell and steal a few wins, but likely the time is better spent on testing players and measuring growth. Personally, I want to see some full court pressure with about 11-12 minutes left in the game, just to light a fire and keep the Hoyas aggressive.