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GAME GRADES: High Marks as Hoyas Hammer UMBC

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This progress report reports a quantum of progress

@GeorgetownHoops

Game #8: Hoyas vs. UMBC - 12/09/2021

Well, that went better! A fairly dominant performance overall from your Georgetown Hoyas against UMBC before the showdown with a piece of fruit this weekend was just what the doctor ordered? UMBC was even nice enough to throw some zone-looks at us in this one to help Kaiden et al begin to warm up for the Syracuse Affair.

Today’s re-grade comment from the SC debacle comes from Highsmith, who shares some perspective on what it means to be a teacher. Keep commenting!

I’ve committed to a certain level of patience and as a teacher, I know learning happens in stages and some of them can be ugly. Try teaching a struggling first grader how and when to use short versus long vowels…..talk about painful, but they do eventually get it. Hopefully the joy they (and I) feel when that light bulb turns on for them will be similar to the joy we will see (and feel) when the lightbulb goes on for the team. It is pretty dark right now…..especially on the defensive side….and it certainly causes many of us to wonder what the heck is going on in practice. But, again, there isn’t much to do but see this season through and look for those little glimpses of improvement along the way. Admittedly, I didn’t see many in this game. One more game to go before we face Syracuse. We always seem to raise our game against them, so that will be an interesting game to watch.

Dante Harris - A-

13 PTS, 5-10 (50%), 1-2 3PT (50%), 2-4 FT, 6 REB, 7 AST, 1 TO

I thought this was quietly one of Dante’s better performances this year. His shooting was not as hot as a few other games, but he took good shots and more importantly, he seemed to be pressing a bit less and seemed like he was really in control. 7:1 turnover to assist is great. Anytime Dante limits his turnovers the way he did in this one, the Georgetown offense is going to have a good night. He’s just such an integral part of what they do and if he’s taking care of the ball it probably means they are getting good shots. More on the overall offense below, but this was really a good all-around game from Dante. He can score it a bit more if he needs to, but he didn’t in this one and his feel for what was needed was really good. He also didn’t have to play the final 10 minutes of this one, which was really needed. By the way, he continues to be a really sneaky-good rebounder for a guard and also the smallest player on the floor, except not in this one. He’s averaging 4 rebounds per game, almost 1 more than last year, and had a really nice offensive rebound in this one that he just found through some trees and got himself fouled.

Don Carey - B

3 PTS, 1-6 (16%), 1-4 3PT (25%), 5 REB, 1 AST, 3STL, 1 BLK, 3 TO

Had a nice series early in the first half. He hit a three and then had a nice contest on a three that forced the UMBC to put the ball on the floor and Carey was able to come away with the steal and throw ahead to Aminu. In a way, this seemed like a get-right game for everyone but Don. He clearly didn’t shoot it particularly well, but the issue for me in this one continued to be his turnovers. He had the worst turnover percentage (estimate of turnovers per 100 plays) on the team with 33.3%. His usage rate was down in this one, which I think is a good thing, so it had less of an impact but most of his turnovers seem to me to come from just trying to play too fast and outside of himself. Ewing probably wants the team to play faster overall than is ideal for Don, who is a bit more methodical. I think that can be an asset but Don has to use his change of pace as a tool. Not going to knock him too much in this one, and his defense was solid.

Aminu Mohammed - A-

13 PTS, 5-10 (50%), 1-2 3PT (50%), 2-2 FT, 10 REB, 3 AST, 1 BLK, 3 TO

The only reason I am giving Aminu a minus is because I think he can still play better, despite being excellent in this one. That’s a great thing because he was really good, registering another double-double. He’s just good on both ends of the floor and it’s nice to see him getting more comfortable. He seemed to finish a little easier which could just be UMBC, but I do think he’s getting a better feel for what he can and can’t do at this level. He is just so smooth getting to the rim. He’s averaging 1.5 assists per game so far this year and his 3 against UMBC were nice to see. I think that’s an area of his game that is going to continue to develop. Watch this space. My guess is that at some point Aminu’s best game as a Hoya is going to be a triple-double or near triple-double. He is just able to get into the lane so easily, if he dishes on a couple of these after collapsing the defense, he’s going to become a really big problem for opponents It’s coming and his energy on both ends continues to just be elite. He also hit a big three at the end of the first half after UMBC made a bit of a run to stretch the lead back out to 8. It came off a nice drive and kick from Dante. As he continues to improve his shooting…lookout.

Kaiden Rice - A

34 PTS, 11-14 (78%), 10-12 3PT (83%), 3 REB, 3 AST, 2 TO

I mean, yeah, he probably deserves an A+ for the shooting effort alone. But something about giving anyone an A+ against UMBC…I just can’t bring myself to do it. Modifier aside, this was an incredible shooting performance. Historic really. He set the single-game record for three-pointers made with 10. The previous record was 7, so it was not a squeaker. That he did it on 10-12 shooting is just wild. I mean, truly, hats off to Kaiden. Anything else I say regarding this game is a nitpick, or really about the broader context of his play in other games. He deserves a lot of credit for coming back after a poor shooting night against USC, with a scorcher. And that really is just the only gripe I have. Can he even out a bit. Look, no one is going to argue with 83% shooting on 12 attempts, and frankly, his overall percentage this year of 45% on 9.5 attempts per game is very good. Coming into this game his percentage was sitting at 38%. You expect a big bump from an on-fire night like tonight. But the swings between 80, 70, 50 percent and 28 and 0 percent do put some pressure on this team. We’ll see where it finishes at the end of the year, but I think if he can just avoid the 0-for nights, his impact goes way up.

Malcolm Wilson - B+

4 PTS, 2-2 (50%), 3 REB, 4 BLK

I thought Malcolm played really well in this one. In a way that gave me some real hope (and I know, it’s UMBC, but just let me have this alright). He looked more comfortable defensively, which is big. He finished with the second-best defensive rating at 72, second only to Ryan. He played 13 minutes to Ryan’s 18. I think that’s probably a pretty good breakdown right now, and certainly was right in this one - about 15 mins for Malcolm, 15 for Ryan and a combination of small ball or whoever is hot for the remaining 10. My expectation is for Ryan’s minutes to grow but I think if Malcolm can continue to do what he did against UMBC on the defensive end, good things will happen for him. We saw a bit of the translation of his potential as an elite defender, based on his size and movement, to actual impact in this one. He of course had the 4 blocks, but he was well positioned and looked a bit more comfortable on the glass. That’s where I’ll be looking going forward - does he deal with increased physicality to rebound effectively, but really a good showing from him. My favorite play from Malcolm in this one came right at the start of the first half. He pulled down a good defensive rebound and was trying to get the ball to Dante to bring it up the court. The UMBC guy was really getting into Dante, who was trying to just post the smaller guy (yes, he is smaller than Dante), and instead of forcing it and potentially throwing it away, Malcolm held onto it until Dante made a move to create space. He even told Dante “Come here!” before Dante finally gave him a good window to throw the ball to after cutting. It was a really, really small play. I get that. But I think it shows some growth and maturity, and a command from Malcolm that is new. I think one of the things he needs most is just confidence, and that little “come here!” from him I thought was a cool indication of some increased comfort. He also didn’t want to throw the ball into a risky spot, which we’ve seen bigs and others do in the name of getting the ball up the floor. He’s a really smart player and I really enjoyed watching him last night.

Collin Holloway - B

5 PTS, 2-3 (66%), 1-1 FT, 5 REB, 1 AST, 1 TO

Solid if unspectacular night from Collin. He got some extended time in the last 10 minutes of this game, which I think will be really helpful. Remember, he’s still working his way back. He continues to have really nice feel offensively and has shown he can finish nicely with that left hand. When he takes smart, comfortable shots he is really impactful. I want to continue to see his impact on the boards. He’s going to have to be active blocking out and grabbing rebounds in almost every lineup he’s a part of, and if he’s not rebounding, Gtown is probably struggling.

Jalin Billingsley - C-

4 PTS, 2-4 (50%), 6 REB,

Three players had a better Defensive Rating than Offensive Rating, Carey, Riley and Jalin, who was essentially even. I thought that was interesting. He’s got a ways to go on the offensive end as he doesn’t look totally comfortable there yet. That he continues to impact the game defensively is a good sign. The offense is really just a comfort thing it looks like right now. It will come. If he continues to rebound and defend, he’ll be just fine. Really, I think Ewing probably said it best.

Jordan Riley - C-

7 PTS, 3-9 (33%), 0-3 3PT (0%), 1-2 FT, 5 REB, 2 TO

Not his best game but he was another one who got some good extended minutes in this one in the second half which I think will really help. It’s easy to look at that as garbage time with the Hoyas up 30, but it’s not. It’s really valuable floor experience and an opportunity for development and I was pleased that all of the guys who benefited from it were A) the right ones and B) seemed to consider it as such. Look for him to improve his shooting. He’s pretty confident in the one-dribble pull-up, and I think his stroke looks solid. The more I see him the more I think he’s going to end up being a really significant piece of this program. Keep going.

Ryan Mutombo - A

15 PTS, 7-15 (46%), 1-3 FT, 10 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 4 BLK

He for sure had the touch going in this one and really has shown flashes of this all year. It was nice to see him get a real break out in this one, though I am personally bummed that this did not include another Mutombo three, which would have been cool. He’s still got room to grow in terms of his feel. At this point, he’s relying a lot on his ability to make shots, and he made them today. One play late in the first, though, I think really illustrated where he can grow. He got the ball on a post up on the right block and turned over his left shoulder to take a tough elbow jumper. He got fouled but he also drew a weak double from UMBC that left Dante wide open under the basket. If he makes that pass, it’s an easy two and a highlight play. There’s a lot in that play that indicates his areas for growth - which is to be expected and in no way a bad thing. Donny Marshall, who I am not always the biggest fan of but had some interesting insights in calling this game, remarked at one point that Ryan is moving too quickly into his shot when he gets the ball on post-ups. He’s not giving the offense enough time to develop around him or letting guys cut off him. I think that’s right and something that happened here. It’s the next evolution of his game. If he holds that ball for a beat, let’s the double come, he’s got an easy pass to Dante. Or the double comes initially and Dante runs baseline, forcing the double to release or a switch on the backside, he then can get himself a much easier shot or find an open man on the wing. It all starts with just waiting a beat to let the offense move around him. That’s just some interesting development stuff though. We get a Mutombo Double-Double and Ryan get’s an A; that’s just a law. He also had 4 blocks and had the best defensive rating on the team - 70, which is an interesting wrinkle. He clearly has good touch on the offensive end and is only going to get more comfortable. As I see it, the biggest factor contributing to his ultimate trajectory is going to be how he develops athletically and his foot-speed, in particular. That needs to improve. And if it does? Watch out.

Tyler Beard - B

0 PTS, 0-2 (0%), 6 AST

Good minutes for Tyler and he took the opportunity. 6 assists in 16 minutes is great. His assist percentage (percentage of teammate’s field goals a player assists on while he’s on the floor) was 38.5%, second only to Dante. That’s what you hope to see. He has the right approach out there. This team is going to be at its best when Dante is getting good breaks and Tyler is able to continue to run the offense and get good shots for his teammates.

Chuma Azinge - A+

2 PTS, 1-1 (100%)

Electric layup from Chuma. Loved it

Victor Muresan - A+

0 PTS, 0-2 (0%)

Very nearly finished one in this. The bench wanted it. We all wanted it.

Offense - A

Adding overall grades for the offense and defense, mostly to give a sense of how the Hoyas faired statistically in comparison to their opponent’s averages. As you might expect, Georgetown’s offensive numbers against UMBC are excellent. They ranked as a somewhat average shooting team coming into last night with an effective FG% of 50.2 percent (compared to the D-1 Average of 49.6%). Their eFG% against UMBC was 58%, largely a result of Kaiden’s hot night. Which, by the way, has Georgetown now ranked 31st in D-1 in three-point percentage at 38.9%. If Georgetown can get some more consistent shooting and slightly better shooting for other guys (which you could see happening due to freshmen getting more comfortable) they could be working their way into a top 25 three-point percentage which is not something I think we would have expected. For me, the offensive success in this game was all about the ball movement. The Hoyas are not a particularly good assist team. They’re averaging 13.3 per game which ranks 187th and their assist to made field goal percentage is 49.3 which puts them 213 in D-1. Against UMBC they managed 22 assists on 39 made shots, giving them a rate of 56% (the D-1 average is 50%). That’s their blueprint. I also thought we saw a few more definitive sets from Ewing in this game. They had a really nice ATO (After Time Out) play that resulted in a Malcolm dunk that was beauty. See below. Overall, I thought the offense was effective and gives them the model for how to be successful moving forward.

https://twitter.com/CBBonFOX/status/1468777134529384451

Defense - B -

Coming in (according to KenPom), UMBC was a pretty good shooting team - 135th in D1 in Effective FG% at 50.9%. This is mostly due to above-average 3pt shooting, with an average of 36% putting them 83rd in D1 (the D-1 Average is 33.2%) on fairly high attempts, 44.7% of their total field goal attempts (50th in D-1). I will say that KenPom, is among the analytic community that preaches 3 pt shooting is mostly random and affected less by an opponent’s defense than perhaps we’d like. I think that’s important to keep in mind, but also the experience watching Georgetown over the past few years tells you that may not always be true (see any game in which Georgetown gives up wide-open threes for seemingly no reason). UMBC’s effective FG% against your Georgetown University Hoyaswas 43%, 7% below their average. Defenses can have some impact on the number of attempts opponents take from three, which is a good indicator of overall defense particularly for teams that shoot it well. Georgetown didn’t really take away the three too much as UMBC attempted 31 threes, above their average of 27.9 on the year. They did hold UMBC under their points average (78.3) and there were positives in terms of better closeouts but it’s still not nearly good enough.

Coaching - B

Look, I know it’s UMBC, but I thought the coaching checked a lot of the boxes I have been looking for. Primarily they won and did so handily. They looked prepared, confident and ready-to-go after a really not-great showing in South Carolina. I am not sure I loved the idea of sticking with Malcolm as your starter at the 5, but I think it was justified by his play and, as I mentioned above, I think the minutes breakdown among the 2 bigs is right (about 15 minutes each + 10 minutes of small ball). I am not sure you can argue too much with that. I have thought he needed to give more minutes to Tyler and Jordan, and he did. Not just at the end of the second half. And I think the way he managed the last 10 minutes when his team was up big was good, the guys who needed to see time did and they continued to play hard and run their stuff. And by the way, they did try and run more offensive sets, which had been lacking. Defensively, there’s still a long way to go, but there were some very slight improvements. This is one game, against a relatively weak opponent, but for what it was, they did well. Still would like to know who that new coach is!

Refs - MEH

One of the worst travel calls I’ve ever seen on Aminu at one point who very clearly did not travel and just ball faked. Also, BTW, on the Aminu goaltend (Aminu grabbed a UMBC three-pointer before it touched the rim that was clearly offline), that’s on Aminu for me, not the refs. It was clearly going to hit the rim (or maybe the net) and bounce off (it was definitely not going in) but Aminu grabbed it while it was still above the rim. I am not an expert on goaltending rules, but that seems like one that is probably better to just leave and grab the rebound.