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THE CASUAL AWARDS – Payback Against the Pirates

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Yes, “Come at me, Bro” was a dated reference even back when UConn was still in the conference

GUHoyas

Hi there. What’s happening? Y’know, besides covid and snowstorms and stuff?

Despite the general terribleness most folks are experiencing on a daily basis, we here at the Awards have been looking for opportunities to celebrate the future heroes of this country. And it’s a good thing we’ve had our eyes open. Because while you were trying to find sneaky ways to jump ahead of grandma at Walmart to participate in some (highly unethical) vax-line cutting, your Hoyas have quietly won four of their last six contests, including two straight payback home wins against Butler and Seton Hall.

So yeah, cheer up. It’s time to celebrate with a late February edition of THE CASUAL AWARDS. Without further ado, away we go…

The Chris Wright/Jagan Mosely Heart of a Champion Award:

DePaul v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
Big East Tournament First Round: Georgetown vs St. John’s Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images

Jamorko Pickett.

Big East Basketball Tournament - First Round Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

We could’ve gone in a few different directions with this one, but we’re giving it to one of our four year senior leaders because he f*cking deserves some love.

What did Jamorko do on Saturday evening? While you were ordering pizza and being lazy, he just dropped in a casual season-high 20 points (on an impressive 8-11 shooting), with seven boards and three assists. It might’ve been his most complete game of the season. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Listen, Jamorko has heard the same message from every announcer and fan every damn year. It goes something like this: he has impressive size and potential, but he often gets in his own way (e.g., poor shot selection, ball handling, turnovers, etc.). But against Seton Hall, the senior from our nation’s capital was basically Ronnie from season 1 of Jersey Shore, shouting “Come at me bro!” to the 27 people in McDonough Gymnasium who were physically present at the game.

(NYHoya note: I’m sorry if this is a dated reference for some of you. But ten years flies by when you have nothing better to do than these f*cking Awards, so if anyone has a problem with this reference, you can come at me, bro.)

Back to Jamorko. When he plays within himself, he’s good. Very good. Drilling open threes, long duces, rebounding, playing stout defense, limiting silly turnovers. And we like it. On a night when Jahvon was not shooting like his normal self, we needed every last ounce of Pickett’s scoring. And against Butler, he chipped in a very nice 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. We’ll ignore the lingering turnover issues because we love nothing more than a ball reversal that results in a wide open Pickett three. STICK IT, PICKETT!

The Larry Johnson Award for Hitting a Meaningful Four-Point Play Award:

Don Carey. Twice!

GUHoyas

Bro. In an earlier version of these Awards, we celebrated Don Carey’s ability to #bank in three pointers whenever he damn well pleases. In these Awards, we’ll do one better and give him the ol’ LJ symbol for hitting MULTIPLE four-point plays.

The New York Knicks’ Larry Johnson gestures to the crowd wit Photo by Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

We love it.

And let’s give a quick shout-out to DC for keeping his head in the game in recent weeks. After losing his starting role to Bile, he may be frustrated with the dip in minutes, but he’s stepped up in the last couple of games with his sharp shooting and heady play. Against Seton Hall, Carey had 11 points and three steals in 16 minutes. Against Butler, he poured in ten points in 18 minutes.

Keep up the steady contribution, DC. We’re gonna need it.

The Markel Starks Award for Being a Savvy Point Guard Award:

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall v Georgetown Chuck Myers/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Dante Harris.

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We see you, DH. Designated Hero. After the first several games of the season, it was clear that this team needed a floor general. And, after that little covid winter break, you’ve unquestionably become that dude.

For those of you not paying attention— against Butler, our guy Dante had a casual nine points, six rebounds and four assists (with only one turnover!) in 34 minutes of action. Against Seton Hall, he did it again: 14 points, eight (!) assists and seven rebounds in 37 minutes. Sure, we don’t love the five turnovers, but they’re a little easier to swallow when Young Dante is contributing in so many different ways on the court. His heady, soothing presence at the top of the key has been one of the most comforting things we’ve noticed in the last month.

Keep doing your thang, Dante. We like it.

(And quick shout out to our guys Chris Wright and Austin Freeman, the hosts of the AWARD-WINNING podcast DAWG TALK, for getting Bobby Maze (the former Tennessee standout) to say a few words about Dante during the offseason. Bobby told the whole world what his cousin, Dante Harris, was capable of doing on the court. And he was right. Just keep working on that shot and playing smart, DH—whipple note: I think it was in the Jessie Sapp episode.)

The Jamorko Pickett Award for Playing Within Yourself Award:

Jahvon Blair.

Listen up. Our guy Jahvon played 39 minutes against Seton Hall but only scored a single field goal. He was 1-6 from the floor and finished with a mere three points. And yet, the Hoyas still put up a whopping 81 points en route to a victory. How is this possible, you may ask?

GUHoyas

Because Jahvon is quietly rounding out his game. And we should celebrate him for that. Against the Pirates, he chipped in an impressive five assists and only had two turnovers. In the previous game against Butler, he had seven rebounds, six assists and two steals.

To be fair, there are still things about his game that drive us crazy. Those nine turnovers against Butler negated much of the good he contributed, but he learned his lesson just a few days later. This game against the Hall could’ve gone a different way. The Pirates’ game plan was clearly to pressure Blair on the outside and not give him any easy looks (similar to what Creighton did in their second game against us). But instead of jacking up deep shots or forcing things, Blair adjusted his game and just tried to find his teammates for easier looks. And it worked! In fact, it worked twice for four-point plays! So, despite the less-than-usual point total from Jahvon, we’re cool with it. Because he kept the turnovers down, didn’t force his shot (for the most part – that deep three early in the shot clock when we were up eight points late in the game against Seton Hall was questionable), and he played within himself.

GUHoyas

Good things happen when the ball moves around. And now teams will realize that when they try to take Jahvon out of the game, they still might get burned. Which will only open things up for Blair going forward.

Keep grinding, JB. We see you.

The Cardi B Award for Constantly Going Up:

Chudi B.

GUHoyas

We like Chudi Bile. It’s not a secret. Look at his output in the last two games. Against Butler, he had 17 points, six rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes. Against Seton Hall, he had 16 points and three rebounds in 32 minutes.

But it hasn’t always been all peaches and cream. Like others on the squad, he sometimes suffers from “trying to do too much” syndrome. Against Creighton (part deux), he had six points and six turnovers and was basically a non-factor.

When Chudi plays within himself (a running theme for most of this year’s Hoyas) and plays unselfish basketball, we love what he brings to the court. His energy, his defense, his shooting. All of it. Against Seton Hall, we saw the whole shebang. If Bile can stay on the court and avoid foul trouble, while cutting down on those turnovers (stop dribbling so much, my dude), he will continue to help this team compete against every damn team in the conference.

Keep trending up, Chudi B. We love that fight in you.

The Lebron James Award for Committing Turnovers Awards:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

Little known fact: Lebron has committed the most total turnovers in NBA history.

Prior to Georgetown’s 18 turnover showing against Seton Hall, your Hoyas were already #328 in the country in turnovers per game, with a whopping 15.9 average. That is nothing short of dreadful and is the third worst among major power schools in Division I-A.

GUHoyas

And these aren’t even good turnovers. They’re sloppy dribbles, errant passes, traveling violations far from the basket, and throwaways that result in fast breaks for our opponents. It’s gross. Seriously. In the two games before Seton Hall, we had a combined 47 turnovers. That’s a real fact, not fake news. That sh*it happened. Wanna know why there weren’t Awards after our win against Butler? It’s because we don’t reward games in which the victor has 24 field goals and 23 turnovers.

Please, please, please make better decisions with the basketball. Everyone. Much of this is correctable.

The Ty Cobb Award for Batting Over .400 Award:

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

GUHoyas

Don’t look now, but Georgetown has won seven of its 17 games this season. That’s over 40%. If this were baseball, we’d be batting over .400 and that’s freaking Ty Cobb and Rod Carew territory, ladies and gentlemen.

So let’s get excited because, honestly, we might be the most dangerous 7-10 team in the country right now.

We’ve got these big claws and these fangs and we just don’t know what to do with ourselves right now. We’re so money and we don’t even know it.

The BIG EAST, in a down year, is admittedly cannibalizing itself and decreasing its chances of getting five or six teams in the NCAA Tourney, but we don’t care. Some prominent bracketologists are even suggesting the BIG EAST should reduce the number of teams selected for the BIG EAST Tourney to maximize the likelihood that the top half of the conference will receive bids.

But this miserable COVID season is far from over. And we’re fine crashing the damn party in New York. Because when we continue this hot streak and run the table at the Garden in a few weeks, no one will question whether the Big East is happy about it. We’re just gonna keep winning against these bubble teams. Because winning is fun, and it’s better than losing.

The Roy Hibbert Award for Draining a Miraculous Game-Winning Three Point Basket to Vanquish UConn Award:

All of us.

Connecticut v Georgetown
Roy Hibbert #55 of the Georgetown Hoyas celebrates with teammates after hitting the game winning shot against the University of Connecticut at the Verizon Center on January 12, 2008 in Washington, D.C. The Hoyas won 72-69.
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Listen, it’s been a long time since Georgetown and Connecticut laced ’em up as members of the BIG EAST Conference. Sure, they’ve played a couple of random times since UConn’s sorrowful conference departure (with each team winning a game), but does anyone remember what happened the last time these teams faced off as BIG EAST foes?

We do. It was February 27, 2013, nearly eight years ago to the day. And Otto f*cking Porter led your Hoyas to an incredible double-overtime win against Shabazz Napier and the Huskies. It’s true. That happened. We have pictures and everything to prove it.

Georgetown at Connecticut
Georgetown’s Otto Porter Jr. (22) is mobbed by teammates after hitting the last shot in the Hoyas’ 79-78 double-overtime victory against Connecticut at Gampel Pavillion in Storrs, Connecticut, on Wednesday, February 27, 2013.
John Woike/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Here are some fun facts. Georgetown has prevailed in seven of the last 10 games against UConn, including all five of the previous home contests. In three of the last four wins, the Hoyas have won by the exact same score, 72-69. Weird. And awesome.

Be that as it may, Tuesday’s game—the first in the storied rivalry since the Huskies were rescued back to the BIG EAST this season—promises to be a grueling affair. UConn, coming off of a close loss to Villanova, is a bubble team who can’t afford to lose to the 7-10 Hoyas. But Georgetown is surging. Winners of four of their last six, all victories following a three week COVID-19 mid-winter vacation, your Hoyas are hungry and playing some of their best basketball of the season.

So why not keep it rolling by spanking one of our most hated rivals?

P.S. Austin Freeman says, “Hi,” you guys.

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Connecticut.