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THE CASUAL AWARDS – A Rebirth in Omaha

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All aboard! The awards train is leaving the station!

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, hello. We’ve missed you. It’s been 11 months or so because, yeah, things have been happening and stuff. But college basketball games are being played for some g-dforsaken reason, and, sometimes, good things happen. Sports!

So have no fear. Because while you were helping your computer-illiterate parents schedule vaccine appointments, we were just chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool….and all shooting some b-ball outside of the (virtual) school.

And after your Hoyas marched into Nebraska and stunned the mighty Jays, we figured it was time, oh yes definitely time, for this long overdue edition of THE CASUAL AWARDS. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the malfunctioning shot clock nearest you.

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

Marquette v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 11 Big East Tournament - St. Johns v Georgetown Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

Bro. In a season that has undoubtedly been the longest and most painful one since the mid-70s, your Hoyas shocked the world (and yes, even the tens of Hoya faithful who stayed up to watch this late evening affair) and basically led Creighton from end-to-end in an impressive victory, 86-79, in Nebraska. This win marked the highest ranked opponent (#15) Patrick Ewing has defeated since his tenure as Georgetown head coach began four years ago. This was also the Hoyas’ first road win of the season. (Oh yes, that’s true.)

What made this dazzling display of basketball all the more remarkable is that this is the second opponent Georgetown has bested since returning from a three-week absence due to the covid-19 virus, a period in which the team presumably isolated and stayed away from the basketball court. Huh.

For this reason, instead of highlighting an individual performance with this beloved award, we’re giving it to the whole squad – the players, the staff, the trainers, the tutors, the delivery people, everybody – because playing this well after such a long layoff is nothing short of astonishing.

What sorcery is responsible for this turnaround? In the words of Coach Big Pat, “I just think we exhaled.”

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

Chudier Bile.

We see you, Chudi B. Following an impressive, out-of-nowhere performance against Prov-town (19 points, nine rebounds), young Mr. Bile put together a dazzling second half en route to 17 points, six rebounds and four steals against the Jays.

Stats aside, the thing we like most about the transfer out of Northwestern State is his ENERGY. Long, active arms, a nose for the ball, a desire to mix it up in the paint. All of those things. Bile was a little banged up to start the season and has understandably needed a bit of time to find a rhythm with his new teammates; but now that he’shealthy and rested, he’s found his niche as the glue guy. And we love it. Keep grinding, CB. Chu Chu!

The Don Carey Award for Hitting a Three Off the Glass Award:

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Georgetown at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Don Carey.

Is this two games in a row now that DC has used a little KISS to drain a shot from beyond the arc? And did Jahvon just join his fan club by banking in his own dagger three to put the Hoyas up nine at the end of the Creighton game? Three banked-in threes in two games? It must be a record. It’s silly, but we’ll take it. For a fan base used to seeing other teams hit crazy shots against us, we will gladly, without any remorse whatsoever, accept these beautiful baskets.

And also, Don Carey always calls his banks. So yeah, that’s just how he rolls.

The DSR Award for Drilling Pretty Threes:

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

Jahvon Blair.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Georgetown at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hats off to our guy Jahvon, a senior leader and Hoya stalwart who plays damn near 38 minutes every game. Juggy is at his best when he’s catching and shooting wide open threes. He’s a shooter. That’s what he does. But against Creighton he did more than that. Sure, he contributed a team-high 22 points (and knocked down FIVE threes), but he also had a whopping SEVEN assists and only two turnovers.

Jahvon isn’t a natural point guard. He’s better off the ball, catching and shooting. Sometimes when our offense struggles, he gets antsy and tries to do too much to create his own shot. But when the ball is moving and he’s either setting up teammates or on the receiving end of a pass and can put up a clean look, everything clicks. There are few things we like more than seeing three or more passes during a possession resulting in a wide open Juggy swish from beyond the arc.

It’s pretty. So pretty.

The Moneyball Award for the Interesting Data-Heavy Stat of the Night Award:

Timothy Ighoefe.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Georgetown at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hats off to Casual Hoya’s very own Bobby Bancroft, host of the world renown podcast KENTE KORNER, for noticing that in just eight minutes of game time, YOUNG TIMMY IGGY was a whopping +19 on the floor.

He chipped in six points and three rebounds and picked up four fouls during his limited time on the court, but apparently he was a FORCE down low. The numbers don’t lie. And neither does Big Tim. When opposing players get near the basket, he swats that garbage away because he has the wingspan of a f*cking pterodactyl.

The Brandon Bowman Award for Excellence for Playing Within Yourself:

V.M.I. v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Jamorko Pickett.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Oh Jamorko. When he plays within himself, he’s so fun to watch. He rebounds, he plays hard, he drills wide open threes, and he defends with those long arms. But when he loses confidence, or tries to do too much, he struggles. He gets a little dribble-happy, he stops passing, and he settles for contested jumpers or turns the ball over.

On Wednesday in Nebraska, Jamorko showed us both sides of his game. He turned the ball over a team-high five times, but also, impressively, chipped in with 16 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. And he even connected on four of six threes. The potential is there, we know this. We say it every year. When he puts it together, as he basically did against Creighton, he looks SO. DAMN. GOOD.

B-Bow was the same. He had his ups and downs, but when he was playing within himself, he was a joy to watch. That reverse dunk against UConn in the Big East Tourney in 2005. That steal against Paulus to put the finishing touches on Duke in 2006. That length. SO. DAMN. GOOD. (And by the way, Bowman is only one of three players from that Duke game in 2006 who is still playing professional ball. The other two are Jeff Green and J.J. Redick.)

So yeah. Jamorko—we love you. Play within yourself and good things will happen. Don’t force it. Protect the ball, hit those open jumpers, bang down low, and keep doing your thing. If you keep improving, you’ll end up with a long and fruitful professional career, just like Bowman.

The John Starks Award for Absolutely Posterizing Some Dude Award:

Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls File Photos Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage

Jamorko Pickett.

Bro. We all saw it. Pickett sometimes gets that fire in his belly and decides to go hard and attack the rim. When he doesn’t fumble the ball or get overexcited, he just launches his body like a heat-seeking missile and looks to score. Against Creighton, it happened.

Doing his best Jagan Mosely impersonation, he flew over some defender and dunked the ball in his eye. The refs called a questionable charge. Which it wasn’t, because the defender wasn’t set. In our view, when you posterize a dude and leave enough time for your nuts to high-five a defender’s forehead AND THE BALL GOES IN, that’s two points, no questions asked. BRING THAT FIRE, J PICK.

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

Dante Harris.

Hi there, young fella. I know you only scored one basket in 35 minutes, but you might’ve had the best game of your short-lived Georgetown career because you just did what you needed to do.

In a game that featured a number of runs, the Hoyas needed a floor leader, someone who could provide a steadying presence and know exactly when to push the pace and when to slow things down and settle the troops. Dante was that guy.

Many of us have been critical of Ewing’s offense in recent years because it seems like his teams only play at one speed – REALLY FREAKING FAST. But against Creighton, interestingly, Georgetown took a number of leads and then used some clock and settled things down.

Let’s be real. Against the Jays, we were never going to win a three-point shooting contest, even though we looked hella good in that first frame. Which is why it was so comforting to see an actual floor general help us dictate pace and slow things down when we needed to, particularly in the last five minutes. Sure- the fouls at the end were silly, but Dante will learn. And his shot will improve. For now, we like what we’re seeing. And love the hustle and feistiness on the defensive end. Keep playing smart, YOUNG LION.

The Tom Brady Award for Losing the Most Super Bowls Ever Award:

Tom Brady.

Because he’s about to lose his fourth Super Bowl and tie the all-time record for most Super Bowl losses by one human being. Tom Brady is great, but it’s important for you to know that he is also a loser. And don’t you forget it. When we think of losers, we think of #12.

The Cleveland Indians Award for Putting Together a Winning Streak:

Your Georgetown Hoyas?

Don’t look now, but the Hoyas have, for the first time all season (!) won two games in a row. First, Provvy. Then Creighton. And now, as we gear up for the next one, an unforeseen foe has magically appeared on the schedule because of covid scheduling shenanigans: it’s Villanova. In Philly. On Super Bowl Sunday.

We know this season is dreadful and that everything is (still) terrible. But that little unexpected win against Creighton has given the Hoya faithful the most glorious Tu Bishvat gift anyone could have imagined: a tree little thing called HOPE.

And hey. We know that Nova is really good, and that Nova will be hungry because it’s coming off of a tough loss. But we’re hungry too, and hell, WHAT HAVE WE GOT TO LOSE?

So, as we all get ready to order lots of pizza and sit at home by our miserable selves, eating Tostitos and salsa, and watching an American football game, we might as well be miserable and eat pizza and Tostitos and salsa together (virtually!) and watch Georgetown SHOCK THE WORLD AGAIN and beat Collin Gillespie and his insufferable friends.

The Delusion Train is still in the station. Better hop on board now before it starts rolling. And don’t forget to WEAR A F*CKING MASK, you heathens.

Chu Chu Baby. Chu Chu.

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Villanova.