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THE CASUAL AWARDS – WE’RE PLAYING ON FRIDAY NIGHT, Y’ALL

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NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Villanova vs Georgetown Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, hey. What’s up, Casual fam? Is everyone enjoying the one-year anniversary of Chet Hanks’ Dad’s night

and the Covid loss to St. John’s? Yes? Fantastic.

Because while you were calling all of your fairweather fan friends from college to remind them that Covid hasn’t cancelled Georgetown’s season, we were casually switching off the video feature on our Zoom conference calls (Sword of Brunner, waddup), drinking some celebratory orange wine (NYHoya is classy), and ABSOLUTELY GOING F*CKING BANANAS about the Hoyas’ latest romp through the first two games of the Big East Tournament.

What’s the best way to celebrate the current feeling of optimism, hope, and elation? Oh, we don’t know, maybe a DOUBLE EDITION of the Awards featuring a casual reunion for NYHoya and SwordofBrunner?

[SwordOfBrunner note: was that the last time we saw each other? risking exposure to the pandemic at MSG and then a fucking Hooters?]

Yes. We needed this too.

So, sit back, relax, and HIT YOUR DAMN THROWS, young fellas, as we present the latest super-sized edition of THE CASUAL AWARDS. And away we go….

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

AP
NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at St. John Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Ewing.

Not gonna lie – it’s been a rocky four years for ol’ #33. Entering this year’s trip to the Garden, your Hoyas under Patrick had missed the NCAA Tourney for three straight years, failed to win a single game in the BET, had a bunch of players transfer, and just never seemed to be able to play consistent basketball, especially (and shockingly) on the defensive end.

But now, after two massive wins in New York, the swagger is back. People are starting to believe again. We’re reminded of those old WAG shirts. SOME HAVE FORGOTTEN. WE WILL REMIND THEM. In these last two performances, Big Pat and his merry band of Hoyas have done a whole lot of reminding.

A blowout win against Marquette while dominating on defense and on the glass? Yes please. A double-digit come-from-behind victory against the #1 seeded and absolutely hated ‘Nova Wildcats? Oh hell yes.

We like the confidence, and we feel great for the big fella. Nothing made us happier than listening to Big Pat in the postgame pressers. He led a “Hoya Saxa” chant, said “this is MY court”, reminded everyone that there’s a reason his name is in the MSG rafters, and then casually called out the security guards at the Garden for accosting him inside the building.

“Everybody in the building should know who the hell I am,” he said. Is he wrong? HE IS 7 FEET TALL AND HIS NUMBER IS IN THE RAFTERS.

In case you didn’t know, he’s that CENTER. He’s #33 from Georgetown. And his name is PA-TRICK EW-ING. After these last two days, maybe the country will finally wake up and remember.

The 1985 Chicago Bears Award for (Finally!) Playing Some Bad Ass Defense Award:

Your 2020-21 Georgetown Hoyas.

Entering this season, most of us assumed we’d struggle big time. Lots of turnover, lots of new faces and young guys, not a lot of time to practice due to covid. So “how can we gauge success?” everyone seemed to ask. People pointed to two things: (1) exceed expectations and (2) solve our defensive woes. Check and check.

Instead of finishing last in the conference win/loss standings, your Hoyas finished eighth. More importantly, after five straight years of sub-par defensive showings (with three of those seasons occurring under Ewing’s watch), your Hoyas have finally started to put the pieces together. For three years, our perimeter defensive numbers were beyond dreadful (literally among the worst in the country). But this year, especially since the infamous mid-winter covid break, we’ve actually looked (good?) on the defensive end.

There’s no better evidence of this turnaround than the shellacking we gave Wojo and Marquette on Wednesday afternoon. We held Marquette to 14 points in the first half. 14! And we cleaned up the glass and pushed them around. Harris, Pickett and Bile were a combined 5-30 from the floor and we still won by 19 FREAKING POINTS.

Because when you play defense and rebound, good things happen. Kudos to the staff and the players for grinding out a disgustingly beautiful win against the Golden Eagles and holding Jamal Cain to six points and Koby McEwen to a goose egg.

[SwordOfBrunner note: Willie Gault hive, ASSEMBLE

]

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

Don Carey.

I mean, let’s just keep it going, DC. In previous editions of these Awards, we celebrated Don Carey’s ability to bank in three pointers whenever he damn well pleases, and praised his uncanny ability to hit MULTIPLE four-point plays. Against ‘Nova, the streak continued, as the Siena transfer drilled a three and made his throw to cut a 9-0 early deficit in half.

We love it. Keep up the heady play, young man.

(Side note: can we please stop falling behind early in games and needing to burn timeouts? Sigh….)

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

Dante Harris. Again.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Villanova vs Georgetown Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We see you, DH. Designated Hero. AGAIN.

After struggling against Marquette (four points on 2-10 shooting), young Dante shook off the MSG jitters by giving us the best damn game of his short career. Sure, he had an impressive five steals and six boards against ‘Quette, but we wanted to see the whole package on both sides of the floor. And on Thursday at the Garden, he showed us.

On a day when everyone not named Qudus seemed to struggle on the offensive end, this young man put the team on his back, played a game-high 38 minutes, and scored 18 points (6-11 from the floor), with five assists, three rebounds and ZERO TURNOVERS. Most importantly, he didn’t force anything. While he occasionally struggles to finish at the rim, against ‘Nova he played with a lot of poise and energy. He worked his little step-back jumper, passed the ball to open shooters, and played lock-down defense on the newest Arcidiacano bro.

And oh yeah, he DIDN’T SHY AWAY FROM THE MOMENT. With your Hoyas down one and the clock winding down, young Dante stared at the Big East co-player of the year (Jeremiah Robinson-Earl), drove to the rim, used a ball fake and hesitation to get his man in the air, drew contact, went to the line, and then casually hit the game-tying and game-winning free throws to create a GLOBAL FRENZY BIGGER THAN GAMESTOP.

Thursday was Dante’s day. He brought the damn inferno that we’ve all been craving.

The DSR Award for Just Bringing it Every Damn Night:

Jahvon Blair.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

We see you, Juggy. Since arriving in New York, the Big East’s most impressive sixth man since Patrick Ewing Jr. (who forced the conference to create a damn award honoring his play), our guy Jahvon has been straight-up ballin’.

Against Marquette, he dominated. In 29 minutes, he poured in 20 points (on 8-14 shooting) and contributed three rebounds and two assists. He hit a series of floaters and threes and tried to swing the ball to open shooters after his initial penetration. In short, he played within himself. He didn’t force his shot and good things happened. Even our guy Disco Volante, who loves to point out JB’s tendency to chuck, had nothing but praise for the Canadian sharpshooter.

Against ‘Nova, by the way, it was Juggy who helped us steady the ship. In 32 minutes, he had 14 points and four threes, including a gigantic shot that gave the Hoyas an emphatic lead at the five-minute mark (after trailing by 11 just a few minutes earlier).

Jahvon is learning and improving every game. And for a senior like him to still be adjusting is…pretty great.

The Patrick Ewing / Alonzo Mourning / Dikembe Mutombo / Roy Hibbert / Greg Monroe Award for Being a Dominant Georgetown Big Man Award:

Qudus Wahab, ladies and gentlemen.

AP

Come on down, young man. Want to know the one consistent feature of these two wins at the Garden? Our guy Q just beasting on his coach’s old stomping grounds.

Against Marquette, he had 19 points (on 6-8 shooting) and seven rebounds in 25 minutes. That work for you? Cool. Against ‘Nova, he had 17 points (on 5-8 shooting) and six rebounds in 28 minutes. That good enough? Terrific. How about the fact that in these two games he combined for a ridiculous 14-14 from the free throw line? Are we making you happy? Awesome.

In all seriousness, the biggest knock on Q was that he had become too one-dimensional: that any time he’d catch the ball in the paint, he’d go up with it, regardless of defenders. We knocked him for his assist to turnover ratio –and to be fair, he still has 46 turnovers and only four assists.

But if you’ve been paying attention, Wahab really is starting to pass the ball more effectively from the post. This leads to open looks for our shooters. And when he passes the ball out, defenses stop sagging on him, which creates easy looks for the big fella.

Folks, this kid is only a f*cking sophomore. Keep feasting, Q. We love it. And speaking of Q….

The Patrick Ewing Award for Dunking the Damn Ball Award:

Qudus Wahab.

NCAA Basketball: Big East Conference Tournament-Villanova vs Georgetown Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Those of you who have been Georgetown fans for more than five minutes will remember our collective frustration, year after year, at having our bigs opt for soft finishes around the rim – lay-ins and jump hooks, etc. – instead of, you know, DUNKING THE DAMN BALL.

On Thursday against ‘Nova, with your Hoyas down three with under a minute to go and the game very much in doubt, Jahvon Blair turned down a contested three (another sign of his maturity) and tossed the ball inside to our guy Q for an ENORMOUS, EARTH-SHATTERING, PUT-YOUR-BALLS-ON-THE-FLOOR DUNK (AND A FOUL!) that sent legions of Hoya fans screaming in their domiciles, scaring their significant others/childrens/pets.

[SwordOfBrunner note: I was watching the game whilst on a Zoom call and there is *no way* to make a fist pump derived from a dunk + 1 look natural and, knowing what i know now, my advice would be to turn video off if you’re going to watch your alma mater in an elimination game during business hours while working remotely]

For as much as we will remember this INSTANT CLASSIC win against ‘Nova for Dante’s clutch free throws, we will also remember THE DUNK that seemed to revive our program and put the rest of the damn conference on notice.

SOME MAY HAVE FORGOTTEN. Q REMINDED THEM.

The Curt Hennig Award for Perfection

Your Georgetown Hoyas.

In a game that we won by a single point, your Hoyas went 23-23 from the line. We were perfect.

We’re not sure we have seen a more clutch performance from a Georgetown team from the line since…ever? For real, when was the last time we attempted 20+ free throws and made all of them….in the postseason!

Hats off to everyone here: Bile, Pickett, Wahab, Harris, Carey and Blair. Just a remarkable effort. ESPECIALLY these two under an insane amount of pressure:

Keep making those throws, fellas. They’re free!

The 311 Day for Betting on Yourself…

March 11, 2021.

Not gonna lie – it was a good day. We would’ve been fine with ONLY a last-second heart-stopping win against #1 seeded ‘Nova in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tourney. After all, we don’t ask for much.

But this magical day – this one-year anniversary of that awful Covid game at the Garden and the unofficial night the global pandemic became “real” – brought a few additional pleasant surprises along the way.

For example, the weather was beautiful. On the east coast, the temperature got as high as the 70s. The sun was shining.

Syracuse University, a former Big East school that currently wallows in the dregs of a mediocre conference, had its Tournament hopes take a (perhaps devastating?) hit as the Orange lost on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Duke University, a school that Greg Paulus attended (but which his three brothers DID NOT ATTEND), lost a quarterfinal matchup to covid. Which, to be fair, is unfortunate. Nevertheless, it’s fun to see Duke miss the Tourney for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

And while we’re at it, let’s celebrate the NJ public school system. Because when NYHoya showed up at his daughter’s elementary school to pick up his kid after the glorious victory, he was offered a French toast stick. And no one, under any circumstances, turns down a FREE FRENCH TOAST STICK. EVER.

So yeah, it was a good day.

The 2K10 Georgetown Hoyas Revenge Tour Award for Rolling Through Some Foes and Advancing to the Big East Semis:

Your 2K21 Georgetown Hoyas, son!

We remember certain parts of 2010 fondly. We try to forget Armon Bassett.

In 2010, Chris Wright and your Hoyas were on a frigging mission to avenge earlier losses and march to the championship game. And that’s exactly what they did. After cruising by South Florida and then dethroning the #1 seeded Orange in the BET quarters, your Hoyas beat up on the Golden Eagles (against whom they had split the season series) before advancing to the title game.

Here’s a snippet from a post-game presser during that year’s BET:

“Q. The three teams you just played and whoever you face tomorrow are all teams that beat you during the regular season. Is that providing any extra motivation to kind of get back at those teams?

GREG MONROE: Yes.

CHRIS WRIGHT: Yes.

AUSTIN FREEMAN: Yes.

GREG MONROE: For the record, yes.”

Man, we loved that team.

In 2021, your Hoyas find themselves in a similar situation. Having avenged a loss against Marquette, they dismantled the hated #1 seeded ‘Cats in the BET quarters. And now they have an opportunity to beat up on another long-time foe, the Seton Hall Pirates (against who they split the season series).

The win against ‘Nova was Georgetown’s first win against a #1 seeded team in the BET quarters since….2010.

The Megan Thee Stallion (feat. Young Thug) Award for Not Stopping:

Rich Chvtokin

In the words of Megan Thee Stallion….ok, we’re not gonna include those lyrics here because let’s just say it’s not exactly appropriate for your virgin ears. (But seriously, Google the lyrics. They are surreal.)

Here’s the thing. We’re not done yet. We’re not stopping. Now isn’t the time to celebrate success.

This Revenge Tour ain’t over yet. And this Hoyas team is really just starting to put the pieces together. Winners of six of their last eight games, these Hoyas are improving every day. For real, we have two impressive wins and yet….we’re NOT EVEN PLAYING WELL on offense.

For example, in two games in the BET, Chudi Bile is a combined 1-15 from the floor. Jamorko Pickett is 4-18. Do the math. And yet….we’re winning. If Bile and/or Pickett start playing a little better, we might actually do a thing and one-up those 2K10 Hoyas.

So let’s not get cocky or satisfied. We need to keep fighting. Seton Hall has more or less owned us since that infamous Tyler Adams game in 2K15. But the curse needs to end at some point, so it might as well end on Friday night at the Garden.

Patrick Ewing’s Hoyas have never won three consecutive games against conference foes. On Friday night, they have yet another chance at becoming heroes.

In the words of our guy JTIII: “There’s nothing better than Friday night in New York City, other than Saturday night in New York City. So we’re going to show up in New York City on Saturday night.”

With all due respect to AMERICAN HERO Bobby Bancroft, who, like us, LOVES to watch our Hoyas play on Friday nights during the BET, we think it’s about damn time we had another game on a Saturday night at the Garden….

Let’s go Hoyas. Beat Seton Hall.