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Game Grades: Hoyas Barely Passable in Season Opener

NCAA Basketball: Maryland - E. Shore at Georgetown Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

#1 - Hoyas vs. Coppin St. - 11/8/22

Hope springs eternal, right? RIGHT?? Regardless, here we are again. Staring down the barrel of another season of Georgetown Hoyas basketball. Helplessly hoping a win hovers nearby.

Awaiting a word of Jay Heath’s waiver. Gasping at glimpses of a program reborn (we hope).

Ready or not, here we go! Grades are back! Because, why not? (Don’t answer that).

First up, the Coppin State Eagles on the rare college basketball SEGABABA (second half of a back-to-back). Juan Dixon’s team came into this ranked 329 on KenPom fresh off a pummeling at the hands of 176-ranked Charlotte 49ers 82 - 59.

Did this one feel good? No. definitely not. But let’s forget that the Hoyas, initially favored to win by 18, were taken to overtime by Coppin St. Winning > losing and we’ve seen Hoyas teams in recent (and not so recent memory) absolutely drop that type of game.

So, how did our remade Hoyas fare?

Primo Spears - B

28 PTS, 10-19 (52%), 1-2 3PT (50%), 7-9 FT, 6 REB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 5 TO

Primo was good, particularly late. He’s a big reason the Hoyas looked like they were going to pull this one out before CSU tied it up at the buzzer. He made a couple of really tough layups that gave Georgetown a cushion. You will absolutely take 52% from the floor and 50% from three from him. Like all of the other starters he played an absolute boatload of minutes - 43 total. He finished +11 and a solid 1.12 points per possession. The assist to turnover ratio needs to improve. And thats the primary reason he doesnt grade out better despite throwing up an (almost) 30 spot. 4 assists is too few for your starting PG playing nearly the entire game and 5 turnovers is too many.

HOMEWORK: More assists, less turnovers.

Bryson Mozone - B-

20 PTS, 7-14 (50%), 1-6 3PT (16%), 5-5 FT, 7 REB, 2 TO

Good, not great, in his Hoya debut. He finished +12 and with the second highest points per possession on the team 1.250. I liked what he brought defensively and on the glass. He has to shoot better than 1-6 from three particularly if he is going to be plugging in for Heath in the starting lineup. Looks like he is stepping into a leadership role on this team and that seems like a good thing.

HOMEWORK: Shoot better from three.

Brandon Murray - B-

18 PTS, 7-21 (33%), 3-5 3PT (60%), 1-6 FT, 6 REB, 8 AST, 4 STL, 5 TO

Tough night to grade for him. If you had him with a much higher or much lower grade, I wouldn’t necessarily disagree. He did a lot well and a lot that needs to improve. He also played basically the entire game (and held up fairly well I’d say) but that feels largely unsustainable and probably contributed to some of his not-so-great plays. I think you sort of saw evidence of that on the final two free throws that allowed CSU to tie it up. 33% from the field is not quite what you want to see but the 3-5 from three is excellent. He looked really good on those threes and all but a couple came within nice flow of the offense. He also was exhibit A in the individual talent upgrade on the defensive end. The scheme is another thing (see below). He finished a game-high +13 but only .900 points per possession. Shooting a better percentage and making free throws (particularly those two at the end) would go a long way to correcting that.

HOMEWORK: Less ISO ball and fewer mid range jumpers to hopefully shoot more efficiently.

Akok Akok - A

18 PTS, 7-9 (77%), 2-4 3PT (50%), 2-2 FT, 12 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 5 BLK, 1 TO

KenPom has Akok as the MVP of the game and I agree. I thought he was great. On both ends. The shooting splits are fantastic. He went for a double-double. Had five blocks!!! And only one turnover. He had the highest points per possession (by a lot) at 1.800. He really played a near perfect game in my view. He can maybe increase his assist numbers but that’s not really his role He was absolutely dominant. I’ll just add that if he plays like this consistently (on both ends) and shoots like that, he starts to look like basically every 4th guy that was just taken in the NBA draft.

HOMEWORK: Rest, recover, repeat.

Qudus Wahab - C-

11 PTS, 2-5 (40%), 7-7 FT, 10 REB, 2 TO

All other starters played 40+ minutes. Qudus played 15. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell. I suppose you could make the case that if Q was able to stay on the floor this game really isn’t close. I am not sure that’s entirely true, but it’s definitely possible. Despite limited minutes, he finishes with a double-double and 1.222 points per possession. He was -3 however, and that is REALLY bad. I don’t particularly think he got a bad whistle either but would need to go back and look. Overall, just not good enough.

HOMEWORK: Stay on the floor. No offensive fouls in the next game.

Wayne Bristol Jr. - D+

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

First off the bench? That’s interesting. Replacing Q in foul trouble? That’s even more interesting. We’ll have to wait to see if that’s a thing going forward or just a feature of Brad Ezewiro being unavailable tonight due to wisdom teeth removal (hang in there Brad! Hope you got some ice cream!). He played 29 minutes was -1 and .667 points per possession. WAY too many turnovers. And he fouled out. Not a great showing but hopefully can improve as he gets more comfortable.

HOMEWORK: Find a role in the offense and limit to 1 turnover or less.

Jordan Riley - INC

1 REB, 1 BLK, 1 TO

Came on in OT after Bristol fouled out. I am not going to question the rotation decisions yet, but I do think we could have seen more of Jordan earlier in this one. Particularly if you want to press the whole game, seems like Jordan could have a role. He had a massive block that resulted in a CSU player losing his actual mind and throwing the ball at Riley. Bryson had to restrain Riley who I would not want to piss off in any capacity.

HOMEWORK: Don’t get frustrated! Make the most of your minutes an earn more.

Ryan Mutombo - INC


Played two minutes, had one rebound. I think if Brad is available that is probably zero.

HOMEWORK: Tell your Pops we’re sending him (and your whole family) good thoughts.

Denver Anglin - INC

1 Charge Taken

Four minutes played, -2 with one charge taken. Keeping the legacy of the #4 alive. Would like to see him get some more run particularly to help their shooting while Heath is out.

HOMEWORK: None…yet.

Offense - D-

By far, my biggest concern is how the offense looked. Or, more directly, how the offense ran. Ewing has made it clear that they upgraded the talent on the floor and I think that was evident. The Hoyas looked better at each individual position. So why then, do we find ourselves being taken to OT by a Coppin St. team on a SEGABABA? Well, for one thing, there did not appear to be much of a coherent scheme. As Casual contributor, Nationwide Nolan put it, they looked to be running a lot of actions, but not much offense. I agree. The lack of an overarching scheme means you have a lot of guys just calling for ball screens or trying to go one-on-one. I think Ewing wants to play from the inside out through a back-to-basket big. I have questions about that as a scheme but, your back-to-basket big getting in foul trouble definitely hinders your ability to execute that. Even when Q was on the floor, that scheme was way to easy to defend by throwing a double at him on the catch and the Hoyas’ lack of a consistent counter. Through one game, the offense looks remarkably similar to last years. Thats bad. The Hoyas only took 18 threes last night. For all the talk of a modern, NBA-style offense. That ain’t it. Last year, the Hoyas ranked 220th in percentage of three point attempts per total field goal attempts. Somewhat understandable given they didnt really have good shooters. You do this year, at least you have better shooters. Far too often, the Hoyas worked the clock to get a tough pull up two off a last-ditch screen or ISO. And despite playing hair-on-fire-fast, their average possession length was 16.9 seconds (exactly the same as last year). Bottom line, the offense took too long to get not great shots.

HOMEWORK: Fix it! Identify what you want to get on the offensive end and go execute it.

Defense - D+

I am grading generously here. The defense was bad. BUT, I do think we saw some changes. And changes are good. Coppin St. ranked 10th in the country in three point attempts last year and 343rd in three point percentage. Juan Dixon wants to take a lot of threes and, at least last year, CSU does not make a lot of them. In their first game of the season, CSU shot 13% from three on 22 attempts. Georgetown, notorious for giving up a lot of threes (and allowing teams to shoot a high percentage) allowed CSU to jack up 38 threes (with an additional five minutes) and shoot 34%. The “everyone seems to get hot against the Hoyas problem” continues but I think there were some small scheme things that looked better (e.g., they did not overhelp as much and did a better job just staying in front of guys). I appreciate the change in game plan to press from the opening tip. Unfortunately, the press was just bad. It generated maybe 2 turnovers by my count? Against a CSU-level opponent that’s a problem. And they allowed CSU to get a number of easy shots in transition or immediately upon breaking the press. I applaud the change in, and overall presence of, scheme but the execution was bad. It’s clear that they have better individual defenders. I am hoping the Coach Knick-led defense can find it’s footing.

HOMEWORK: Limit opponents three point attempts. Press less.

Next Up

Your Hoyas will take on the illustrious Phoenix (Phoenixes? Phoenoxes? Phoeni??) of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Green Bay comes into this one ranked 355 on KenPom after an opening night loss to Indiana St. 80 - 53.

My prediction - Hoyas figure a few things out and Q stays on the floor. 85 - 70 Final that leaves us more optimistic but largely unsure about how to feel.