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SECRET SCRIMMAGE: Hoyas’ Jayden Epps Reportedly Dropped 46 Points

John Fanta reports that the Georgetown Hoyas scrimmaged Wake Forest

Rutgers v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

According to reports, your Georgetown Hoyas hosted the Wake Forest Demon Deacons for a secret scrimmage in Washington DC on Saturday. One report, from BIG EAST insider John Fanta, conveys that the former-Illinois guard, Jayden Epps, scored 46 points in the win over Wake Forest, 81 to 77.

Hoyas fans did not get a look at Epps this summer as the 6’2” guard did not play in the Kenner League. Accordingly, news of Epps scoring in the 40s, shooting 15-24 from the field and 6-11 from three, is met with unbridled optimism by everyone outside of Champaign, Illinois.

Former Illinois Basketball Guard Explodes in Secret Scrimmage | ARMCHAIRILLINI

Epps was a bright spot in last year’s team, however unfortunately transferred after a rocky end to the season. Jayden transferred to the Georgetown Hoyas to play for Ed Cooley, a coach he had previously committed to before switching to Illinois. Georgetown is looking to revive itself after a horrid last few years, and Epps has taken the reigns as the main scorer. Jayden Epps should thrive in the Big East. The league has a lot more guard freedom especially for smaller guards like Epps and is a far less defensively demanding league than the Big Ten [NB: Laughing out loud!]

Epps bio at GUHoyas conveys:

  • Epps averaged 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 41.4% from the field and 30.1% from three this past season for the Fighting Illini, appearing in 31 games and starting in 11.
  • He scored in double-figures 20 times throughout the season, posting a season-high 21 points against Monmouth (Nov. 11) on 8-12 from the field and 5-9 from deep.
  • Epps was recruited to Illinois ranked as the nation’s No. 51 prospect and received offers from Kansas, NC State, UConn, and Providence among other schools.
  • In high school, the guard played his senior season at Combine Academy in Lincolnton, North Carolina after previously attending King’s Fork High School in Suffolk. Epps was named 2020 Class 4 Player of the Year by the Virginia High School League and All-Tidewater Player of the Year.

Not to pour cold water on the situation, but scoring 46 points of 81 and shooting 24 times is probably partially emblematic of a roster with only 9 expected scholarship players suiting up. Carrying the scoring load is likely going to be a nightly concern this year, until proven otherwise.

Still, it’s pretty clear Epps has a big green light from Ed Cooley. Last year, only Primo Spears had over 21 field goal attempts (once) with 31 FGA at Xavier for 37 points (15-31 FG, 3-11 3PT). Cooley had David Duke shoot 21 times in 2021, and Alpha Diallo had 18 or 19 attempts a couple times in 2020-21, but a quick review of Providence teams showed a lot more sharing the sugar than the reports for this scrimmage appear to indicate.

Moreover, there are Reddit reports that Wake may not have been at full strength and missing three potential starters in Damari Monsanto, Jao Ituka, and Efton Reid. It sounds like Wake Forest might be starting this season a bit slow.

Still, there is plenty of reason for optimism. It sounds like Cooley has found an offensive leader in Epps.

Here is a refresher of some links and news since Epps committed to the Georgetown Hoyas:

Illinois transfer Jayden Epps commits to Georgetown, Ed Cooley | ON3

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound combo guard averaged 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists this season for the Illini, who finished fifth in the Big Ten, with an overall record of 20-13...

“I chose Georgetown because this is a great historic university that I would be proud to wear on my chest,” he said. “Coach Cooley is the coach I feel I belong with and he’s my type of dude. He builds a great culture wherever goes and I want to be apart of it!” Epps was a one-time Providence commit, pledging to Ed Cooley in high school before ultimately landing in Champaign. Cooley was the head coach at Providence for over a decade before accepting the open head coaching position at Georgetown this offseason after the Hoyas parted ways with Patrick Ewing.

Newcomer ‘nalysis: Jayden Epps | HOUSE-ENTERPRISE

Epps is one of the best slashers I’ve seen. Aside from the NBA player he had on the wing next to him (Terrence Shannon), I don’t know if there were many better guards at getting to the bucket. Epps would get to the lane with ease at times, and finish strong.

He had so many different moves, and if he wasn’t finishing, he was drawing a foul. Especially for a freshman, this skill is particularly impressive.

I was very impressed with his ability to get downhill, especially so early in his college career. He was fearless and showed that he can finish against some of the nation’s best shot-blockers. He’s quick, strong and crafty; I expect this skill to translate directly to the Big East.

Jayden Epps commits to Georgetown | The Champaign Room

Epps announced his decision last month to leave Illinois after one season.

“I am confident that this is the best decision for my future and personal growth,” Epps said at the time.

Epps averaged just under 10 points a game, 1.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists as a freshman last season. He struggled toward the back end of the campaign after suffering a concussion in practice.

Our favorite college basketball transfer portal fits of 2023 (so far) | 24/7 Sports

Ed Cooley desperately needed to make a splash to start his tenure off with the Hoyas and that’s exactly what he did when he signed former Illinois point guard Jayden Epps.

Epps now has one year of college experience under his belt and he gets to play closer to his hometown of Charlotte. Epps is already known as a bucket getter, averaging 9.5 points per game. He also scored in double figures on 20 different occasions last season.

Epps comes into Georgetown with some knowledge of Ed Cooley. Epps originally committed to Providence when Ed Cooley was the head coach. Now, his move reunites the two as Cooley looks to turn Georgetown around.

Good Morning, Illini Nation: Jayden Epps lands at Georgetown | The News-Gazette

Epps landing on the Hilltop wasn’t exactly a surprise. While North Carolina State also made a push for the 6-foot-2 guard, Epps has a history with new Georgetown coach Ed Cooley. The Norfolk, Va., native committed to Cooley when he was the coach at Providence in March 2021 before changing his mind and decommitting about two months later.

The tentative plan at the time of Epps’ commitment to Providence was that he would reclassify up and join the Friars for the 2021-22 season. That didn’t happen, of course, with Epps spending that year at Combine Academy (N.C.) and eventually landing in Champaign.

Transfer Jayden Epps could be a difference-maker for Georgetown | Fansided

The foundational elements of Epps’ offensive profile — just as a baseline — are valuable: pick-and-roll offense requires having guys who can make plays off the bounce. That’s why Epps was once again coveted by Kevin Keatts and NC State, one of the country’s high-volume pick-and-roll offenses, in the portal — before Georgetown won out.

There are times, though, when Epps flashes something beyond decent scoring output on average efficiency. He’ll bust out an isolation or pick-and-roll scoring move with his handle that makes you wonder: “There’s something special here, right?” ...

Cooley’s teams will find pick-and-roll action in a variety of contexts: Drag (transition), Horns (Twist and 77), Pistol and continuity ball-screen offense, among others.

Another way to get Epps going is by flowing him into screen-roll exchanges with “Zoom” (or “Chicago”) action: pindown screens into a dribble-handoff (DHO). This allows players to start off ball and then gather some steam and advantage before hitting the handoff screen.

2020 boys basketball All-Tidewater Player of Year Jayden Epps commits to Georgetown | The Virginian-Pilot

Former King’s Fork High standout guard Jayden Epps has committed to play basketball for Georgetown after a season with Illinois.

Epps, the 2020 All-Tidewater Player of the Year, announced via Twitter that he has committed to the Hoyas and new coach Ed Cooley, who came to Georgetown from Providence.

With Illinois, Epps — a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder — averaged 9.5 points, 1.8 points, 1.5 assists and 24.6 minutes in 31 games for a team that made the NCAA Tournament as a No. 9 seed, falling in the first round to Arkansas. He had two points in six minutes in that 73-63 defeat.

Here are some old highlights: