Big East Summer Capsules: Georgetown HoyasPosted by mlemaire on August 9th, 2012
While most relish the onset of Summer, college basketball junkies do not. Most of the news surrounding the sport is recruiting rumors and commitments or injuries and transfer news. In order to help keep folks up-to-date on what their teams are doing during the summer, we put together these summer capsules for each team in the conference. Next up is Georgetown.
1. The Summer of Otto.
One of the primary reasons Georgetown exceeded expectations last season was the surprisingly mature play of freshman forward Otto Porter, who came into the program from a tiny high school in Missouri with zero experience on the AAU circuit and promptly averaged 9.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in just a shade under 30 minutes. He was one of the more talented role players in the entire country but now, thanks to the departures of Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, and Henry Sims, he is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder and will be counted on heavily on both ends of the floor as the Hoyas look to rebuild around a young but talented core. At 6-foot-9 and 215 pounds, Porter is more than physically and athletically capable of handling his new role as the offensive focal point; the question will be how he handles the increased attention from opposing defenses. He is not a guy who is going to light you up with his shooting, so he will need to rely on his quickness and strength to create open looks. John Thompson III has a very young and inexperienced team, and most experts do not expect much from the Hoyas this season, but Porter made an impression when no one expected much from him, so now maybe he can help his team do the same.
2. Who is going to step up alongside Porter?
The list of breakthrough candidates for the Hoyas is really quite long. The two most likely candidates to step up are junior point guard Markel Starks and sophomore forward Greg Whittington. Starks is going to be the team’s primary ball-handler and is a threat from behind the arc. Whittington can also shoot it from deep some and he has the size and athleticism to be a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. But they aren’t the only two to watch. Sophomore center Mikael Hopkins was a highly regarded recruit coming out of high school who looked lost as a freshman but has the talent to make an impact. Nate Lubick is the team’s elder statesman and should increase his production as he gets more playing time, and sophomore Jabril Trawick showed flashes of talent in limited minutes last season. Georgetown has been able to achieve sustainable success because it seems like every year there is always one holdover from the team the year before who makes the jump and becomes and All-Big East caliber player. There is no doubt that Porter has the look of that player this season, but he is only going to be a sophomore, so if Thompson wants to ensure his team’s return to the NCAA Tournament, he should hope that one part of his supporting cast steps into a leading role this season.
3. Who is ready for the D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera show?
Speaking of step-up candidates, the Hoyas’ best incoming recruit, Smith-Rivera, might be the best candidate of them all. He is an Oak Hill Academy product so while there will be a step up in the level of competition, it shouldn’t be anything he will be unprepared for. And as a 6-foot-3 and 210-pound combo guard with good quickness, he is going to be a handful for opposing guards to keep out of the paint. To make matters more complicated for opposing defenders, Smith-Rivera is an excellent catch-and-shoot three-point shooter who absolutely cannot be left alone outside of the arc. That all-around ability is why most scouts consider Smith-Rivera one of the elite scorers in his class, which is pretty much exactly what Georgetown needs considering the bulk of last year’s scoring is gone. Make no mistake about it, Smith-Rivera is going to play a lot as a freshman, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he assumes one of the starting guard spots as the season progresses. Hoyas’ fans should be really excited to watch this kid play and they should also be excited about what he will bring to the team. The season is a long way away, but on paper, the Hoyas look like a bubble team. Whether they can get back to the NCAA Tournament will depend heavily on how quickly Smith-Rivera gets acclimated and starts lighting up opposing defenses.