Big East Key Questions: DePaul & Georgetown

Posted by Justin Kundrat on October 28th, 2019

DePaul: Will newcomers vault DePaul into a long overdue rebound?

Dave Leitao Wonders What’s Ahead for DePaul (USA Today Images)

Breaking news: DePaul is 77th in KenPom‘s preseason rankings, which, if the Blue Demons can maintain, would equate to the team’s best finish since 2007. In fact, last season was the school’s first year above .500 in over a decade and it was capped on a high note — as the runner-up team in the CBI tournament. So it would seem that DePaul’s upward trajectory would be poised to continue, if not for the fact that 60 percent of its scoring output has departed Chicago. The remaining roster is full of question marks, which is both concerning and exciting. The only known commodities are the return of Devin Gage, an inconsistent but explosive guard, and a steadying pair of 6’9″ inside forces in Paul Reed and Jaylen Butz — both of whom spearheaded the Blue Demons’ best strength last season: rebounding. The list of unknowns is long — too long to promote any promise of a successful season, but simultaneously long enough to make things interesting. Head coach Dave Leitao added Romeo Weems, a four-star forward who signed with DePaul over Michigan and Michigan State, and inked a transfer in Charlie Moore, a sparingly used guard at Kansas. These two will join Jalen Coleman-Lands, who averaged 10 PPG in five games prior to a season-ending injury, in rounding out a high upside but low floor scoring attack. On paper, if high school rankings and former schools count for anything, this team has a good degree of potential, maybe even enough to draw out some of its students. But it’s hard to put stock into potential alone, particularly as it relates to a long-suffering program such as this one.

Georgetown: Will there finally be enough defense to support the offense?

Patrick Ewing Needs to Prioritize His Defense (USA Today Images)

There’s no getting around it — for the last two seasons, Georgetown has finished second to last in the Big East in defensive efficiency. Entering his third season as head coach, Patrick Ewing is pushing the tempo at a moment’s notice, which has the effect of both easy baskets and countless turnovers. Behind a pair of electric freshman guards in James Akinjo and Mac McClung, the fun style led to numerous games where the Hoyas’ defense thwarted its offense. Ewing trotted out a starting lineup with three freshmen, so the natural fallback excuse is that its subpar defense was experience-driven, which brings us back to our key question: Will another year of experience result in a more consistent defense? Between versatile 6’7″ wings Josh LeBlanc and JaMorko Pickett and some strong-armed guards, Ewing has the personnel in place. His team’s uncertainty lies in the paint. Offensive-minded Jessie Govan (+0.07 PPP offense; -0.07 PPP defense, per HoopLens) graduated, only to be replaced by another defensively deficient center in NC State transfer Omer Yurtseven (+0.09 PPP offense; -0.09 PPP defense). Yurtseven has a slightly better shot-blocking and rebounding profile than his predecessor, but it’s unclear whether he can function as a ball-stopping center on defense. He is joined by a trio of 6’10” and 6’11” three-star freshmen, whose impact will be important but is still unknown. It wouldn’t take a great defense to put Georgetown into the NCAA Tournament picture this season, but a decent one is critical.

Justin Kundrat (168 Posts)

Villanova grad, patiently waiting another 10 years for season tickets. Follow Justin on twitter @JustinKundrat or email him at justin.kundrat@gmail.com


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