#56 Georgetown Men's Basketball Preview

Georgetown Hoyas

Overall Rank: #56
Conference Rank: #9 Big East
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2010-11: 21-11, 10-8
2010-11 postseason: NCAA
Coach: John Thompson (160-71 at Georgetown, 228-113 overall)

Georgetown has not had much success in March lately and that trend may continue this year. However, they do have the talent to make a run in the NIT if the NCAA Tournament proves elusive. The difference between the NIT and NCAA will lie quite heavily in the hands of sophomore point guard Markel Starks. Starks averaged a mere 9.7 minutes per game last season and now will be thrust into the starting role. He has the talent to attack the basket and be a fine passer, but he still has to prove that he can do it at this level. Developing a little more consistency with his outside shot would certainly help open up the offense as well.

Who’s Out:
Chris Wright is gone after averaging 5.3 assists per game and Vee Sanford transferred, leaving Starks as the only ball handler on the team. Wright was more than just a ball handler; he joined up with fellow departed guard Austin Freeman to form a dynamic backcourt. It was Freeman and Wright who made the offense go last season and they will be missed. Those two may not have always been the best shooters around, but they could score in bunches. Julian Vaughn is also gone after starting 31 games last season. The forward was never asked to do much scoring, but he quietly averaged 7.8 points and a team high 6.1 rebounds. Jerrelle Benimon was one of two key big men who came in off of the bench, but Coach John Thompson has plenty of other big men on the way to Georgetown.

Who’s In:
This is a very talented class, yet again, but it is very heavy on the big guys. Otto Porter is the star of the group heading into the 2011-2012 campaign. The 6-8, 200 pound forward has the toughness of a power forward and the skills of a guard. He can beat just about any opposing defender off the dribble…unless the opposing defender is 6-2, in which case he can simply back them down. Tyler Adams, Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins will battle it out with Porter for quality minutes off of the bench, or possibly even a starting job. A couple of the big guys will need to make an immediate impact, but Aaron Bowen and Jabril Trawick will have to provide depth or this team will be very, very thin in the backcourt. Bowen and Trawick are both big wings who will have to spend some time at both wing spots due to lack of other options. Neither will take the Big East by storm as freshmen, but they should be capable scorers and rebounders from the wing.

Who to Watch:
Small forward Hollis Thompson should be the star of this team. The 6-7 junior flirted with the NBA, but wisely returned to the Hoyas. A year ago he averaged 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds, but he is a great outside shooter and can shoot over most opposing defenders. Once he gets more aggressive attacking the basket, Thompson will be one of the most dynamic scorers in the conference. He is too good an athlete to just jack up three-pointers. With Freeman and Wright gone, Thompson will be asked to shoulder more of the scoring load and that should free him up to be a great scorer this year. Nate Lubick and Henry Sims are the traditional big guys. Lubick had a fine freshman campaign, averaging 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in about 20 minutes per game. It would be very beneficial if he could develop an offensive game in the paint that is more than putting back offensive rebounds. Otherwise, that job will fall to senior Henry Sims. The 6-10 center came to Georgetown with high expectations and has failed to live up to them. This is his chance. He has the skills to be a fine interior scorer and a great defender, but it has yet to all come together.

Final Projection:
Sims lacks the starting experience to really be the senior leader on this team, so that job falls to guard Jason Clark. Clark was right there with Freeman and Wright in production. Now that those two are gone, Clark will have to do a lot of scoring and be the leader of this team. He is a capable enough outside shooter and can attack the basket. The problem is Clark will have to spend some time at the point backing up Starks. There is nobody else who can do that, so it will have to be Clark. When he is on the ball, he may not be as effective of a scorer, but Georgetown does not have much of a choice. There are a lot of questions on this team, but Coach Thompson has a big team that can slow things down, run his offense and be physical. That is how Georgetown wins games and this group can do that. They might not win enough to get back to the NCAA Tournament after losing Freeman, Wright and Vaughn, but they should not drop entirely out of the picture either.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Markel Starks, Sophomore, Guard, 1.5 points per game
Jason Clark, Senior, Guard, 12.0 points per game
Hollis Thompson, Junior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Nate Lubick, Sophomore, Forward, 4.0 points per game
Henry Sims, Senior, Center, 3.6 points per game

Madness 2012 NBA Draft Rankings:
#94 Hollis Thompson

Madness 2011 Men's Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#42 Otto Porter
#67 Tyler Adams
#74 Jabril Trawick
#97 Mikael Hopkins

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