For the first time since John Thompson III’s inaugural season at Georgetown in 2004, it’s anybody’s guess as to who will have their name called when the starting line-ups are announced on Saturday afternoon against Savannah State at the Verizon Center.
Gone from the backcourt are Austin Freeman and Chris Wright who had been the face of Georgetown Basketball for the better part of the last four seasons. Freeman finished as the seventh all-time leading scorer in school history. Wright finished nineteenth. The final results were mixed as the Hoyas won a regular season Big East championship, played in two Big East Tournament Finals, and made three NCAA Tournaments. They only won one of their four NCAA Tournament games and finished on a three game losing streak.
But that’s all over.
It’s time for a new chapter of Georgetown Basketball and never was that more evident than by the fact that the 2011-2012 roster contains just three upperclassmen.
Thompson’s biggest hole to fill is at point guard. Chris Wright played about every meaningful possession the past three seasons and the team struggled mightily when he went down with a broken wrist at the end of last season. Sophomore Markel Starks will be given the first chance to take over.
Joining Starks in the backcourt will be senior Jason Clark. Over the past two seasons Clark has been part of a three guard line-up with Freeman and Wright. He will now be the focal point of the offense. Freshman Jabril Trawick and redshirt freshman Aaron Bowen should provide depth.
The frontcourt will be lead by junior Hollis Thompson and sophomore Nate Lubick, both of whom spent time as starters last year. Thompson is a forward that can play like a guard while Lubick does his damage from inside.
Freshmen Otto Porter, Tyler Adams, and Mikael Hopkins (DeMatha) could fight for starting spots as the season goes on. The only returning center with any experience is senior Henry Sims. He should get the first crack to replace Julian Vaughn.
Last season’s All-Met Player of the Year Greg Whittington (Oakland Mills) is a bit of a wildcard as he has frontcourt height, 6-foot-9, but backcourt weight, 210 lbs.
Best Case Scenario: Markel Starks is able to run the offense and the freshmen pick up the offense quicker than normal thanks to the China trip. The Hoyas are able to stay above .500 in Big East play and end up in the NCAA Tournament.
Worst Case Scenario: Inexperience dooms the Hoyas as they try to compete in the top conference in the country. The Big East isn’t a place for freshmen to cut their teeth.
Key Player: Guard Markel Starks. Starks is the only true point guard on the roster so as he goes, so goes the team. The Hoyas will need solid play out of Starks after limited minutes as a freshman.
Top Newcomer: Forward Otto Porter. A late blooming recruit, Porter seemingly came out of nowhere to end up ranked in the Top 30 on most recruiting lists. He seems tailor made for the high post in the Princeton offense.
Breakout Player: Forward Hollis Thompson. After spending most of his first two seasons on the bench and out of position, Thompson should get a chance to fill Austin Freeman’s shoes as a small forward. It’s entirely possible that he could double his scoring output from 8 points per game to 16.
Did You Know? When Georgetown plays Kansas in the Maui Invitational, it will be just their second ever meeting with the Jayhawks. The Hoyas won the only other meeting in the 1987 Sweet 16.
Nov 21 vs Kansas – This is the Hoyas opening game in a loaded Maui Invitational. A win gives them a big resume boost and avoids a game with Division 2 host-school Chaminade, an opponent who doesn’t count towards the RPI.
Dec 22 vs Memphis – Georgetown stole a win on the road in Memphis last season. Besides being Georgetown’s biggest home non-conference game it’s their last chance to impress the selection committee before the Big East schedule gets underway.
Feb 8 at Syracuse – As weird as it might sound, this could be the last ever meeting between bitter rivals thanks to conference realignment. It would also be a great opportunity to pick up a win against a Top Ten team on the road.