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2017-18 Georgetown Hoyas Season Preview

A Hoya legend returned to fill the coaching vacancy. It will be no small task to restore order on The Hilltop.

Georgetown Introduce Patrick Ewing Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

GEORGETOWN HOYAS SEASON PREVIEW

Coach

Patrick Ewing (0-0, first year)

They finally did it. After years of the fanbase not being particularly pleased with the coaching of John Thompson III, the Hoya braintrust decided to go in a newer, taller direction.

There have been no fewer than a million pieces about Ewing’s ties to Georgetown. You know the story by now. Most famous player on best team in school history returns home to try and restore team to glory. It’s like something out of a movie, or something out of Jamaica, Queens, two years ago.

All kidding aside, it’s pretty neat that this is the direction Georgetown chose. Obviously, Ewing’s ties to the program and John Thompson Jr., who was always going to be around regardless of what the Hoyas did with his son, helped, but Ewing’s no slouch. He’s been an NBA assistant pretty much ever since retiring in 2002, and has been up for numerous NBA head coaching jobs. You can pontificate all you want about the differences between the NBA and collegiate games, of which there are several, but that coaching experience is the key difference between Ewing and Mullin and may very well be the reason why Georgetown’s rebuild isn’t quite as tough as everyone is anticipating.

Ewing has also already had his share of recruiting successes, as the Hoyas currently have the third-best class of 2018 in the Big East behind Villanova and Providence, via 247Sports.


2016-17 Season At A Glance

14-18; 5-13 Big East; 9th in standings; 69th on KenPom

Departures from 2016

Player Departure Reason 2016 Stats
Rodney Pryor Graduation 18.0 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.3 APG, .480 FG%
L.J. Peak NBA Draft 16.3 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, .481 FG%
Akoy Agau Transfer to SMU 4.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 0.9 BPG, .506 FG%
Bradley Hayes Graduation 4.2 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 0.8 BPG, .534 FG%
Tre Campbell Released from Program 3.5 PPG, 1.3 APG, 1.2 RPG, .387 FG%
Reggie Cameron Graduation 1.7 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, .391 FG%

Returnees for 2017

Player Year 2016 Stats
Jonathan Mulmore Sr. 3.6 PPG, 1.9 APG, 1.4 RPG, .357 FG%
Kaleb Johnson Jr. 2.3 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.4 APG, .442 FG%
Jagan Mosely So. 4.2 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.2 RPG, .371 FG%
Trey Mourning Sr. 0.8 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.1 BPG, .500 FG%
Marcus Derrickson Jr. 8.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.4 APG, .432 FG%
Jessie Govan Jr. 10.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 BPG, .512 FG%

Newcomers for 2017

Player 247Sports Composite Rankings
Jahvon Blair 3-star, 234th Ovr, 51st Pos, 2nd St (Ontario)
JaMarko Pickett 4-star, 75th Ovr, 17th Pos, 4th St (Virginia)
Antwan Walker 3-star, 222nd Ovr, 47th Pos, 14th St (Virginia)
Chris Sodom 3-star, 264th Ovr, 27th Pos, 21st St (Texas)
Trey Dickerson Graduate Transfer from South Dakota

What Happened Last Year

Well, a lot. There were transfers, decommits and embarrassing defeats. A six-game win streak from November 27-December 22 was about the only showing of optimism all season for the Georgetown in 2016. Well, and the random win over eventual Final Four rep Oregon.

The inconsistencies of the Hoyas, who lost the last six games of the season, led to the end of John Thompson III’s tenure in the program. JT3’s last season was his worst, as the Hoyas finished 14-18 and 5-13 in Big East play. It was the worst Big East finish for Georgetown since, coincidentally, the season before JT3 first stepped on campus. Like Craig Esherick before him, Thompson could not withstand that type of year.

Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak were the most prodigious players on the roster on offense. Pryor and Peak combined to score 1,098 of the 2,369 points the Hoyas racked up a year ago. Pryor was the leader with 577, as the Robert Morris transfer bursted on the scene in a big way in his only season as a Hoya.

Georgetown was relatively average offensively, especially so from outside. The problem, mainly, was the Hoyas couldn’t take care of the ball. Their 20.1 percent TO% mark was 282nd in the country. They had a TO% of 20.2 percent in conference play, which was only better than DePaul’s mark of 20.5 percent.

Georgetown was not particularly bad on defense a season ago. They finished in the Top 100 in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, eFG% allowed, 2-point and 3-point FG% allowed. The problem was they couldn’t force turnovers, got killed on the defensive glass and couldn’t limit FT opportunities for the opposing team.

To put it simply... the Hoyas need a refresh and recharge. That’s what they’re getting in 2017.


Key Nonconference Matchups

Well, uh, this is awkward.

Georgetown was going to be in the PK80. They aren’t now. They play Syracuse, who will have a down year.

Other than that? The Hoyas’ nonconference schedule features EIGHT sub-300 KenPom teams. What that means is that the Hoyas play eight of the 51 worst teams in college basketball, including four of the bottom six.

It’s hard to imagine Georgetown losing many nonconference games, so that’s nice. However, this schedule does a really poor job preparing them for Big East play.

SB Nation’s Russell Steinberg wrote last month about just how bad the schedule is.

So, yeah. The nonconference schedule is horrendous. But here’s a picture of Georgetown Jack riding a skateboard for your troubles.

NCAA Basketball: Bryant at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Reasons for Optimism

Another step forward for Govan

Jessie Govan’s development from freshman to sophomore may’ve gone unnoticed in an otherwise saddening season. Govan increased his 2-point field goal percentage to 53 percent from just 47.5 percent as a freshman. His turnover rate was cut down too and was still one of the better rebounders in the conference. Another step forward for the big man could be in play. Especially since, well, you know: He’s working with Patrick Ewing this season.

Expectations aren’t as heightened as before

Really, Georgetown is playing this season with a very low ceiling above them. The team’s expectations are lower than they’ve been in years now with a first-year head coach and a roster that’s seeing a lot of losses from last season. If they hit around .500, that would be a victory in some ways for Patrick Ewing and his team. That, alone, may be reason for optimism: There’s nowhere to go but up, and anything above the expectations set for them would be looked at positively.

New coach, new offense

We’re not quite sure what offense will be installed for the Hoyas, but it likely won’t be the Princeton offense this time around. Up until last year, Georgetown played notoriously slowly. Will the new coaching staff inject a more high-tempo offense? Time will tell. But we’ll certainly be seeing new looks this year. A new system might be an effective one, which could lead to heightened optimism by season’s end if it looks good enough.


Reasons for Pessimism

Roster overturn

As we mentioned before, the 2017 Hoyas are without their top two scorers. But it doesn’t get much better when you look at all the departures. 62.8 percent of the points from last season are now no longer on the team. That’s a dramatic shift for any team. Especially this one. The Hoyas may find themselves overmatched at times even with some of the talent they have on the roster. That might lead to a lack of success in Big East play. Because... well, let’s face it: Georgetown SHOULD be able to beat most, if not all of their nonconference opponents.

Growing pains for Ewing

We’ve seen quite a few first-year head coaches take on the Big East since reformation. Brandon Miller, Chris Holtmann, Dave Leitao, Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Mullin have all had to go through the woodwork. The combined record of their teams in each of their first years? 67-93 with a 24-66 record in conference.

The only exception to that was Chris Holtmann, who of course went 23-11 and 12-6 in Big East play. The others averaged 11 wins and only three against Big East opponents. Even with Holtmann’s outlier, it’s only 13.4 wins and 4.8 against conference opponents.

In essence... there’s probably going to be growing pains. The system is working against Patrick Ewing. The Big East is and will be an absolute grinder again. If you’re thinking things will go well? Well... think again.

Lack of returning production

So, we mentioned how the Hoyas don’t have much coming back... what’s left is somewhat unproven. You have a lot of newcomers (four freshmen and a JUCO transfer in Trey Dickerson), sans Jessie Govan, Marcus Derrickson and Kaleb Johnson, who haven’t gotten a lot of burn. You also have players like Jonathan Mulmore, Jagan Mosely and others of that ilk who got playing time last year but did not produce at a high level. When you have a decent chunk of unproven commodities, you’ve got a bit of a problem on your hands. It will be tough sledding for Ewing in his first year to try and get the most out of some unknown talent.


Best Case Scenario

Robert: The Hoyas breeze through their nonconference schedule and enter Big East play at 11-0. From there... it gets tough. Win three or four games in Big East play for a 14 or 15 win season? It’s hard to imagine the team being .500 or above this season, as Pryor and Peak provide significant losses. As odd as it sounds, though, Georgetown replicating last year’s 14 win season would be ideal. Also included in the best case scenario? Govan lives up to his potential and plays his way onto the All-Big East First Team.

Worst Case Scenario

Robert: Losing more than two nonconference games and then winning just two Big East games an hovering around the 10 or 11 win mark. It’s hard to imagine things being much worse than that.

Prediction

Robert: 14-15 (5-13 in Big East play)

Chris: 14-15 (4-13 in Big East play)