The last time we saw Georgetown, they were getting embarrassed by the 14th-seeded Ohio Bobcats in the middle of an epic first round of the NCAA Tournament. While the Hoyas shot over 50% from the field and hit the glass, they were unable to control Ohio’s backcourt as the Hoyas fell by 14 in a stunning upset. With Greg Monroe headed to the NBA, the 2010-11 Hoya team will have quite a different feel than the previous incarnations of the program under John Thompson III. Without a go-to post-player, senior backcourt mates Austin Freeman and Chris Wright will not only be the team leaders, they will be the go-to guys offensively.

Freeman grew into that role last season, despite a brief interruption in the middle of the season when he was diagnosed with diabetes. But he showed his ability to take over games and carry his team when necessary. Against Connecticut in early January, just a couple days after the Hoyas second loss of the season, Freeman broke out for a 28-point second half to bring Georgetown back from a 15-point first-half deficit and an important win. Later in the season it was a 24-point second half to bring the visiting Hoyas back against Louisville and stop a two-game losing streak in its tracks. By now Hoya fans should expect Freeman to be there for them whenever times get tough, but as a senior he’ll have to do those things, even when the opposition is keying on him.

Wright has shown flashes of brilliance in his college career, but hasn’t been consistent, capable of following up a four-point performance in an early-season upset loss to Old Dominion with a 34-point outburst in the next game against Harvard. Wright will have to develop into a guy who can be relied upon every night for the Hoyas to live up to their potential. If Thompson’s coaching style from last season is to be repeated, Wright will again get plenty of playing time: he played under 34 minutes just eight times in 09-10, and even then just once in the last 16 games.

The only other senior expected to earn playing time for the Hoyas is 6-10 big man Julian Vaughn, a raw offensive player who contributes by clogging the lane defensively, blocking some shots and grabbing some boards. He was an improved player last season, and another small leap forward, possibly including a successful post move here and there, would be a very welcome addition.

Junior guard Jason Clark will likely join the three seniors in the starting lineup as a third guard. Clark is a good athletic defender with long arms and the ability to knock down an open jumper when needed.

The fifth member of the starting lineup is still to be determined, but sophomore forward Hollis Thompson may be the guy. The 6-6 Thompson is not particularly big, but is a good athlete that is more suited to the wing position than playing inside. If JTIII is more interested in a post-player to pair along with Vaughn, perhaps 6-10 junior center Henry Sims will get a look. However, Sims is awfully similar to Vaughn in that neither is a particularly grave offensive threat.  The third possibility is incoming freshman Nate Lubick, who is a versatile and athletic forward. Lubick will fit in well in the Georgetown offense, and even if he doesn’t wind up starting immediately, should get plenty of time in his first year in D.C.

While Thompson didn’t go very deep on his bench last season, both Jerrelle Benimon and Vee Sanford got spot duty as freshmen, and should compete for minutes in their second seasons. Benimon is a hard-working rebounder and defender in the front court, while Sanford is a quick little scorer in the backcourt. Pressing those two for minutes will also be a trio of freshmen in addition to Lubick: point guard Markel Starks (a quick point guard that can light it up – potentially the point guard of the future, but his minutes as a freshman may be limited), wing Aaron Bowen (an athletic, undersized wing who may need to grow into some minutes) and center Moses Abraham (another offensively raw post-player for Thompson to work with – he can contribute the same type of defensive intensity and rebounding that Vaughn and Sims can already provide).

7/21/2010 06:35:09 am

The Hoyas can and probably should go farther in the tournament this upcoming year than they did last year. The guard play is the key to the team and they will be the unquestioned leaders of the team. At times last year it oscillated between the guards and Monroe and they all would look and wait for the other to take over sometimes. Now the hierarchy is clear and the team is much deeper.

7/21/2010 06:58:30 am

If by going farther in the tournament, you mean possibly getting out of the first round, I'd buy that they have a decent chance of that. With Freeman and Wright as the team leaders and offensive threats and the frontcourt doing the dirty work, they certainly have their roles set up, but I still think they'll need somebody up front to step up as a consistent scorer in order to balance their offense.

7/21/2010 10:10:50 am

For sure, all looking well and developing. The Kenner summer league provides us with full vision of what is to come this season and I think it's gonna be very special.



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