There’s very little to say about Georgetown’s 86-45 win over UNC-Greensboro. The Hoyas jumped on the Spartans early, had them dealt with and wilting before the midway point of the first half. So, with that in mind, here are three quick things worth taking forward to Maui next week.
Get used to the freshmen storyline. ESPN is going to be all over this as a theme, and they rightfully should be. Otto Porter (five points, four rebounds, two steals), Greg Whittington (three points, six rebounds, two assists), Mikael Hopkins (six points, six rebounds), and Jabril Trawick (six points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals) have helped turn the Hoyas into something they haven’t been in a long time: crazy athletic to the point where its much more difficult to predict what an average possession is going to look like and much harder to get past them defensively, particularly when they play hard and correctly. That’s not to say there isn’t a ton of growth left to do. Jeez, it’s barely started, and that’s with a head start from the China trip. Keep in mind, as a team the Hoyas shot only 38 percent in the first half against UNCG. But the potential itself may be why Georgetown earned 10 votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll this week.
“We’re going to have a lot of different combinations,” Hoyas head coach John Thompson III said. “It’s not like we’re going to have a set core, necessarily. A lot of that is because of our versatility across the board so different people are going to play different positions in different groups. We have to get precise regardless of who is in the game.”
On a roster overflowing with guys that are 6-foot-8, Hollis Thompson all of a sudden looks like a pro (that is, assuming the NBA ever returns). He’s far more defined and muscular than any of his teammates, and on the court he’s carrying himself with far more poise than he’s had previously. He’s capable of more nights when he hits five 3-pointers like he did against UNCG. Especially with his length, there’s never an outside shot that doesn’t look good to Thompson, and his length and understanding on defense is also crucial. I’m curious to see if he can show up in Maui and take over.
Markel Starks is still a work in progress confidence-wise. For the second straight game, Starks picked up two quick fouls, and it wasn’t until the second half until he found his outside shot – one that will fall when he believes in it. With the Hoyas already up by 25, he added 11 points in the second half.
“He’s the type of guy that you’ve just got to stay in his head,” Hoyas guard Jason Clark said. “He needs confidence, and he needs people to tell him that – we have to stress with him to shoot the ball. He didn’t want to shoot the ball a lot. In China that was something that I was always in his head about, wide open shots and him not shooting them. But I think he’s getting better as a player and is going to be a great point guard.”
There was one moment that stood out for Starks during the second half, when he dribbled across the timeline, examined the defense for only a moment before driving to the right elbow, turning the corner and finishing with a high-arcing layup. While that may not seem like much, the swagger to take a man off the dribble and go – without a single progression pass – is something that even Chris Wright never perfectly mastered during his time, and it’s a play that hardly ever happens in Coach Thompson’s offense. Starks, similar to his freshman teammates, has a chance to change that equation.
We’ll see if they do in Hawaii.