Georgetown's opener vs. Florida has all the elements

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Sports,College,Craig Stouffer

Cool weather expected aboard aircraft carrier

Georgetown's players will wear special camouflage uniforms against Florida in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic on board the USS Bataan. They also have received waivers to wear long-sleeve undershirts and long compression pants, if necessary, with temperatures expected to drop below 60 degrees at Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Fla., by the time they tip off Friday.

But Hoyas coach John Thompson III hasn't moved any practices to the playground in anticipation of the unique conditions expected in the season opener.

"It's outdoors. It could be chilly if not cold," Thompson said. "But they're kids. They're young. They're used to it. ... The opportunity to play in front of our sailors, the privilege to go down there and participate in this game is worth whatever difficulties that Mother Nature presents."

Up next
Georgetown vs. No. 10 Florida
Navy-Marine Corps Classic
When » Friday, 9 p.m.
Where » USS Bataan,
Naval Station Mayport,
Jacksonville, Fla.
TV » NBC Sports Network

Thompson is more worried about getting off to a strong start again with a roster even younger and more inexperienced than the group that begin last season by winning 13 of its first 14 games.

Georgetown has 11 freshmen and sophomores on the roster and no seniors. Last year a rookie quartet, led by forward Otto Porter (9.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg) -- an honorable mention preseason All-American this year -- formed the entirety of the Hoyas' bench for most of the season. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Stephen Domingo and Bradley Hayes may not make that kind of impact right away, but they will be involved.

"I think it's going even faster than I personally thought it would," junior forward Nate Lubick said. "We've got young guys who are eager to learn. They're learning fast, faster than years past."

Lubick, Porter and sophomores Mikael Hopkins and Greg Whittington give Thompson a defensively imposing potential starting lineup with four players who are 6-foot-8 or 6-9. Junior Markel Starks (7.1 ppg), who made 25 starts last year, moves from shooting guard to the point. None of the five is a natural scorer.

"It's a lot of the intangibles that I'm more concerned with in losing Henry [Sims], Hollis [Thompson] and Jason [Clark] that we're going to miss than it is the actual points," Thompson said. "We're going to figure out who is going to score. I'm not sure. But I'm not worried about scoring."

Thompson said he was unaware and not concerned that the court on board the USS Carl Vinson appeared to get slippery once the sun went down for North Carolina and Michigan State in the first game ever played on an aircraft carrier.

"I can tell it's going to be different environment," Hopkins said. "We're going to be playing outside. The feel for your shot, the back view of people, you might see the ocean. The temperature's going to be different, and we're playing later at night."

The Gators start the year ranked 10th in the country with returning guard and leading scorer Kenny Boynton (15.9 ppg) and forward Patric Young (10.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg), who was second in rebounding last year only to current Wizards rookie Bradley Beal. Thompson was asked how the Hoyas will handle Young and said Florida's spacing makes it particularly difficult.

"We hope," Thompson said, "the elements get to him."

cstouffer@washingtonexaminer.com

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