Georgetown men's basketball went through a trying season a year ago but somehow head coach Patrick Ewing was able to make the best of a bad situation. Things didn't exactly improve either in the offseason when the team's top two players, Mac McClung and Omer Yurtseven decided to not come back to the program for the upcoming year.
Typically, the fourth season for a new coach is expected to be the strongest. The coach gets a full four years of recruiting under their belt and have time to establish a team culture. An exodus of young players doesn't exactly lead one to success.
Ewing is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Hoyas similar to his first. They need to lay the foundation for the future. A small bridge year to get to 2021, which will bring an impressive recruiting class, is likely to be in order.
The team has a bunch of young talent and the experienced players on the roster don't exactly have the pedigree of leading a team. An always competitive Big East will not give the team any relief and make it a tough contest, night in and night out. Development of the underclassmen will be a focus for success a year later.
How the team gets there will be seen this season. Additionally, they have a group of seniors that all have a chip on their shoulder, so they don't want to hear anything about developing for next year. Here are three questions for the Hoyas entering the new season.
How good will the experienced backcourt be?
On a roster full of question marks, the backcourt is not one of them. Georgetown will have returning senior Jahvon Blair and Arkansas grad transfer Jalen Harris bringing the ball up the floor.
Blair was not a starter until the last 11 games when Mac McClung went down with an injury. Still, Blair had the third-most assists of all players on the roster with nearly two dimes a game. Once inserted in a three-guard lineup, he helped split some of the point guard responsibilities with Terrell Allen and Jagen Mosely.
It was rare to see Blair as the primary initiator of the offense, though. Possibly, Ewing never saw Blair as a potential starting PG given his recruiting history. But this season, he will have to step in that role. Last season was his best, with the most playing time, in his tenure with the Hoyas. He's become a decent 3-point threat and is a stable option in the offense. The former Big East All-Freshman honoree will have to take another step forward this year.
Bringing Harris in is a little bit of an unknown. The 6-foot-2 guard has never had a stable contribution to either of his two previous teams. His minutes were limited and actually saw his time on the floor decrease this past season. Assuming Harris starts, it will be the first time that anybody has seen him with that much responsibility at the college level. He was recruited as a point guard and could very well take that role over Blair.
There may be some growing pains for the backcourt this year, especially as it may take longer for chemistry to develop. There's no clear guy who has a path to be the starting PG. Both guys, however, will be afforded their best and last chance to prove themselves.
Will Patrick Ewing trust Qudus Wahab?
Well, he kind of has to.
For most of last season, the fanbase was clamoring for Wahab to get more minutes while senior Omer Yurtseven struggled with consistency issues. In limited time, Wahab showed impressive spurts of what he could contribute but Ewing remained hesitant on pulling the reins off until he basically had to due to injuries and the roster constraints.
While starting, he averaged over nine points a game and even had a double-double against then-ranked Creighton. On the year, the 6-foot-11 center averaged 5.5 points and shot 58.3% from the field.
Ewing once said that Wahab was going to be the team's future. He's going to have to be, as he is one of only two frontcourt players with previous college experience.
What to expect from freshman Jamari Sibley?
Sibley, out of Virginia's Oak Hill Academy, comes in as the highest-rated recruit of the class. He's a four-star player, ranked 101st overall of the 2020 recruits, according to 247 sports.
He could be a big contributor to Georgetown right when he steps on campus. With a ton of athleticism and standing at 6-foot-8, he'll likely come in as a power forward, perhaps even as a small forward since he isn't known for his rebounding ability. His skill set is somewhat similar to Jamorko Pickett with slightly less confidence from deep range.
While lanky in his stature (200 pounds), the Hoyas will likely look for Sibley to build up his physique as a part of his development early on.
Depth issues will likely have Sibley a key contributor at some point during his freshman season. There are only eight scholarship players that are non-freshmen, leaving a ton of room for someone to step up.
Of all freshmen though, he should be someone to be excited about. Offensively, Sibley will be able to provide some scoring presence that is not always seen from first-year players.