Two games into the still new car of a smell season finds American men's basketball team with a .500 record while having yet to play a contest on friendly turf. The Eagles and coach Jeff Jones will not have to wait any longer for a return to Bender Arena as they host longtime opponent Mount St. Mary's on Thursday night. AU's home opener will air on Comcast SportsNet starting at 7:30 p.m.
Led by senior center Stephen Lumpkins the Eagles picked up their first win on Monday, 61-55 at Quinnipiac. The 6-foot-8 Lumpkins, who returned to the program after taking off last season to pursue a professional baseball career, scored 19 points and grabbed six rebounds. One of seven seniors on the roster, Lumpkins leads American in scoring (14.0) and rebounding (7.5). Another senior, point guard Daniel Munoz paces the Eagles in assists (3.0) while averaging 8.5 points. American lost its season opener by 36 points at Minnesota, 72-36.
The 61st meeting between American and Mount St. Mary's marks the series debut for Mountaineers (1-1) first-year coach Jamion Christian and former George Mason transfer Rashad Whack. The 29-year-old Christian served as assistant at VCU under Shaka Smart last season and picked up his first win on Tuesday, 70-63 over Hartford. Whack, a former star at Bishop McNamara, scored a career-high 20 points in the victory.
American leads the All-Time series 32-28 though the Eagles lost year at Mount St. Mary's 49-42.
After testing the NBA Draft waters, Georgetown center Jessie Govan decided to return to the Hoyas for his senior season.
Govan announced his intention to return on Instagram a week before the final commitment deadline.
Returning to the Hoyas is definitely a boost to the program that will be in their second year under head coach Patrick Ewing. At 6-10, Govan was the team’s leading scorer (17.9 ppg) and rebounder (10.0 rpg) averaging a double-double last season.
Paired alongside power forward Marcus Derrickson, the Hoyas were nearly unstoppable in the paint. Derrickson though decided to forgo his senior year and signed with an agent after the season.
Had Govan decided to leave that would have meant over 56 percent of the team’s scoring and rebounding would have departed (to graduation or professional pursuits) in a handful of months. Not the best outlook for a 15-win team that went 5-13 in the Big East.
Instead Ewing gets back his leading scorer that many believe he can mold as a young protégée. While in the draft process without an agent Govan had workouts with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Both are valuable experiences that he will bring to a relatively young Georgetown squad.
Having Govan for one more year will bridge Ewing’s second season to transfer big-man, Omer Yurtseven to his first year of eligibility in 2019. They were set up to having a walk-on and two sophomores being the only returning Hoyas over 6-6 for the upcoming season.
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The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.
On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.
From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.
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Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).
NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.
Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson
Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.
It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.
On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.