NCAA

Early schedule forces Georgetown freshmen into hurry up mode

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Early schedule forces Georgetown freshmen into hurry up mode

It's crazy to think that after months and months without college basketball, the new season tips off in less than two weeks. For Georgetown, that means Nov. 14 against Radford. No offense to the Big South program, but what's perhaps truly crazy for the Big East's Hoyas are the headliner non-conference foes that follow. Not just games down the line, but BOOM, right away.

That's why the summer trip to Italy wasn't just an opportunity for the players, particularly the incoming freshmen, to see the world. It provided the young roster, one with only three upperclassmen on scholarship, extra practice time.

"Our schedule gets very difficult very quickly," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said during a recent interview with CSNmidatlantic.com. "We don't have the luxury of time easing into the season."

Game two on the docket is the much-anticipated clash at Maryland on Nov. 17. The Terps, led by sophomore guard Melo Trimble, are ranked No. 3 preseason in the Associated Press poll.

Next up, No. 17 Wisconsin in the opening round of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden. The Badgers lost to Duke in the national championship game last season. Speaking of Duke, Georgetown faces either the No. 5 Blue Devils or always-formidable VCU in New York some 48 hours after tangling with Wisconsin.

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Without assuming the result of any game, the Hoyas could be 1-3 nine days into the season. They could also vault themselves high into the national rankings after opening in the "others receiving votes" bin. Despite the presence of Big East Player of the Year candidate D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera and a roster Thompson considers among his most versatile ever, Georgetown finished eighth among the teams receiving votes outside the top 25.

Ongoing practices at McDonough Arena could alter his thinking, but it's clear Thompson expects those freshman -- center Jessie Govan, forward Marcus Derrickson, swingman Kaleb Johnson -- will be high in the rotation. All three were graded four-star recruits by ESPN.

From last season's team that finished 22-11 and reached the NCAA Tournament's round of 32, five players return with clear spots in the rotation: Guards D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Tre Campbell and L.J. Peak with forwards Isaac Copeland and Paul White. Thompson noted Hayes' strong showing in the tournament win over Eastern Washington continued into the previously seldom-used center's offseason workouts. Forwards Trey Mourning and Reggie Cameron provide additional depth.

Govan, a 6-foot-10 New Yorker with an array of big man could start at center over senior Bradley Hayes -- and help Thompson unlock parts of the game plan limited in recent seasons. Derrickson offers 3-point range from the frontcourt while Johnson replenishes some of the bulldog mentality lost with the graduation of Jabril Trawick.  

"I think the trip was beneficial," Thompson explained. "I really think it helped the freshman class because they're going to be in the mix. Just getting them acclimated and going through a few practices before practice officially began. Having them play in some games. ... I think the trip helped."

Georgetown also hosts former Big East rival Syracuse and plays at Charlotte before starting conference play Dec. 30 at DePaul. Playing at Connecticut in January -- during the midst of Big East play -- is perhaps another case of scheduling insanity or a toughening up test before the final weeks of the regular season.

Plenty of playing time opportunities exist for the freshmen. Those moments will come early and against notable competition. Better grow up quick, kids. With this crazy schedule, there really isn't another choice. Boom.

Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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Georgetown gets a boost with Jessie Govan returning to school

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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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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.