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.
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.