If you're a college basketball fan of a certain age and didn't grow up rooting for the Dukies, odds are you're not a fan of the Hurley's. Depending on how George Mason's matchup at Rhode Island winds up on Wednesday night, Patriot fans might feel the same.
True, it's former Seton Hall point guard Danny and not his better-known brother in the head coaching chair for the Rams (1-5) - and the one leading the Atlantic 10 program in the right direction, but it's a guilt by association thing. Besides, Bobby Hurley, the floor general (and for some, constant irritant) on Duke's consecutive back-to-back national championship winning teams from the early 90's, will be sitting right next to his younger brother as one of the Rams' assistants for the 8:00 p.m. tip-off.
Then again, green and gold nation should simply be rooting for their side to come up with an aesthetically pleasing outing after Saturday's ugly 48-45 win over Boston University. With only one player scoring in double figures and George Mason (4-2) collectively missing 14 of 16 attempts from beyond the arc, the Patriots needed Bryon Allen's 3-point play with 0.2 seconds to avoid a homecourt disaster against the Terriers. Johnny Williams, George Mason's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer behind Sherrod Wright on the season, paced the Patriots with 10 points.
Speaking of associations, don't assume the Rams' losing record means the Patriots will have it easy in Kingston. For starters, recall last season's 92-90 overtime win in Paul Hewitt's George Mason coaching debut. The current Rhode Island roster hung tough with No. 4 Ohio State and lost in overtime against Loyola (Md.) before finally claiming victory Sunday in double-overtime at Auburn.
Guard Xavier Munford tallied 33 points in the Rams' 78-72 win as the 6-foot-2 junior forced the second extra session with a desperation 3-point field goal. Munford leads the Rams in scoring with 17 per game while senior forward Nikola Malesevic does a little bit of everything, averaging 15.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.6 steals and knocks down 42 percent of 3-point attempts. Malesevic scored 12 points in last season's matchup in Fairfax while Wright and Vertrail Vaughns each had 17 for the Patriots.
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.