NCAA

Hoyas down UCLA; face No.1 Indiana next

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Hoyas down UCLA; face No.1 Indiana next

Inconsistent play combined with a missing sense of urgency during season-opening wins over Duquesne and Liberty proved obvious without Georgetown's head coach and players later concurring. Having All-American candidate Otto Porter for only six minutes in one game and out entirely in another did not help. An admitted case off the look ahead's with a matchup against a ranked UCLA on the horizon, also not helpful.

With Porter back and the UCLA contest on the day's agenda, the Hoyas (3-0) performance against the Bruins Monday night went the way of famed wrestler Bret Hart: excellence of execution.

The prize for turning in an impressive 78-70 win in the semifinals of the Legends Classic in Brooklyn? Georgetown faces top-ranked Indiana on Tuesday. Playing in the other semifinals, the Hoosiers, downed Georgia 66-53 despite an off scoring night from National Player of the Year candidate Cody Zeller.

There was little off about Porter and the Hoyas, who led 31-29 at halftime, surged ahead with a 12-0 run opening the second half before putting the game away with another late run in the final minutes. Markel Starks paced four double-digit scorers with 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting, Greg Whittington tallied 13 points with three 3-pointers and the Hoyas shot 54.5 percent from the field.

However, it's no coincidence the stepped up effort followed Porter's return. The 6-foot-8 forward finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, five blocks, three steals and sank both of his 3-point attempts. That's some serious stat stuffing, that's why scouts view the sophomore as a potential lottery pick.

Another dose of hot shooting and do-everything play from Porter and the other Hoyas will be required for the clash against Indiana (4-0). After missing a plethora of 3-pointers early on against Georgia, the Hoosiers found their range, particularly guard Jordan Hulls, who drained 4 of 6 from beyond the arc and finished with 14 points in the 66-53 win over the Bulldogs.

Zeller, considered by many the top returning player in the country, finished with only six points. Don't count on consecutive bad nights offensively for the skilled 7-footer, though the Hoyas have tons of length they can throw at the Player of the Year candidate. Upper Marlboro native Victor Oladipo paced Indiana with 15 points.

Three thoughts heading into tonight's showdown with Indiana, the first meeting between the two traditional basketball powers since the 1979-80 season.

* The Hoyas length, especially when Georgetown coach John Thompson III employs at least four 6-foot-8 players on the court at the same time in his zone defense, can be an intoxicating visual. Though the Hoosiers shot 5 of 16 from beyond the arc versus Georgia, they are knocking down 3's at a 38 percent clip. Winner of this matchup likely wins the game.

*Before Monday night, Starks' career game came last Dec. 28 at then No. 4 Louisville when the then sophomore guard made 7 of 8 shots for a career-high 20 points in a Georgetown win. That player has rarely showed up since. In the following 20 games including the opening two this season, Starks had not topped 11 points. More than simply tallying points, the chatty guard often played with more bark than bite. That led to fewer minutes in spots as last season progressed and raised some concern about the Hoyas backcourt this season considering the youth behind Starks. Against UCLA, the aggressive and confident version showed, one that also finished with a career-high four steals. More of that against Indiana would go a long way toward a Georgetown triumph.

* Effective inside and on the break, Zeller shot 62 percent from the field while averaging 15.6 points and 6.6 rebounds last season as a freshman. Mere stats did not define Porter's strong freshman campaign. They won't during his second year on the Hilltop either, they we can already see the numbers growth potential from Georgetown's de facto point guard. While not paired in a direct matchup, no doubt comparisons between the equally instinctive sophomore' become part of the game's backdrop. Giddy up.

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.