NCAA

JT3 identifies Georgetown's breakout star for 2015-16

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JT3 identifies Georgetown's breakout star for 2015-16

The return of guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera for his senior season ensured Georgetown of a leading man for the 2015-16 campaign.

The forecast for Isaac Copeland suggests the rising sophomore is next in line.

Such a declaration isn't a major surprise. Copeland joined the program as a five-star recruit, according to ESPN. The 6-foot-9 forward took control at times during his first season on the Hilltop. Copeland, part of a strong five-player recruiting class, received All-Big East rookie honors along with teammate L.J. Peak. More opportunity exists as the Hoyas lost four key pieces from their rotation, including second-leading scorer Joshua Smith, starter Jabril Trawick and key big man reserve Mikael Hopkins.

During a recent interview with CSNwashington.com, coach John Thompson III was asked which of his players might take the "leap" next season. 

"I think Isaac will," Thompson stated without hesitation while adding "others have the potential to."

Copeland's final stats - 6.8 points, 3.8 rebounds - won't wow a casual observer. After a slow start, the North Carolina's native athleticism, poise and all-court game did just that.

During a three-game stretch in January, he sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the left corner to beat Butler and then scored 17 points in consecutive wins over No. 4 Villanova and at Marquette.

Over his final 17 games, Copeland ranked third on the Hoyas with 9.4 points, second in rebounds (5.7), blocks (0.7) and 3-point shooting percentage (41.0).

That impressive streak caught the attention of national observers as well. NBC Sports put Copeland on a short-list of potential breakout stars for 2015-16. With another level of assertiveness, added strength and continued improvement across the board, no reason to think such predictions won't come true.

When it comes to upside, Copeland isn't alone. A starter throughout the season, the electric Peak explodes at the basket and is already savvy enough to live at the free throw line. If he improves an awkward, rotation-less shot, Peak could skyrocket as a sophomore. Point guard Tre Campbell played with confidence and effectively ran the attack when given minutes as a rookie. Forward Paul White, another rising sophomore, might be the most versatile of the bunch, as evidenced by a lineup suggestion from Smith-Rivera.

Three incoming freshmen - center Jessie Govan, forward Marcus Derrickson and wing option Kaleb Johnson, are four-star recruits per ESPN. Frontcourt returnees Bradley Hayes, Reggie Cameron and Trey Mourning could also be in the mix for minutes.

"It's going to be a competition," Thompson said of next season's lineup. "That's the good thing about next year's team. I think we're going to have competition at every spot."

Just not at one of the forward spots. In that area, Copeland is the leading man.

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

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USA TODAY Sports

Wilmer Difo homers but Phillies top Nats

WASHINGTON -- Rhys Hoskins hit a two-run homer, Vince Velasquez pitched five effective innings and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped Washington's six-game win streak with a 3-1 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.

Velasquez (2-4) allowed one run and one hit in his first win since April 7. He also struck out four, walked four and hit a batter.

Edubray Ramos, Tommy Hunter, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris then combined for four innings of one-hit relief. Neris earned his sixth save.

Trea Turner led off the Washington ninth with a walk and was running when Matt Wieters popped out to short right field. Turner, who slid into second, lost track of the ball and was easily doubled off first.

Wilmer Difo homered for Washington. Third baseman Anthony Rendon went 0 for 2 with two walks after missing 19 games with what the team called a contusion to his toe.

Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (2-3) tied his season high with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. He was charged with three runs and six hits.

Andrew Stevenson accounted for Washington's other hit, a one-out single in the sixth. Pedro Severino followed with a walk, but Ramos induced a double-play grounder from Rafael Bautista.

Cesar Hernandez opened the game with a single off Roark and Hoskins homered to center on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fifth of the season.

Maikel Franco provided an insurance run when he followed Carlos Santana's one-out triple with a single in the sixth.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Phillies: RHP Ben Lively (lower back strain) threw 20 pitches in a bullpen session. Lively was placed on the disabled list April 27. ... Manager Gabe Kapler said RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder strain) will throw a bullpen session as the next step in his rehabilitation. Neshek has not appeared in a game this season.

Nationals: 1B Ryan Zimmerman was scratched from the lineup due to stiffness in his side, according to manager Dave Martinez. ... RHP Trevor Gott, who sprained an ankle in the sixth inning Friday night, is day to day.

UP NEXT

The winners of the last three NL Cy Young Awards square off when Philadelphia's Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.49 ERA) opposes Max Scherzer (6-1, 1.79 ERA). Arrieta won the award in 2015 with the Cubs and Scherzer, the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, has claimed the honor each of the last two seasons.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

MORE NCAA: TOP BUZZER BEATERS IN NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY

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.