NCAA

The peculiar case of Georgetown’s Qudus Wahab

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The peculiar case of Georgetown’s Qudus Wahab

WASHINGTON – Qudus Wahab is quietly putting forward an impressive freshman campaign for the Georgetown Hoyas. 

He’s the second guy off the bench, primarily backing up Omer Yurtseven at the No. 5 spot in the rotation. But his usage is the best on the team. His per 40-minute average through the last five games is 27.6 points. 

What’s curious is Wahab is producing by only stepping on the court less than 12 minutes a game. Head coach Patrick Ewing isn’t getting him more playing time through his best stretch on the season. Opportunities and consistent time among the starters are limited.

The restraints on the freshman center were repeated in the team’s loss to No. 15 Butler when Omer Yurtseven failed to produce in the paint. Still, in 10 minutes of relief, Wahab had 10 points on 4-for-7 shooting.

The quizzical decision to keep the talented center so deep in the rotation for the Hoyas is one that has many within the fanbase dumbfounded. The team is down to only nine scholarship players and need all the production they can get. While Yurtseven has been dominant at times, he’s also inconsistent and struggled to find a rhythm in games. 

Seven times this season, Yurtseven has shot 40% from the field or lower. Wahab hasn’t had a worse shooting night when attempting more than two shots since Nov. 30. 

“To me, Omer is our best player. Qudus is very good. He’s our future,” Ewing said after Georgetown’s loss to Butler. “Some nights I want to play him more but sometimes he makes good play on one end, but I don’t see it on the other end.

“But I’m going to play the way I see it.”

Three of Wahab’s four buckets were dunks. One was a fastbreak throwdown while the other two were great feeds to him in the post. His 10 points in 10 minutes are starkly contrasted to Yurtseven’s 14 points in 30 minutes.

It’s just a continuation of a great stretch for the freshman. The last five games Wahab has produced 38 points on 17-for-22 shooting in 54 minutes of action. In many games, he has outperformed Yurtseven. 

Ewing, however, is not ready to fully give faith in the four-star recruit in his first season. Defensively there are still some areas Ewing wants to see him improve. 

“He can score. He’s a very good scorer. He missed some easy shots tonight. I need him to score. I need him to rebound. I need him to defend.”

And he needs to defend without fouling. He’s third on the team in fouls despite being seventh in minutes. Ewing has willingly chosen to keep him off the court in favor of Yurtseven. But Wahab's own abilities have contributed to fewer minutes. 

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VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva declares for 2020 NBA Draft

In this time of mass quarantining, live sports have come to a standstill across the country, but that hasn’t stopped college basketball’s offseason from churning along.

Players across the nation are deciding where they want to play next season, and the latest impactful player to take a step toward next year is VCU’s Marcus Santos-Silva.

The junior forward announced on his Instagram his intentions to enter the 2020 NBA Draft.

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It’s not yet clear how limited the NBA’s draft preparation will be as a result of COVID-19, but Santos-Silva does mention in his announcement that he will be maintaining his college eligibility in case he decides to return for his senior season.

Santos-Silva came off the bench his freshman season, but has started all 64 games in the last two years for VCU. As a junior, he averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 27.2 minutes.

He does all of his damage close to the rim, as he has yet to attempt a three-point shot in his college career.

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How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

How Howard University coach Larry Scott is leading his team from home

Starting any new job can be stressful, but starting it under a COVID-19 outbreak? A whirlwind.  

That’s exactly how Howard University’s new head football coach, Larry Scott, describes it.  

“You take the job beginning of February and ask yourself, what all has to be done?” Scott said. “And you go, ‘Everything.’”   

And yet you can’t do anything outside of your home. 

Scott is challenged with trying to change the culture of a team that finished the 2019 season 2-10, seventh in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He’s had to evaluate his roster, hire a new coaching staff, and hopefully bring in the right recruits.  Seems impossible, but Scott sees it completely the opposite.  

“It’s all about people, it’s all about building a strong connection within a team,” Scott said.  “Thank god I had some really good strong relationships with some coaches that I have worked with and admired from afar."

Scott coached under Dan Mullen at the University of Florida and Butch Jones at the University of Tennessee, learning leadership skills he has relied upon while installing his own system at Howard -- especially during this trying time.   

“It actually plays well into the whole concept -- football is still about people and how you make them feel,” Scott said. “Trust factors are built though connections.” 

Howard’s football team holds position meetings two times a week, staff meetings once a week, and uses Zoom to communicate with players daily.  Scott held his first full team meeting on Monday using Microsoft Teams while his strength and conditioning coach sends out daily workouts via Twitter challenging players to find creative ways to stay in football shape.  

Full-body workouts can be better than weights. Packing a book bag or finding water bottles can substitute creativity when the normal tools are not available. It’s about taking ownership of your body, when no one is telling you what time to be in the gym or standing over you counting reps.   

But all that is expected for a football team. Scott is also holding meetings that involve the full academic staff.  

“We have a plan for how we’re attacking academics and our online classes,” Scott said.  

A big part of that are talks on shifting the grade system to pass-fail concepts and where to accept letter grades. Scott wants his players to keep their scholarships and stay eligible. If they don’t keep their studies up, all the training in the world won’t matter. There is no football. Not even when football returns.   

For Scott, the cool thing about communicating all this to young men, is just that. They’re young. The virtual world is more their reality than any previous generation. They order all their food through Uber Eats. They have endless apps on their phones. They can adapt because technology lets them. And in so doing they help their coach adapt, too, during tough times. Together, when they finally return to the field, Scott believes they’ll all have a deeper appreciation for college football. 

“It’s kind of fun entering into their world into how they see things and view things and being able to still reach them and relate to them and teach them on a level that is expanding our mind,” Scott said. “It’s still about seeing young people find ways to have success, create avenues of opportunity.”   

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