Georgetown Men’s Basketball Preview: Reloading for another run

How should one view Georgetown after its incredible run of four wins in four days to secure their first Big East Tournament championship since 2007, as well as their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2015?

Was it the start of something special that will fortify head coach Patrick Ewing’s program or an isolated incident in a stretch where the Hoyas have been more pretender than contender (six consecutive nonwinning conference seasons)?

Georgetown had been picked to finish 10th in this fall’s Big East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, but take heart: they were picked 11th last year and went on to cut down the nets in Madison Square Garden.

Ewing even mentioned on Big East Media Day, “I remember talking to (the late) Coach (John) Thompson and he said don’t worry about the preseason poll, they mean nothing. It is what happens at the end of the year that matters,” Ewing said.

But the start of the season will arrive with a Hoyas nucleus vastly different from the one who advanced to the NCAAs. Leading scorer Jahvon Blair and four-year starter Jamorko Pickett both graduated, while Chudier Bile is with Greensboro of the G-League. Leading rebounder Qudus Wahab is still in college, but up the street playing for Maryland after transferring to the Big Ten school. Even the offseason addition of Tre King became a subtraction as the Eastern Kentucky transfer, according to an athletics department statement, “did not meet the conduct expectations of the University. He is not enrolled in classes and will not be on the Men’s Basketball team.”

But back are Dante Harris and Donald Carey: The duo combined for 41 starts last winter. While Harris won Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player honors as a freshman, Carey will provide some necessary outside shooting (his 44.9% from 3-point range led the rotation).

When asked about being picked 10th at Media Day, the senior from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, asked people to look at (the Big East Tournament Championship ring on) his finger.

Harris and Carey will have plenty of help, as there is talent coming into D.C. in the form of the 16th best recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports. While the freshman five-pack includes 7-foot-2 center Ryan Mutombo (son of former Hoyas big man and longtime NBAer Dikembe Mutombo) as the name that leaps off the page, it’s 6-foot-5 guard Aminu Mohammed’s potential that has turned heads. The Temple Hills, Maryland, native was voted the Big East Preseason Freshman of the Year.

But the coach is preaching patience. “They’re talented, but they’re going to experience their ups and downs and growing pains,” Ewing said.

The schedule tips off Saturday with a home game against Dartmouth. The nonconference slate includes a Thanksgiving Tournament in Anaheim and a trip to South Carolina before facing former archrival Syracuse at Capital One Arena (Ewing is 1-3 against the Orange as a coach after going 8-3 against the Orangemen as a player).

The Big East boasts a pair of teams in the Preseason Top 25 (No. 4 Villanova and No. 24 UConn), while Xavier, Creighton, St. John’s and Butler each received votes. Of course, the 20-game conference campaign is merely a precursor to the Big East Tournament.

And even though Madison Square Garden lies 243 miles from Georgetown University’s campus, MSG in March has, over the last 40 years, served as the Hoyas’ and Patrick Ewing’s second home.

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Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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