Thursday, September 30, 2010

2010-11 Preview -- Georgetown Hoyas

Too Busy for the Details?
Georgetown may have lost All-Big East First Team forward Greg Monroe, but they return virtually everyone else on the squad that recovered to 10-8 record after 2009's disastrous 7-11 finish. The squad looked very strong through much of January, lost it's focus after thrashing Villanova on February 3, but recovered in March to take the last regular season game and then run to the Big East Tournament Finals where they lost on the last possession to West Virginia. Just when everything seemed to be back on track the Hoyas dropped another head scratcher, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament no less, to Ohio University. The 2011 squad is among the most experienced in the Big East, and should be in a position to learn from last season's ups and downs. If they can control the boards like the teams of 2007 and 2008, they will run through the conference...and the NCAA field.  Prognosis -- A 1st quartile finish.

3 Years At a Glance


As dominant a player as Greg Monroe could be on occasion, the gap between returning minutes and returning points (and returning FGMs, etc.) is a pretty modest 4%. For those who wonder, with so many wings and backcourt veterans returning, whether the offense will "migrate" to the perimeter, returning 3FGM% suggests the Hoyas will indeed take their game outside. But that may not be true if Julian Vaughn and freshman Nate Lubick become very productive (and therefore more attractive offensive options).

According to Pomeroy...
BE O Rtg109.77101.412104.38
BE O eFG%56.2151.0752.73
BE O Reb%30.0T1434.1931.213
BE D Rtg103.56102.9793.12
BE D eFG%49.9949.1842.51
BE Opp Reb%32.9T436.71232.06

When the Hoyas went to the Final Four (2007) their Big East conference (only) offensive rating was a super 115.6, the best in conference, while their defensive rating was a good (but not great) 98.6, good for #5. The Hoyas can scrape by with an above (but not by much) average defense, but they cannot do well with an unproductive offense. For the offense to work Georgetown needs efficient shot conversion (eFG%). Offensive rebounding does not hurt (in 2007 they were ranked #1 in the conference), but efficient shot conversion is essential.

For the Record...
Big East1080.5567110.3891530.833
Post Season?NCAA Rnd #1NIT Rnd #1NCAA Rnd #2

Georgetown has had a bumpy ride since their 2007 Final Four season. That run yielded a few nice recruiting classes. Returning the program to the Elite Eight-level is the next step.

The Hoyas' Nucleus
Coach Thompson can look to a nice distribution of experience and talent this season. The problem is depth among his veterans -- they are good, but the squad is not (and has never been under JT3) a Noah's Ark with two at every position. Thompson should have the luxury of being able to work the large freshmen class into the mix and give them time to learn his system.

On Offense
Chris Wright87.8111.723.224.452.62.11.1435.7
Jason Clark83.6111.316.016.860.64.61.2524.3
Austin Freeman83.5119.821.525.360.23.71.2725.3
Julian Vaughn56.6104.319.317.958.49.91.1734.2
Hollis Thompson48.8111.013.213.856.65.31.1532.0
Jerrelle Benimon25.883.
Henry Sims14.083.816.010.350.07.20.9588.5

The nucleus of this team, for better or worse, will be Freeman, Wright, Vaughn and Jason Clark. Hollis Thompson should have a good year and those five, along with Jerrelle Benimon (who should also improve over his freshman season efficiency numbers and see more playing time) will see the floor far more than any of the freshmen...if all goes well.

On Defense
Chris Wright87.88.022.616.50.82.5
Jason Clark83.69.510.521.90.62.6
Austin Freeman83.58.814.415.30.71.6
Julian Vaughn56.613.812.
Hollis Thompson48.89.48.517.72.32.8
Jerrelle Benimon25.812.55.435.13.11.2
Henry Sims14.

The key stat is Assist Rate (Ast%)...Chris Wright has a 22.6 rate and will have to maintain it this season. But that is not enough. When the low post and/or the wing players are shoing nearly as many assists as the pg, the GTown faithful know the offense is getting good ball movement and the points should follow easily.

Significant Additions
Coach Thomspon brings in a recruiting class that ranks in the top 3 for the conference. The brightest star in the group is Nate Lubick, a 6-9, 225 pound #4 out of Southborough, Massachusetts. Lubick is ranked #12 at the power forward position, and #48 overall by Scout, Inc. According to Scout, Lubick has a large repetoire of low post moves which when combined with jumpers that he can take off of both ball and down screens, suggest he has the kind of skill set that will fit well with Georgetown's variation on the Princeton Offense. 6-2, 175 pound point guard Markel Starks is, ranked at #75 (by Scout), the second Top 100 player in the class. He should get a good year as Chris Wright's understudy. Moses Abraham, a 6-9, 240 pound center and Aaron Bowen, who at 6-5 and 185 pounds, is something of a Hollis Thomspon-type wing player. Abraham is a long range project who may, if he shows progress, consign Henry Sims to a deep spot on the bench.

Explode If...
1. The Hoyas play as a team. For a change. Georgetown has some excellent talent, and when that talent played to their level, even if they did not play as a team, the Hoyas could win, but when the talent did not play well, the team failed. Early season "head scratching" losses happen when players are learning their roles within Coach Thompson's offensive (and defensive) structure. Late season flameouts occur when players are tired of playing with each other. This team should have fewer stress points in the lineup, and ought to enjoy playing together more than Hoya teams of the past two seasons. The team has had great parts, but the whole has not greater than the sum of those parts.
2. Either Jason Clark or Julian Vaughn has a breakout season. Clark's sophomore possession and shot rate improved marginally over the numbers he posted his freshman season, even as his playing time increased dramatically and his (offensive) efficiency improved. He needs to maintain or continue to improve his efficiency even as he takes a larger role in the Hoya offense. The ceiling (about 95% confidence) is around 24%, a "Significant Contributor" to borrow Pomeroy's label. To break out, Clark would have to push beyond that ceiling, into the 25% or 26% range. Vaughn, a Florida transfer in 2009 who received a waiver to play immediately (in the 2009 season), has improved his possession and shot rates, even as his playing time even as his efficiency improved over the past two seasons. The Georgetown system works best when the Hoyas have the kind of bfc who can provide a low post presence and dominate the offensive boards. Vaughn, whose offensive ceiling (95% confidence) is borderline "Major Contributor" (Pomeroy's label again) may be the more promising prospect given team needs.
3. Both Clark and Vaughn play to their 95% confidence ceiling. Again, team play.

Implode If...
1. Injuries take any of Freeman, Wright, Clark or Vaughn out of the line-up for an extended period of time. The Hoyas are not deep, even with the entering class. The staff is not, beyond Lubick, looking for a missing piece among the rookies. Should Vaughn (or Sims?!) emerge as a low post force, Lubick's impact may be smaller than anticipated.
2. Freeman and Wright each have terrible seasons. The two wings need to be efficient to draw attention and defense out to the perimeter. If the defense collapses into the paint, Vaughn and Lubick will have no room to manuever, nor rebound.
3. Chemistry seemed to be a problem in 2009, and proved to be a huge drag on the squad. The program, whose offense requires a lot of work as a unit, may be more sensitive to the dynamic of a larger recruiting class that requires the team mix different personalties and playing styles while learning to work together.

Crucial Run/Bellweather Games
The Hoyas always seem to have a "Huh!?" game or two early in the season, and their opener at Old Dominion may be a prime candidate. A road trip to Charleston for the Classic (and a matchup with either Charlotte or NCSU) followed by another road game in not-really-neutral Kansas City, Missouri (to face the Missouri Tigers) closes out November. An early December road game at Temple, an A-10 Tournament Champion and NCAA invitee two seasons running should be the Hoyas best early test. Emerge unbeaten from that schedule, and Georgetown will have a nice spot in the AP Top 10 going into the Big East season.

Georgetown takes a trip to St. John's and then returns home to face West Virginia and Pittsburgh back-to-back in early January, in what might be the hardest three game set the Hoyas will have in the regular season. If Georgetown is 5-0 in conference play on 1/13, they should have the momentum to go up to Villanova near the end of January undefeated in conference play. A pair of three game sets at the back end of the season may be the make-or-break for Georgetown. The first (and greater challenge) begins with the road game with the Orange on 2/9 that could easily be featured during ESPN's Rivalry Week. The Hoyas return home to host the Golden Eagles, and take to the road for a game in Storrs, Connecticut. 2-1 may be likely, but 3-0 would confirm the Hoyas are back. If Cincinnati is hot this season, Georgetown's two games in just over two weeks could prove to be a curse. The Syracuse game (in Washington) sandwhiched between the 'Nati games will not. If Georgetown is playing for the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament, those last three games may not be especially troublesome for the Hoyas. But as before, 2-1 is a distinct possibility, with the Syracuse game the spoiler.


Unknown said...

The Hoyas will be just fine all they have to do is play hard, play smart and have fun! We all know what they can do, just take out the "implode" and we will be just fine. The Hoyas a good season no matter what anyone else says. As far as head scratchers, the Hoyas won most of those back during the Big East tournament, and during the season players were sick but Coach T never complained or made any excuses, I guess that's what caused those head scratchers huh. I think the Hoyas did well with what they had especially playing the "toughest" schedule in college basketball in the "best" and "toughest" conference in college basketball! Don't worry the Hoyas will surprise everyone, mark my word! Those players have developed and work hard in the off season. Those who came to the Kenner Summer League saw some great things from each Hoya even the freshmen, so get ready, put your seatbelts on, and let's go for the Hoya ride! Hoya Saxa!

Unknown said...

Nice writeup. For a Nova guy, you sure have done your homework on the Hoyas. Great analysis.

greyCat said...

Lol, thanks for the nod fellas...I think. The preview has apparently sparked some interest among Hoya fans, a sign I suspect, that many of you anticipate this Georgetown team will have very good season. I think so too. Your passion is evident in your comments here and elsewhere. And that has to be a great benefit to your team. I can't wait for the season to start.