Arts & Entertainment

Picking Splinters: Hoyas Hanging On

If you happen to know a Georgetown Hoyas fan, forgive them if they seem on edge this weekend, it’s just because it feels like the next two seasons of Georgetown basketball may hang in the balance.

Yes, you heard me. Two seasons: A disappointing, but still salvageable 2008-09 campaign and next season, which could be sunk before it even starts.
There are a whole host of depressing scenarios laid out before the Hoyas right now. The most immediate of which is not qualifying for the postseason. And by “postseason” I mean any postseason, not just the NCAA Tournament. With a record of just 13-10, if the Hoyas don’t win at least two of their remaining seven games they won’t even qualify for the NIT.
Potentially, that unthinkable news could be followed by dual declarations that freshman Greg Monroe and junior DaJuan Summers will enter the NBA Draft. Suddenly, 2009-10, a year in which the Hoyas would have appeared as a favorite to return to their throne atop the Big East, looks as though it could be even worse than this heart-wrenching season.
Monroe, one of the nation’s top freshman, has already stated that he will return for his sophomore year. It’s not that I don’t trust the guy, but it is hard to turn down the money found atop the NBA Draft lottery. And in a year with a very weak draft class, it feels impossible that he projects to anything other than a Top 5 pick.
Summers isn’t the shoe-in that Monroe is for the draft, but if you’ve ever watched Summers on the court you would know that decision-making may not be his best attribute. The powerfully built small forward has fantastic potential and can explode on any night. When he plays within himself and lets his game flow, he’s among the nation’s best players. However, more often than he should, he gets ahead of himself and plays out of control, wracking up turnovers at a 2.5 per game clip.
There is no doubt that Summers would improve his game by refining it for another year at Georgetown rather than leaping to The League, where the words “player development” are dirty ones. If you don’t arrive ready-made, you don’t arrive at all. But like I said, Summers has immense talent — if not the best court sense — and the draft is down this year, so maybe he jumps too. With Jessie Sapp graduating in May, that eliminates three of the top five point producers from a team that may miss the NCAA Tournament and may only welcome one new scholarship player next year.
Granted the above paints the worst-possible scenario for next season, but it’s not entirely unlikely. So with that in mind, there’s no time like the present — with No. 11 Marquette and No. 7 Louisville coming to town Saturday and Monday — for the Hoyas to find their form.
When Georgetown starts slipping, the first target for critics is the team’s Princeton-based offense. In part, they’re right. The offense is the problem. Only it’s the execution that’s at fault rather than the strategy.
The Hoyas offense works wonders when run correctly, when players move without the ball and attack defenders off the dribble and with sharp passes. When that doesn’t happen, the defenders can sit rooted in the halfcourt set — usually a zone — and wait for the shot clock to wind down while Georgetown tosses the ball around the perimeter. Georgetown has to make their defenders work in their own end. When they do, they topple teams like UConn and North Carolina. When they don’t, when they get lazy, they lose to teams like Cincinnati and Seton Hall — games which are currently keeping the Hoyas out of the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown showed signs of life at the end of the Syracuse game. If they can continue to play with that fire and dictate the action in the offensive zone, the Hoyas could save their season with wins over ranked teams this weekend. If not, well, there’s always next year.
Oh …

Mike Hume may be e-mailed at