The Ballad of the 2018 Georgetown Hoyas
By: Michael A Chase Jr.
The 2018 season for the Georgetown Hoyas was a season marked by change and tough lessons. The changes began with a complete overhaul of the coaching staff, this in hopes of helping the program return to its former high standing.
The new face of Georgetown this past off-season officially became Patrick Ewing. Ewing who starred for 4 years at Georgetown as a player, also serving as an assistant coach in the NBA with the Rockets (2003-2006), the Orlando Magic (2007-2008), and Charlotte Hornets (2013-2016). Thus when he was hired in April 2017 he had gained significant coaching experience and was ready for his first head coaching job.
The other big change that occurred in the Georgetown program was a near completely new roster was put together. Ewing and his staff through their recruiting completely re-made the roster, putting it through a major youth movement. The Hoyas roster was now made up of 4 seniors, 4 juniors, 2 sophomores, and 3 freshman. Now this sounds like a pretty balanced collection of upper and lower classmen, but as the season unfolded youth prevailed and the growing pains were soon to follow. As the regular season began with a string of non-conference games the rotation for Ewing’ Hoyas took shape. The starting lineup included a duo of juniors in the front court with big men Marcus Derrickson and Jessie Govan, along with freshman wing Jamorko Pickett. The back court was occupied by senior transfer Jonathan Mulmore and junior Kaleb Johnson. Then finally the main bench contributors to emerge were another senior transfer guard Trey Dickerson, freshman guard Jahvon Blair, freshman forward Antwan Walker, and sophomore Jagan Mosley. Ultimately all but two of the main rotation players were seniors, plus even the juniors and sophomores had gotten little game experience. Thus Patrick Ewing was preparing to lead a very inexperienced squad through his and for many of them their first full season in the difficult Big East.
Now as for their season it can be one describe best as one of “missed opportunity”. The season got off to an 8-0 start, but this came with Hoyas having an easy non-conference facing teams like Richmond, Jacksonville, Maine, and Coppin State. This was mostly done by Patrick Ewing to ease his young players into the College Basketball world before Big East play. The Hoyas though if they were going to be considered legitimate threats needed signature wins. Unfortunately as the schedule got tougher the losses piled up, with the toughest part to stomach being the missed chances they had to beat quality teams. This frustrating trend began with their first big test in their toughest non-conference opponent in Syracuse. The Hoyas in this game led by as much as 10 halfway through the second half, but then the youth and inexperience began to show. This as the Hoyas young guards preceded to turn the ball over against the Syracuse press and have defensive breakdowns that allowed the Orange to rally and force overtime. Then in overtime the lack of experience really showed as the young Hoya failed to execute and Syracuse went on to win by 7. Thus a game Georgetown had in their hands and ultimately gave away with silly mistakes. This trend continued as they blew a late lead to Butler in the first Big East game and lost in overtime. Lost on a buzzer beater on a defensive breakdown to DePaul, Lost due to late game mistakes to Xavier in OT, along with other tight losses to Providence twice, Butler again, and Marquette. Add in blowouts by Villanova, Creighton, and a double digit loss to Seton Hall and it was a difficult first season in the Big East for Patrick Ewing. A season that also ended very quickly in the Big East tournament with a first round loss to St. John’s by 11, to provide an exclamation point to a year of frustration and lost opportunity. The biggest issues that persisted were the turnover issue with the young backcourt players, at times underwhelming defensive efforts, and lack of knowledge on how to effectively closeout games late. Thus Ewing’s squad had plenty of opportunities to get signature wins to build their resume toward a tournament bid but with these issues they made it difficult to accomplish.
There were bright spots throughout the season though that the Hoyas can build on going forward as well. They did get quality wins at Butler, against Seton Hall, and beating St. John’s twice. You also can take some good things away from the close losses including such as the effort and play against Xavier who finished ranked 3rd in the Nation, or giving Syracuse all they could handle. They had moments of shine did this young team thus there is reason for optimism. The other good reason for optimism for the program was the growth of the young players. Beginning with the emergence of stud Big men Jessie Govan and Marcus Derrickson as bigtime offensive forces. From the steadily improved play of freshman wing Jamorko Pickett, the increase in confident and shooting ability of freshman guard Jahvon Blair, and even the increased minutes and experience for young forward Antwan Walker. The talent is there, the experienced gained, and now it is about working and growing over the offseason for these young players there and others to come. 15-15 is a .500 season, but one with glimmers of hope and a reason for optimism though needs for improved poise and execution are key to develop.
Overall the first season of the Georgetown Hoyas basketball program under Patrick Ewing leaves some to be desired but now has direction.
With another off-season to recruit and find more talented players, especially a true point guard to run the show the Hoyas are on the uptick. With talented big men like Jessie Govan (averaged 17.9 points, 10.0 rebounds) and Marcus Derrickson ( 15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds) going into their senior seasons with uber confidence. Along with the continued growth of young perimeter players like Jamorko Pickett (9.6 points), Jahvon Blair (9.0 points), and Jagan Mosely (6.6 points) the future is bright and success is on the horizon. Now it is just up to Patrick Ewing to continue the route he is on to get them back to esteem prestige.