VOICE The Georgetown
November 10, 2017
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
editor-in-chief Caitlyn cobb Managing editor alex boyd
Volume 50 • Issue 7
Opposing Voices Teddy Carey and Santul Nerkar
Patrick Ewing Returns Home to Revive the Men’s Team Tyler Pearre
James Howard Finds His Home Jorege DeNeve
Ewing and His Hoyas Look to Usher in New Era of Georgetown Men’s Basketball Beth Cunniff
Jessie Govan Leads the New-Look Men’s Team Jonny Amon
Women’s Basketball Sets Hopes on NCAA Bid Umar Asif
Dionna White Leads Women’s Team on Both Sides of the Ball Aaron Wolf
Meet the New Guys Jake Gilstrap and Jayan Hanson
Meet the New Gals Annie Coyne and Devon O’Dwyer
The Basketball Preview Staff: Producers Tyler Pearre
Cover by Aicha NZIE Cover Photos credited to Georgetown Sports Information
Editors Jonny Amon Jon Block Beth Cunniff Jorge DeNeve
The opinions expressed in The Georgetown Voice do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of Georgetown University, unless specifically stated. Columns, advertisements, cartoons and opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or the General Board of The Georgetown Voice. The university subscribes to the principle of responsible freedom of expression of its student editors. All materials copyright The Georgeton Voice, unless otherwise indicated.
Contibutors Umar Asif Alli Kaufman Egan Barnitt Santul Nerkar Teddy Carey Aicha Nzie Delaney Corcoran Devon O’Dwyer Annie Coyne Janice Park Jake Gilstrap Jack Townsend Jake Glass Aaron Wolf Jayan Hanson Rachel Zeide
firstname.lastname@example.org Leavey 424 Box 571066 Georgetown University Washington, DC 20057
Correction to “Women’s and Gender Studies Program Turns 30” news story run in 10/27/17 issue: the first and fourteenth paragraphs incorrectly referred to the women’s and gender studies program as a department.
executive editor lilah burke Features editor jonny amon assistant features editor caitlin mannering news editor jake maher assistant news editors michael coyne, noah telerski
executive editor mike bergin Leisure editor devon o’dwyer assistant leisure editors brynn furey, ryan mazalatis, mary mei Sports editor tyler pearre Assistant sports editor beth cunniff, jorge deneve
Executive editor graham piro voices editor cassidy jensen Assistant Voices editors sienna Brancato, rebecca zaritsky Editorial Board Chair chris dunn Editorial Board jon block, caitlyn cobb, Nick Gavio, Alli Kaufman, Caitlin Mannering, GRAHAM PIRO, Isaiah seibert, PHillip Steuber, Jack Townsend
Leisure editor emily Jaster assistant leisure editors claire goldberg, julia pinney, eman rahman Sports editor jon block Assistant sports editor phillip steuber
Executive editor alli kaufman Spread editor jack townsend Photo Editor Isabel lord cover Editor aicha nzie assistant design editors jake glass, keeho kang, lizz pankova, rachel zeide Staff designers Egan Barnitt, Delaney Corcoran, abhichana Naiyapatana
copy chief audrey bischoff assistant Copy editors Leanne Almeida, Isabel Paret editors Mya Allen, Mica Bernhard, Sienna Brancato, Kate Clark, Nancy Garrett, Caroline Geithner, Anna Gloor, Claire Goldberg, Emily Jaster, Isabel Lord, Julia Pinney, Cade SHore, Hannah Song, maya Tenzer, Jack Townsend
website editor Anne Freeman Podcast editor nick gavio assistant podcast editor Gustav Honl-stuenkel social media editor mica bernhard
general manager naiara parker assistant manager of alumni outreach anna gloor assistant manager of accounts & sales karis hawkins
contributing editors emma francois, danielle hewitt, kaei li, isaiah seibert associate editors margaret Gach, amy guay, parker houston, alex lewontin, anne paglia, lindsay reilly
Umar asif, Teddy Carey, MOnica Cho, Rachel Cohen, Austin Corona, Damien Garcia, jake gilstrap, jayan hanson, tristan lee, Brynne Long, Shadia Milon, Santul nerkar, Brice russo, Katya Schwenk, Will Shanahan, cam smith, aaron wolf
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
more basketball ON GEORGETOWNVOICE.COM Big East Preview Tristan Lee and Aaron Hunt give their projections for the Big East men’s basketball season. Will Villanova five-peat as regular season champions? Who will have a breakout year? All that, and much more!
The Vault Host Tyler Pearre and our panel of staff writers prepare you for tip-off in the season premier of The Vault, our podcast dedicated solely to Georgetown hoops! With weekly episodes, there’s no better way to catch up on all things Georgetown basketball.
Follow @GUVoiceSports on Twitter Can’t get enough of Georgetown athletics? Follow us on Twitter for game previews, recaps, player profiles, feature stories, and live tweets for all of your favorite Hoya sports teams!
NO NAME HT WT POS YR
NO NAME HT POS YR
Jonathan Mulmore 6-4
2 DiDi Burton 5-5 G SR
10 Lexi Kimball 5-10 G FR
Marvellous Osagie-Erese 5-4
13 Anita Kelava 6-3 F SO
Marcus Derrickson 6-7
25 Sari Cureton 6-1 F FR
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
‘One-and-Done’ Rule Hurts Student-Athletes When the Philadelphia 76ers selected Markelle Fultz with the first round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft this summer, they did so after the 19-year-old played only one year at the University of Washington. Fultz was a heavily recruited talent coming out of high school, and there was almost no doubt that he would one day play in the NBA. But because of a provision in the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), commonly known as the “one-and-done” rule, Fultz was required to wait for at least one year after he graduated from high school before he was eligible for the draft. This editorial board finds that this provision, which requires athletes to either play in the NCAA or abroad before they can be drafted, ultimately serves to help professional franchises and elite college programs while violating the rights of the players. Age eligibility in the NBA has been debated since the creation of the league and went before the Supreme Court in 1971. In the landmark Haywood v. National Basketball Association case, the court ruled 7-2 in favor of Spencer Haywood, a player who sued after he was kept out of the league for failing to meet the eligibility requirement of waiting four years after his high school graduation. After the Haywood decision, more players began to go pro before they completed college, and in some cases, directly out of high school. Between 1995 and 2005, a number of well-known players were drafted directly out of high school, including Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James. This trend ended in 2005, when the league’s CBA was changed to add the “one-and-done” rule. Proponents of the rule argue that it keeps NBA scouts out of high school gyms and ensures that student-athletes get an education, or at least a part of one, before going pro. Instead, the rule restricts the rights of basketball players and continues many of the shady practices that have defined NCAA athletics for so long.
It seems unreasonable that these athletes aren’t at least given the choice to declare for the NBA draft. After all, if they are skilled enough to play in the league, why should they not be allowed to earn money for their playing? As the debate around NCAA amateurism rises, we find it important that players, at the very least, are not forced into this amateurism. If they choose to play in the NCAA because they think that it’s best for their careers, then that is their prerogative. However, their participation shouldn’t be required. Forcing highly skilled athletes to play for a year without pay risks the chance of a career-altering injury and takes away a year of salary, all in a way that benefits the NBA team owners. By having the nation’s top talent play in college for a year, NBA teams are able to ensure that their new players are trained and marketed at no cost to them. This year, for example, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers was able to profit from ticket and jersey sales related to their first-round draft pick, Lonzo Ball, long before the rookie received his first game check. To most NBA owners and front offices, the required year in college means that players are developed by strong coaching and training staffs and can begin to cultivate a fandom all while staying off the NBA’s payroll. The one-and-done rule also exacerbates a number of problems already entrenched in NCAA basketball. Forcing players to play in college for a year only heightens the idea that student-athletes aren’t going to these universities to learn, but rather are going for the inconvenient pit stop on the way to the NBA. The issue of finding the proper balance between student and athlete is a complicated one, and we aren’t suggesting that the problem would be fixed entirely by ending one-and-done. Still, if college basketball players were in college because they chose to be, even if it’s because they think that is their best chance to play professional basketball,
Men’s Home Schedule: Nonconference
it is hard to imagine that the issue of academics among athletes wouldn’t improve. Ending the one-and-done rule would also combat the shady recruitment dealings that fans, officials, and coaches have been aware of for almost as long as the sport has existed but that only recently came to light. This year, an FBI investigation concluded with a number of college coaches and apparel executives facing charges for corruption in the recruitment process. Former Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino was notably involved, and he and the school’s athletic director were forced to resign. In the case of Louisville, money was funneled from Adidas, which sponsors the school’s athletics program, to the families of recruits, in return for committing to the university and signing an endorsement with the company when they left the university the next year. Ending the one-and-done rule will not end corruption in college basketball. Still, by not forcing players into college, the chances for bribery in NCAA basketball decrease. Contrary to the cries of one-and-done apologists, allowing players into the NBA following high school will not ruin college basketball. Not every player will choose to enter the draft, and college basketball will still provide a valuable opportunity for most players to hone their skills before going pro. Besides, one need not look any further than last year’s national champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels, as an example of a team that can find success with players who stay for three and four years. Each individual athlete’s situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer to what should be done when a basketball player graduates high school. That is a decision best left to the athlete and his family. This life choice should be left open, with as few restrictions as possible, particularly restrictions that benefit the teams they’ll soon be playing for at the young athlete’s expense.
Women’s Home Schedule: Nonconference
11/14 vs. Howard 11/12 vs. Jacksonville 12/27 vs. Butler 11/15 vs. Mount St. Mary’s 1/6 vs. Creighton 11/29 vs. FIU 1/17 vs. Villanova 11 / 18 vs. UMES 12/07 vs. Minnesota 11 / 28 vs. Maine 1/20 vs. St. John’s 12/03 vs. Coppin State 1/24 vs. DePaul 12/07 vs. Howard 2/10 vs. Seton Hall 12/09 vs. NC A&T 2/21 vs. Xavier 12/16 vs. Syracuse 2/24 vs. Providence 12/20 vs. North Texas 2/26 vs. Marquette 12/23 vs. Alabama A&M
1/2 vs. Xavier 1/5 vs. Butler 1/10 vs. Villanova 1/19 vs. Marquette 1/21 vs. DePaul 2/9 vs. Seton Hall 2/11 vs. St. John’s 2/23 vs. Creighton 2/25 vs. Providence
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Don’t Be So Blue: Weak Schedule Is a Gray Area As the Georgetown men’s basketball team gets ready to start the season under new leadership, it enters a nonconference schedule that has turned some heads. None of the schools scheduled to play the Hoyas are basketball powerhouses, with 16-seed Mount St. Mary’s being the only team that made the tournament last year. This is unusual for a team like Georgetown, which has a history of making the tournament and a reputation of being a basketball school. Despite not making the tournament last year, the Hoyas still played tournament-bound schools such as Maryland, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma State during the season. There have been complaints in response to the unveiling of this new schedule. Critics say that Georgetown will have no chance in the Big East if it only plays weak teams. They argue that wins against teams like Alabama A&M and North Carolina A&T will not do much to build the team’s tournament resume. While these arguments are valid, they fail to address the bigger picture. Georgetown has failed to make the NCAA Tournament in the past two years and hasn’t progressed beyond the second round since 2007. Firing John Thompson III opened up room for improvement, but that alone is not enough. Simply firing a coach does not turn a team that failed to qualify for the NIT into a Final Four team in just one
season. The Hoyas need a few years, and a weak schedule will play to their advantage. If Georgetown was scheduled to play North Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky, it would lose terribly. What would that accomplish? While the potential upside that could come from a win against those teams is extraordinary, the chances are just too slim. The reality is that the Hoyas would most likely lose, end up with a sub.500 nonconference record, and have little spirit entering daunting Big East conference play. The result would be another year that ends in early March. Wins against smaller basketball schools are never going to hold as much weight as a win against a top-ranked team. But that’s not the argument I am making. The current nonconference schedule should allow Georgetown to win a majority of its games. They may struggle on the road against Richmond and at home against Syracuse, but they should finish with a record well above .500 before conference play. Critics overlook the importance of confidence from a strong non-conference performance. Individually, none of these games will boost Georgetown’s Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) standing, but a solid overall nonconference run could help the Hoyas gel as a team. No one likes to lose—not fans, not students, and especially not the team—
and when you lose again and again, the thirst for victory begins to wane. Last season the Hoyas played big time teams and they got blown out. As a result of these losses, the Hoyas headed into conference play with no confidence and finished 5-13. By playing non-dominant teams this season, they will avoid digging themselves into that hole early-on for a third straight year. The Big East is going to be difficult. The Hoyas will have to play No. 6 Villanova twice. Why should the team use up all its energy on nonconference games? As a result of their schedule, the Blue & Gray will cruise through nonconference play and head into the Big East with a winning record and a sense of pride. I am not saying they are going to sweep ’Nova, but their newfound confidence paired with their larger-than-life coach should be enough to force some big upsets in conference play this year. Maybe they will miss the tournament again, but the weak schedule will allow them to improve as a team and avoid an unprecedented thirdconsecutive losing season.
Teddy Carey is a Freshman in the College. He is a sports writer for the Voice.
Hoyas’ Soft Schedule Is an Airball A men’s college basketball season for Power Five programs can be thought of as a slightly modified threecourse meal. You start with appetizers, which are earlyseason marquee matchups like Duke vs. Michigan State at the Champions Classic. Then, a team will typically proceed to the dessert portion of its schedule, feasting on cupcakes in the form of non-Power-Five opponents. Finally, the unit will turn its eyes to the main course of the year, hunkering down for a daunting conference slate of opponents, or in Georgetown’s case, Big East giants such as No. 6 Villanova, No. 17 Xavier, and No. 23 Seton Hall. This year, however, the regime led by new head coach Patrick Ewing has other ideas about digesting its competition. With a sugar rush from umpteen early-season cupcakes, combined with forgoing appetizing primetime matchups, Georgetown basketball has risked spoiling its appetite for Big East competition. Many became aware of Georgetown’s scheduling ideology on Aug. 2, when the school announced that it would be withdrawing from November’s PK80 tournament, an event commemorating the 80th birthday of Nike founder Phil Knight and featuring programs such as No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State, No. 9 North Carolina, and unranked Oregon. However, we did not gain a full understanding of the historic weakness of Georgetown’s schedule until the full slate was released
on Sept. 12. Out of 11 nonconference matches, seven of the Hoyas’ opponents are ranked No. 320 or worse, according to Kenpom.com. Only one of Georgetown’s opponents can be considered a “mid-major,” which is No. 90 Richmond, and the sole Power Five foe is Syracuse, whom the Hoyas have a contractual obligation to play. Compare the Hoyas’ schedule with that of the current crown jewel of the Big East, No. 6 Villanova: The Wildcats are slated to play a primetime matchup against the reigning national runner-ups, No. 18 Gonzaga, as well as likely matchups against nationally-ranked programs such as No. 20 Purdue and No. 3 Arizona in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. In an interview with the Washington Post in August, Ewing revealed his motivation for the Hoyas’ empty-calorie schedule, saying, “the Big East schedule is going to be tough enough to handle. It’s always been tough. It was tough when I was playing. So, you know, you don’t have to play the toughest nonconference schedule.” Ewing’s point, as well as the general view that the Hoyas play a difficult enough schedule through the Big East, does not hold water. As evidenced by the nonconference slate played by Villanova and other rivals, Georgetown is alone among Power Five programs in its approach to scheduling. Georgetown actually puts itself at a disadvantage by loading up on cupcakes in the nonconference, having had fewer
opportunities to play Big-East-caliber opposition by the time conference season rolls around. Furthermore, there is hardly any guarantee that the Hoyas will summarily dispatch their nonconference opponents, as weak as Georgetown’s challengers are. In the last two seasons, Georgetown has dropped early-season games to the likes of Arkansas State, UNC-Asheville, and Radford. Compare that with Georgetown’s recent performance in marquee games, including wins against a Final Four Oregon team and a Sweet 16 team in Wisconsin, and close losses to Maryland and Duke. If anything, it appears that players have had a harder time getting up for so-called guaranteed wins, rather than for the televised matches around Thanksgiving. The Georgetown men’s basketball program has correctly identified its recent issue, which is losing. However, the remedy to losing is not filling the team’s schedule with cream-puff opposition. A balanced schedule, featuring light opposition to go along with motivating matchups, would facilitate the turnaround of Hoya basketball and help fulfill the mission that Ewing & co. have been tasked with: getting fans excited about Georgetown hoops once again.
Santul Nerkar is a Junior in the College. He is a sports writer for the Voice.
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Hoya for Life Patrick Ewing Returns to Revive the Men’s Basketball Team
Patrick Ewing dunks over Virginia center Ralph Sampson during a game in 1982.
Georgetown Sports Information
Patrick Ewing (COL ’85) stepped behind the podium last April to field questions from the media in his first press conference as head coach of the Georgetown University men’s basketball program. National outlets including ESPN, the Associated Press, and Fox Sports broadcasted the event from the Thompson Athletic Center. All the while, the building’s namesake, former head coach John Thompson Jr., sat in the back of the room, eagerly watching his most illustrious former pupil take the reigns of the program they had both legitimized in the early 1980s. Ewing’s career had seemingly come full circle; as the program’s most successful player, he had returned to the place he once called home to replace the son of his former coach, opening a new stage in his career and an opportunity to add to his legacy. This national spectacle was only possible because Ewing faced a similar room of reporters 36 years earlier when he and his family held a press conference at Satch’s Restaurant in Boston. That day in early February 1981, Ewing announced the most influential decision of his career. “After considering all the facts, I have decided to attend Georgetown University.” A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ewing moved to Cambridge, Ma. in 1975 before attending Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. As the nation’s most coveted recruit in 1981, he was often compared to 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell. His seven-foot frame, incredible shot-blocking prowess, and raw aggression made him a potentially program-defining player at a time when John Thompson Jr. and the Georgetown Hoyas were looking to break through on the national level. At that point, the team had earned three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, but had never advanced past the regional final. In spite of this, Ewing chose the Hoyas over local-favorite Boston College and perennial power UNC Chapel Hill. “I chose Georgetown because of the opportunity it will give me to get an education and play basketball,” Ewing told
By Tyler Pearre Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post during his second semester. “I guess people can believe whatever they want about a person. I’m not going to worry about them. I’m just going to try to make the best of my years at Georgetown.” His aggression on the court meshed perfectly with Thompson Jr.’s bruising style of play, which was based on a frenetic pace, scrambling defensive traps, and physical domination. All seven feet of Ewing’s long and muscular frame made him ideal for the system, and the freshman made an immediate impact. He averaged 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 3.2 blocks per game and Georgetown went on to claim the Big East tournament crown. The Hoyas advanced to the 1982 National Championship game but fell just short of victory to future superstar Michael Jordan and his North Carolina Tar Heels. Ewing’s domination continued through the following three seasons as he led Georgetown to the program’s only national championship in 1984, as well as the 1985 National Final, where the team lost to Big East rival Villanova, 6664. In his college career, Ewing averaged 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game in a program-record 143 game career. He graduated from Georgetown as the most decorated men’s basketball player to ever don the blue and gray. He guided the team to three Final Fours, one National Championship, and was a three-time consensus First Team All-American selection (1983, 1984, 1985). His senior season, he was named the Naismith College Player of the Year. His rapid rise to the forefront of collegiate basketball was matched by the equally swift expansion of Georgetown’s cultural presence across America. With Thompson Jr. directing traffic from the sideline and Ewing towering over everyone on the court, Georgetown seemed bigger than basketball. Thompson Jr.’s fearless and unapologetic demeanor struck a chord around the country, as did his players’ physicality. Never before had a black head coach and a black star
player achieved such a consistently high level of success at the collegiate level, and people were taking note. Georgetown apparel, including the iconic Starter jacket, became a staple in pop culture. “When the team is successful, the university is successful. I think all of that [the Starter jackets] showed how dominant we were,” Ewing said at the team’s media day. Following his graduation in 1985, Ewing was drafted first overall by the New York Knicks. At the professional level, he terrorized opposing teams just as he had at Georgetown. He guided the Knicks to 13 consecutive playoff seasons and two NBA Finals appearances. In his 17-year career, he averaged 21.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game en route to a 2008 Hall of Fame induction.
With Thompson Jr. directing traffic from the sideline and Ewing towering over everyone on the court, Georgetown seemed bigger than basketball.
Ewing retired from playing in 2002 and immediately entered the coaching world, earning a job as assistant coach for the Washington Wizards later that year. He then moved to Houston for three seasons before taking a job as an assistant coach in 2007 with the Orlando Magic. Ewing showed promise as an assistant, helping one of the league’s brightest young stars, Dwight Howard, develop into the most imposing center in the NBA. If Georgetown was where
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Ewing proved his ability as a player, Orlando was where he demonstrated his coaching acumen. While Ewing achieved success in Orlando, John Thompson III crafted some magic of his own 847 miles north in the nation’s capital. Thompson III, who inherited the program five years after his father’s resignation and subsequent retirement, recreated a new brand of Georgetown basketball. This new brand built on the aggressive play of his father’s former teams but paired with his own Princeton offense. In just three seasons, he took the losing program he had inherited to the 2007 Final Four for the first time since Ewing’s senior season. The following year, Thompson III led the Hoyas to a 28-6 record.
For long-time college basketball fans, the words ‘Georgetown’ and ‘Ewing’ conjure a very specific image: unapologetic, hard-nosed, bruising basketball. In 2008, the 1984 Georgetown championship team was again operating at the top of the basketball world, with Ewing on the fast track for a head coaching job in the NBA and Thompson Jr. watching his son lead the program to the Final Four. But things took a steady turn for the worse at the end of the decade. Despite successful regular seasons, which included a stellar 25-6 campaign in 2012-13, Thompson III was unable to lead the Hoyas out of the first weekend of NCAA Tournament play following the 2007 Final Four run. For Ewing, the waiting game in the NBA was unending. As numerous head coaching vacancies opened, Ewing was repeatedly overlooked. Mediocrity became the norm for the Hoyas, and waiting became the norm for Ewing. Two straight losing seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17 erased Georgetown’s status as a nataional power, and Thompson III was fired on March 23. The hole he left, however, presented an opportunity for Ewing: the chance to finally be a head coach, albeit at the collegiate level. But the opportunity was bittersweet for the man who had spent four years of his life playing for Thompson Jr. “You know, it’s funny because I felt like I got fired … I felt for [Thompson III],” Ewing said at his introductory press conference. “I’ve known him since we both were young growing up. I remember us growing up playing in McDonough [Arena] when we were both young. The fact that he got fired, you know, it hurt.” Ultimately, Ewing applied for the vacancy, potentially spurning his dream of coaching in the NBA. Ten days after Thompson III had been fired, Ewing was officially hired as head coach of the program he had helped build three decades prior. “Yes, I wanted to be a NBA coach. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to that point in my career, but I thought this was a great opportunity and I took full advantage of it,” Ewing said. “I think if it was any other university, I wouldn’t be doing this. But it’s my alma mater. It’s Georgetown. I’m a Hoya.” For long-time college basketball fans, the words “Georgetown” and “Ewing” conjure a very specific image: unapologetic, hard-nosed, bruising basketball. While he has been entrusted with elevating average teams in the past, the challenge the former center now faces as head coach at Georgetown is
two-fold—he must not only return the program to its winning ways, but also restore the brand that he created as player. While it won’t be an easy task, Ewing has made it clear that he is both eager to revive the program and ready for the unique challenges that come with coaching at the collegiate level. “I don’t see the college game any different than the NBA game. X’s and O’s is X’s and O’s. It’s all about teaching them how to play. There’s no difference. It’s all about putting them in a system and getting them to execute that system,” Ewing said at the team’s media day. “Right now, I’m not even thinking about the NBA or to prove anybody wrong. All I’m thinking about now is that I’ve been given an opportunity and I want to be as successful as I was as a player. That’s how successful I want to be as a coach.” Ewing will have to draw upon his 14 years of experience in the NBA coaching ranks if he wants to bring tactical changes to the team. In the months since his hire, he has repeatedly stated his intentions to bring a more up-tempo, “NBA-style” offense, as well as a more hectic, trapping defense to the Hilltop. But tactical changes alone won’t save the diminished program. It seems that Ewing is drawing inspiration from Thompson Jr. in his efforts to rebuild. Much like Thompson Jr., Ewing scheduled an incredibly weak nonconference schedule, hoping to improve the team incrementally before the Big East schedule begins. He has also revitalized the program’s focus on recruiting within the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas. Georgetown once monopolized rising local talents but has since lost ground to local-rival Maryland. “We need to get back to the way it was: No one liked us; Hoya Paranoia; smacking people around,” Ewing said. “I remember when we had things rolling here, none of the great players in this area were able to get out of D.C. when coach [Thompson Jr.] was at the helm. That’s my job, to make sure that these great players want to stay home.”
Ewing once dominated the college basketball game, building the Georgetown program with every rebound, every block, and every dunk. But in what will be the toughest task of his career, Ewing can’t rely on his own athletic abilities to lead the team back to its peak. Ewing once dominated the college basketball game, building the Georgetown program with every rebound, every block, and every dunk. But in what will be the toughest task of his career, Ewing can’t rely on his own athletic abilities to lead the team back to its peak. Rather, he must draw upon his background as both a player and a coach to save a program struggling to stay afloat. He has garnered national attention for his efforts thus far, but it will all be for naught if he can’t produce wins from the bench. “People could call me the greatest Hoya ever but, as you know, if I don’t win … there’ll be another coach here sooner or later,” he said. “We just take it at a day by day, step by step, laying the foundation. We’ll see what happens in the future. But, you know, our shield is still bright.”
Ewing recreates the iconic image of his holding a Georgetown pennant above his head, which was made famous after he committed to the school in 1981.
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
James Howard Finds His Home: The Well-Traveled Coach Guides Women’s Basketball By Jorge DeNeve
Georgetown Sports Information
When D.C. native James Howard steps onto the court for Georgetown women’s basketball’s first game against Howard University, it will mark a timely promotion for the journeyman coach who has served at nine programs over the course of his career. Howard hopes his second stint at Georgetown will continue to lead the team into the national spotlight for years to come, completing a remarkable turnaround for a program he has coached as an assistant and associate in the past. Georgetown women’s basketball was a struggling program just three years ago. In the 2014-15 season, the Hoyas finished the season 4-27, winning only two Big East games. That season was the first for former head coach Natasha Adair, who added 16 wins in her second year before the season ended in heartbreak in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The next year saw more improvement for the Hoyas, who finished 17-13 and even hosted a first-round WNIT game. Georgetown couldn’t get past the first-round hump, but the program was stable once again. During Adair’s tenure, the team fed off of her energy. The coach was often standing and clapping, encouraging her players, bending her knees as if ready to spring onto the court herself. McDonough Arena was the perfect place for the team to play. With the arena’s low ceiling and bleachers right on top of the court, noise from the crowd didn’t travel far to the floor. When a crowd built up, the building stayed loud. Georgetown’s remarkable turnaround under Adair caught the attention of the University of Delaware, a consistent women’s basketball powerhouse. In May, Adair made the move to Newark to coach the Blue Hens, leaving Georgetown to look for a new head coach. As it turns out, her replacement was already on the bench. In June, Howard stepped into the head coaching job with the Hoyas after serving as associate head coach under Adair during her tenure. Georgetown has gone a combined 3327 since Howard joined the staff for his second stint on the Hilltop. Now in his first head coaching position in 20 years, Howard is adjusting to his new job. “I think the biggest difference is the everyday managing of the office and the other stuff that comes outside of basketball,” Howard said. “From the basketball side, I think, I’m at home. It’s my safe haven to be on the court teaching and getting prepared for the upcoming season.” For the coach, the game itself has been the only constant. Howard has coached in some capacity at eight different schools since his career began in 1987 as a student assistant at Greensboro College. He moved to Wesley College as the men’s assistant coach in 1989 before switching to the women’s game in 1991. He was the head coach of Wesley’s women’s program through 1997, posting a winning record over his six-season tenure. The next year, he joined the staff at Georgetown for a oneyear stint on the Hilltop and remained in the DMV area for the next few years. He coached at the University of Maryland for two years and George Mason University for the following seven, before a year at Delaware State. He returned to D.C. a
year later in order to work with former Georgetown assistant coach Niki Reid Geckeler at Howard University. Together, the two coaches recruited players that would lead the Bison to a record wins total (24) and the program’s first ever post-season appearance. Howard then decided to move down south, coaching at Bethune-Cookman University. He spent four years with the Wildcats, including three as associate head coach before returning to Georgetown as Adair’s associate. Through his travels, Howard’s coaching methods include influences from junior college coaches like Jim Wentworth at Wesley, as well as Florida Gulf Coast’s head coach Karl Smesko, who was also an assistant with Howard at Maryland. As a counselor at Villanova, Howard learned from Wildcat great Rollie Massimino, who led Villanova to a national title in 1985. Now his former colleagues are more than past influences. Reid Geckeler is once again an assistant coach on the Hilltop, this time working under her former associate head coach from their time on the other side of the city.
Georgetown women’s basketball—we want to be the DePauls of the Big East, the Marquettes of the Big East. We don’t want to settle for NITs. We want to settle for NCAAs. We don’t want to settle for just the round of 32. We want to see if we can knock down the door and put something more significant up. ... Dream big. That’s our goal. “That’s where my experience comes from, because the game doesn’t change,” Howard said. “The teaching of everyday fundamentals is what makes the kids better.” But Howard isn’t just teaching the fundamentals anymore. As head coach, Howard no longer spends all his time working with the players individually. “They know that there’s other staff that is there to develop their talent as well,” Howard said. “Sometimes I miss that because I was on the court sometimes all day long just trying to get an individual to develop their talent.” As associate head coach, Howard was able to add much of his own input to Adair’s system, making the transition to
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
a new head coach easier on the players. Howard still believes in letting the defense create offense, so his team will be just as dependent as Adair’s on getting stops and pushing the basketball up the court. Howard has coached most of the players on his roster for the past two years and knows each of their skillsets. More importantly, they know what to expect from him, even though they didn’t anticipate having a new coach this year. “Initially, it was a sudden thing,” senior guard DiDi Burton said. “But luckily, we got a coach like Coach Howard, who really knows what he’s doing. He’s doing great.” Beyond his work on the court, Howard has used his experience in recruiting to close in on five players that are set to sign their National Letters of Intent to play for Georgetown. Howard was determined to find players that fit Georgetown’s style and philosophy.
If you see me sitting a lot that means the game must be under control. “I’ve been a recruiter all my life, from being a head coach at a Division III school having to recruit without scholarships and being able to sell both yourself and that university,” Howard said. “I always believed that once you get to a university or the Division I level where you have scholarships, I just think it’s identifying, at that point, what student athlete fits the mission statement here at Georgetown and that’s academics and athletics.” Howard is a self-described “player’s coach.” He understands that correcting individual errors is not always the best course of action in the heat of the moment. During the game, he strives to get his players to play at their highest level and spends time finding the best way to motivate each one individually. He doesn’t want to lose a player for the rest of a game by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, and he sees that as one of the reasons the players recommended him for the job opening in May. “Encouragement instead of constructive criticism I think will help me in the long run, and I think that’s what our players liked about me,” Howard said. That doesn’t mean, however, that Howard isn’t active during games. He doesn’t simply stand up on the sideline to look the part; he moves to better see the action on the court. Howard feels that some coaches prepare solely based on the scouting report and let the game run its course. He stands so that he doesn’t have to rely on just the scouting report and continues to make adjustments to his team’s game plan over the course of the contest. “If you see me sitting a lot that means the game must be under control,” Howard said. In practice, Howard attempts to balance the need to refine each individual’s skills and improve the team’s overall play. A puzzle won’t come together with faulty pieces, and similarly, the team won’t function if the players struggle with the fundamentals. Adding new skills will help a player get to the pros and is always valuable for the team, so he ensures players have time for individual work where they develop. But Howard’s main job is to facilitate better team basketball. “Being able to run that offense at pace, being able to make that pass on an angle, being able to shoot that open shot and
hold your form on the release: That’s more about the team,” Howard said. “When you have that team time, you work on the team’s individual work.” Howard is also constantly looking for new material to bring to his players. He wants fresh ideas, picking details from other teams and implementing them into his own system, always keeping the players on their toes. He doesn’t work on the same concept two practices in a row, but instead will revisit a concept or routine from three days prior. “I always look to try to tweak other people’s stuff and make it my own in a way. I think that keeps in your brain, and it keeps you engaged in the game. I believe if you’re engaged, you can make a difference because [for] your players, it doesn’t get old,” Howard said. “When it becomes stale, they shut down.” One of these tweaks has been teaching a zone defense. Howard has tried different lineups in practice to find what works best for his team and likely will continue to experiment as the season approaches. He is working the freshmen into the fold, having used the summer to get them ready for the rigors of college basketball so that they’re ready for the faster pace. But the basic tenets of what made Georgetown women’s basketball a formidable opponent under Adair won’t change with Howard. “We have the same core values, and we have to stick to them. Coach Adair did a great job establishing that foundation and Coach Howard was definitely a big contributor,” senior guard Mikayla Venson said. Building on Adair’s foundation, Howard plans to make Georgetown women’s basketball a top program. He wants to take the next step from a stable basketball team to an elite program. “Georgetown women’s basketball—we want to be the DePauls of the Big East, the Marquettes of the Big East. We don’t want to settle for NITs. We want to settle for NCAAs.
Howard instructs his players from the sideline during a game.
We don’t want to settle for just the round of 32. We want to see if we can knock down the door and put something more significant up,” Howard said. “Dream big. That’s our goal.” His project begins at home on Nov. 14 against Howard University. But the real test will come in Big East play, where DePaul and Marquette sit in the top 25 of the USA Today preseason rankings and the coaches poll. For Howard to build
Being able to run that offense at pace, being able to make that pass on an angle, being able to shoot that open shot and hold your form on the release: That’s more about the team. When you have that team time, you work on the team’s individual work. an elite program, those are the games in which his team must compete. For Howard’s plan to succeed, the team has to be better than .500 in the Big East. “My philosophy is ‘if you build it, they will come.’ Field of Dreams all the way. So, that’s our plan. We’re gonna build it,” Howard said. Adair laid the foundation; the next steps will come under Howard’s supervision.
Georgetown Sports Information
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Ewing and His Hoyas Look to Usher in New Era of Men’s Basketball By Beth Cunniff As the buzzer sounded at the end of the first game of the 2017 Big East Tournament, sophomore forward Marcus Derrickson’s last chance layup attempt fell off the side of the rim. The Georgetown men’s basketball team’s season was over, ending with a 74-73 loss to historic Big East rival St. John’s. The loss concluded a 14-17 (5-13 Big East) season for the Hoyas, marking their second losing season in as many years. The end of the season brought the end of graduate transfer Rodney Pryor’s short stint on the Hilltop, in which he led the Hoyas with 18 points per game in his final year of eligibility. Three days after Georgetown’s tournament loss, 2017 four-star recruit Tremont Waters asked to be released from his commitment to Georgetown. Ten days later junior guard L.J. Peak, who finished second for the Hoyas, averaging 16.3 points per game, announced that he was declaring for the NBA draft. Just two days following Peak’s announcement, the university fired head coach John Thompson III after 13 seasons with the program. Two weeks removed from the season, the Hoyas had a nearly blank slate. The search for a new coach began immediately, and ultimately Georgetown elected to keep the program within the Hoya family by hiring former Georgetown and NBA legend Patrick Ewing. Ewing had been working as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Hornets and was on the path to become an NBA head coach before the job opened up at his alma mater. The hiring of the seven-foot Ewing was good news for Georgetown’s big men. Junior center Jessie Govan finished
third in scoring for the Hoyas last year, behind Pryor and Peak with an average of 10.1 points per game, and is expected to be the offensive centerpiece for the 2017-18 campaign. “Jessie is one of the keys for our success. If he does not step up and have a great year for us, we won’t be successful,” Ewing said of 6-foot-10 Govan. “I’ve put a lot on his shoulders. I’ve put a lot on his plate.” Govan, along with now-junior Derrickson, will provide the backbone of the Georgetown front court. Derrickson finished fourth in scoring last season, averaging 8.3 points per game. Both Govan and Derrickson came to Georgetown as four-star, ESPN Top 100 recruits, yet have struggled to meet expectations. Govan played behind former center Bradley Hayes, who graduated after the 2017 season, while Derrickson battled injuries for much of his first two seasons. Now, healthy and under the tutelage of one of the game’s dominant big men, these two are expected to be key components of the Hoyas’ offense. “I had to just improve my all around game,” Derrickson said of his focus during the offseason. “Coming into college, not winning for two years, you know, it really motivated me to push myself so I can win this year.” Returners will also lead the backcourt. Sophomore Jagan Mosely and senior Jonathan Mulmore, who shared the starting point guard spot last season, are expected to run an offense that promises to play much faster than in years past. “I have my own style that I wanna play. It’s an up-tempo style. It’s an NBA style,” Ewing said.
Junior center Jessie Govan goes for a layup in the Hoyas’ game against Coppin State.
For a guard like Mulmore, this is a welcome change from Thompson’s preferred Princeton offense that featured a slower style of play focused on sharing the ball and constant cuts to the hoop. “This year, up-tempo ... that’s my style of play,” Mulmore said, “I’m really excited about the season and looking forward to it.” The backcourt will be bolstered by the addition of graduate transfer guard Trey Dickerson and freshman guard Jahvon Blair. Dickerson comes to Georgetown from South Dakota State where he averaged 10.4 points per game with a .404 shooting percentage. Dickerson and Blair are two pieces of Ewing’s first recruiting class, which brought a total of six new faces to the Hilltop. Ewing hopes Dickerson will be a vital cog in the Hoya backcourt. “I’m looking for great players,” Ewing said of his recruiting process. “I want hardworking, great skills, can play multiple positions, big, athletic, can shoot.” Blair is one of four in the freshman class. He is joined by center Chris Sodom and forwards Jamorko Pickett and Antwan Walker. Both Pickett and Walker are four-star wings and D.C. natives who are expected to make an impact on this Hoyas team right away. “We’ve told them a bunch of times we need them to not play like freshmen,” Mosely said. “We need them to come in mature, come in ready, because they’re big parts of the team.” Rounding out Ewing’s first recruiting class is junior guard Greg Malinowski, a transfer from the College of William and Mary, who will be ineligible to play until the 2018-19 season due to the NCAA transfer rule. With plenty of fresh faces, the departure of the team’s two leading scorers, the recent memory of two consecutive losing seasons, and the uncertainty of a new coach, the Hoyas were picked to finish ninth out of 10 in the Big East preseason poll. “Preseason rankings don’t really mean anything,” Govan said of the projections. “It’s all about how you play in any year.” The Big East will continue to be one of the most competitive conferences in college basketball, which provides a rough road for a Georgetown team looking to get back on its feet. While the conference schedule may be tough, Georgetown’s non-conference schedule is filled with mid-major conference opponents who finished the 2016-17 season with some of the lowest Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings in Division I. Despite the low expectations, as a historic powerhouse with a now Hall of Fame NBA player as head coach, this Georgetown team is back in the national spotlight. “I think it’s on everybody,” junior forward Kaleb Johnson said of the media attention on the team. “I think everybody’s excited to see Coach, but they’re also excited about the basketball team and seeing how we’re gonna respond and how we’re gonna come out this year and play.” The last time Ewing was a Hoya he traveled to three Final Fours and brought a national championship trophy home to Georgetown. All eyes are on him and the Hoyas to see if he can restore Georgetown’s place in college basketball’s pantheon. “I had four great, four glorious years here,” Ewing said. “And for however long I’m here, I want to feel the same way until they kick me out.”
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Center of Attention:
Jessie Govan Leads the New-Look Men’s Team By Jonny Amon this, Govan increased his minutes and scoring, averaging 10.1 points per game, making him the third highest scorer on the team behind graduate guard Rodney Pryor and junior guard L.J. Peak. Now, without either of those players, more of Georgetown’s offense will run through the 6-foot-10 center. Govan, a four-star recruit from the Wings Academy in New York City, was always meant to be a focal point of the team. On the recruiting trail, he was courted by basketball powerhouses such as Louisville, Notre Dame, and even Georgetown rival Syracuse. His rookie class included fellow juniors guard/forward Kaleb Johnson and forward Marcus Derrickson, who are also expected to contribute more in the coming year. Johnson noted that he and Govan share an increasing role both on and off the court. “I’ve been here two years already,” Johnson said. “And I think some of the younger guys kind of look to me, as well as Jon [Mulmore], Jessie, and all these guys up here for leadership. So, I think we kind of make up the core group, and we all try to lead the team in the right direction.” This team will need that leadership, given the thin experience of the senior class above Govan. Of the three seniors of the team, only forward Trey Mourning has been with Georgetown his entire collegiate career. Fellow senior guard Jonathan Mulmore and graduate student guard Trey Dickerson are transfers, and senior guard Ra’Mond Hines officially walked onto the team at the beginning of his junior year. Beyond his experience, Jessie Govan has one of the most diverse skillsets on the roster, and is expected to lead the team in points coming into the season. Ewing has been stressing the need for Govan to get off to a strong start. “Coach has been emphasizing [that] when I get the ball, if I get a chance, if I get a one-on-one, he wants me to put the ball in the basket. He sees my scoring ability and my teammates see it as well, so they’re looking for me to lead us this year,” Govan said. And while Govan has established himself as a weapon in three-point territory, he is likely to play more inside the post, thanks to the tutelage of Ewing, an NBA Hall of Famer and one of the greatest big men to ever play the game. Given Ewing’s experience, Govan acknowledged the strength of the advice coming from his new coach. “He’s a no-nonsense coach,” Govan said. “Anything he says, he’s definitely not going to say it the nicest way ... it’s with a purpose. It’s all about taking the message and not listening to how he’s saying, but what he’s saying.” And this year, Ewing’s message is clear: Get the ball to Jessie and let him make a play. The Hoyas are restarting their basketball team, and while Govan is not yet the dominant low post presence that Ewing was, his style fits the modern game. Jessie Govan might not be a bruiser, but he will be looking to leave his mark on men’s college basketball this year.
Georgetown Sports Information
When Patrick Ewing played center for the Georgetown Hoyas, he had one job: dominate inside. Ewing was directed to grab every rebound, pound bodies with opposing centers, and play above the rim. When games got testy, as they often did in the early 1980s, the team counted on Ewing as a physical enforcer any time an opponent entered the paint. Three decades later, the center remains the most important position for Coach Ewing’s Georgetown Hoyas, although junior Jessie Govan will operate in a different manner. Throughout his first two years with the Hoyas, Govan has shown that his offensive prowess extends beyond the 15-foot radius around the rim. Despite limited playing time, Govan shot 50 percent on threes his freshman year before falling back to Earth and shooting a still-impressive 40 percent from behind the arc his sophomore year. While Govan’s play differs from Ewing’s, both are effective styles, and Ewing believes that Govan will be one of the main contributors in an offense he is integrating from his years as an assistant coach in the NBA. “Jessie is one of the keys for our success. If he does not step up and have a great year for us, we won’t be successful,” Ewing said. Despite the attention given to the junior center, this is the first year that Govan will begin the season in the starting lineup. After arriving on the Hilltop, Govan was met with lofty expectations, and fans speculated he might start at center, an open position at the time. In the first few games, however, Govan played behind Bradley Hayes, a senior on the team who made limited contributions over his first three years. When Hayes began the 2015-16 season with a handful of promising displays, Govan stayed on the bench as a backup. A few weeks into the season, Hayes injured his hand in practice and underwent surgery. Suddenly, Govan was thrust into the starting five in the middle of Georgetown’s first losing season under former head coach John Thompson III. “I just had to be ready,” Govan said in the aftermath. “Everybody has to be ready. Everybody has to because Brad was such an important part to this team, so we’ve just got to step it up until he gets back. I’ve been playing a good amount of minutes to where I’m comfortable on the court with these guys. I’m just ready to step in there and make an impact.” At the conclusion of the 2015-16 season, it was clear that some changes needed to be made. Fans were hopeful that with a year of experience under his belt, the next three seasons would feature the growth of Jessie Govan as a staple of the team. Then, at the end of the year banquet, Thompson announced that Hayes had received a medical redshirt, and would be eligible for a fifth year in a Hoyas uniform. Govan would once again be left coming off the bench behind the graduate student. Despite
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Time to Contend:
By Umar Asif
Women’s Basketball Sets Sights on NCAA Bid The Georgetown women’s basketball team is ready to take the next step. It is hard to believe that the program is just two seasons removed from a horrid 4-27 finish to the the 2014-15 campaign. Former head coach Natasha Adair, who helped turn the team around in her three-year tenure with the Hoyas, departed the program for the same position at the University of Delaware. The Hoyas found their replacement in associate coach James Howard, who seems primed to continue Adair’s work. A collaborative relationship between the two coaches laid the groundwork for a smooth transition. Rather than ignore the past and begin anew, Howard has embraced the successes of Adair’s tenure while looking to build upon them. “It will be a little change but for the most part, because I was blessed by Coach A to implement a lot, we will be able to continue to build off what we have done in the past,” Howard said. The team finished last year with a 17-13 record, good for sixth in the Big East and a National Invitational Tournament (NIT) bid, but Howard expects even greater things this season. While the tournament is clearly on his mind, it is clear that the team will need to work tremendously hard to reach the heights he desires. “We’re hoping that this year maybe it’s not the NIT, maybe it’s the NCAA. But it’s going to take a lot of time, commitment, health, and chemistry to get us there,” Howard said. Georgetown faces tough competition in the Big East conference where the team sits at fifth place in the preseason rankings. After struggling in conference play last year, finishing with a 9-9 record, the Blue & Gray will need to step up if they wish to become a leader in the Big East. Fortunately, Howard has been eyeing the necessary adjustments for the team to improve. “I think the biggest thing going forward is that we come together as a team defensively and that we communicate and we are tough,” he said. This emphasis on defense is evident in Howard’s chosen practice schedule. After working on offensive fundamentals for
a half-hour, the focus switches sharply to defense. “The next hour-and-a-half is based on defense,” Howard said. “We are doing the next 30 minutes of defensive shells.” Establishing a strong defensive identity has required some new schemes, namely zone defense. “I’ve played zone before. It’s kind of different but we’ve been working on it every day in practice so I’m getting adjusted to it,” junior guard Dionna White said. That adjustment will be a key factor if the team is going to get stops against the heavy hitters in the Big East. Though the emphasis has been on the defensive end, the Hoyas have proven their ability on offense. Led by White, who averaged 15.2 points per game last year and captured second team All-Big East honors, the team has a variety of scoring weapons. The addition of newly eligible senior guard Mikayla Venson is a major asset for Georgetown. Venson set the single season three-pointers record before transferring from the University of Virginia.
We’re hoping that this year maybe it’s not the NIT, maybe it’s the NCAA. But it’s going to take a lot of time, commitment, health, and chemistry to get us there. “We’re looking forward to Mikayla and her ability to shoot the ball from outside but also her ability to put it on the floor and get to the basket,” Howard said. “We think that she’s going to open up a lot of different options for other players.” The trio of Venson, White, and senior guard DiDi Burton
Georgetown Sports Information
will excite fans and irritate opposing defenses. Howard has considered running a lineup featuring the three at various points during the game or even starting all three. “We are looking at different lineups to see what’s best, but that’s not a bad idea,” Howard said. A strong freshman class, headlined by forward Tatiana Thompson, will be pivotal for the team’s success. “[Thompson] has the ability to make a major impact here during her four years at Georgetown in the Big East Conference,” Howard said. Howard also touted the development of freshman center Breonna Mayfield and freshman guard Lexi Kimball, while acknowledging that they may need some time to develop. “I think they’re all working on the speed of the game right now,” he said. The Hoyas will be without forward Faith Woodard this season, who graduated after last season. Woodard averaged 14.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game last year, and will be difficult to replace. However, Coach Howard sees a greater contribution coming from senior forward Cynthia Petke and Thompson’s growth as a way to fill that hole. “I think [Petke] could be the sleeper in the Big East this year, barring no injuries,” Howard said. “Something inside me is telling me Cynthia is ready for that breakout year.” The team benefits from the presence of upperclassmen who have experience in postseason play, who Howard expects to fill leadership roles. “I think that’s really important just because they have the experience to coach the younger players,” White said. “With a new coach it can be hard trying to adjust, so having that person you can talk to other than a coach is very helpful.” Above all, Howard has a vision for the program that begins with this season. “Long-term vision is to put it back on the top,” he said. “We don’t want to settle for just the round of 32. We want to see if we can knock down the door and put something more significant up, maybe a Sweet Sixteen.”
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
All Eyes on Her: Dionna White Leads Team on Both Sides of the Ball By Aaron Wolf When coaches convened at the annual Big East women’s basketball media day in New York City last month to name their picks for the preseason all-conference team, at least one choice was a mere formality. Georgetown junior guard Dionna White—who last season finished fourth in the conference in scoring, first in steals, and was named second team All-Big East—was unanimously selected to the preseason All-Big East team this year. The selection was no surprise to Hoya fans who witnessed their star guard dominate the competition for the last two seasons. White has long been heralded as a defensive maestro. Back in high school at Milford Mill Academy in Baltimore, Md., she regularly preyed on outmatched offensive players. Mike Mohler, head coach of rival Catonsville High School, has described how difficult it was trying to score on White. “She’s totally a game-changer on defense. One of our rules is ‘if you’re handling the ball and Dionna’s on you, give it up right away,’” he said in a 2015 interview with the Baltimore Sun. In college, she has averaged an astounding 2.9 steals per game during her two-year career and last year surpassed the second highest steals finisher in the conference by 48. White credits her coaches for her initiative on defense. “My coaches always told me to not be too laid back,” she said. “Take it any time you can.” But White also excels on the offensive end. As a freshman,
I’m just trying to become more of a leader, talking a little bit more off the court, just trying to tell the rest of my teammates— the younger ones—my experience and be an example to follow,” White said. “Not necessarily talking, just leading by example. she averaged 14.5 points per game, tied for first place on the team. Last year, she increased that average to 15.2 points per game by expanding her shooting range, nearly doubling her three-point total from her first season. While White is ready to step into the spotlight and become a nationally-recognized player, this season will surely bring its challenges as both she and her team undergo major transitions. This offseason, Georgetown named James Howard the new
women’s basketball head coach, replacing Natasha Adair, who departed for the same position at the University of Delaware after three years in charge of Georgetown’s program. White, who was close with Adair, will have to move on from a coach that had a considerable impact on her maturation as a player. Their relationship began well before White had even chosen to attend Georgetown. “She recruited me while she was at Charleston,” said White, referencing Adair’s previous tenure at the College of Charleston. “So, when she came here it was good for me just because we were closer and I knew her.” Their rapport extended onto the court, as White credits Adair with aiding her adjustment to the college game. “I knew how she coached and she also knew how I played,” White said. “So when I got here she kind of coached me, making my game fit towards the college level.” This collaboration between a determined player and a nurturing coach led to two straight winning seasons. This stood in stark contrast to the team’s previous streak of three consecutive losing campaigns. White hopes to continue this improvement, but it remains to be seen how well she will gel with her new head coach. Howard was an associate head coach for the last two seasons and, as an internal hire, he already has experience working with the players on the roster. A large part of his new job will be determining how to best utilize his star guard. Howard had high praise for White and her teammate, senior guard DiDi Burton. “They are two young women from Baltimore that have a tough mentality,” he said. “When they come on the floor, we all know that their speed is really great, and it really helps us because they can push the ball.” For White, transitioning to a new head coach halfway through her college career is difficult in its own right, but now she must simultaneously adapt to a new role now as an older player on the team. “I’m just trying to become more of a leader, talking a little bit more off the court, just trying to tell the rest of my teammates—the younger ones—my experience and be an example to follow,” White said. “Not necessarily talking, just leading by example.” Despite all the potential distractions, White is keeping her mind focused on her performance this season. When asked about a weaker area of her game that she wanted to improve, White was clear. “I want to work on just not getting in foul trouble,” she said. “We don’t have as many players as we had before, so just being able to stay on the floor and not get into foul trouble will be a big priority of my game.” Last season, she averaged 2.8 fouls per game and fouled out four times. This recognition of a specific weakness in her game demonstrates White’s maturation over the course of her Georgetown career. White has a full understanding of the immense opportunities this season presents. She has a chance to contend for Big East Player of the Year, but she also knows not to get ahead of herself. “It’s all about what you do during the season.”
Georgetown Sports Information
NOVEMBER 10, 2017
Meet the New Guys
By Jayan Hanson and Jake Maher
Jahvon Blair “Juggy,” the first commitment of the Patrick Ewing era, is one of several reinforcements to the Hoyas’ backcourt. The 6-foot-3 point guard out of Ontario was a productive two-way player at the Athlete Institute Prep, averaging 23.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Despite his scoring prowess, Blair contests that his best skill is his passing ability. “I’m at the best of my game in the open floor being able to push the ball on fast breaks because I’m great at creating a play
for myself and my teammates,” Blair said. His selfless mentality makes him an ideal fit for an offensive scheme, which will emphasize a quick passing game to get the ball to the team’s best shooters and big men on the block. Although Blair may not start right away, Coach Ewing will certainly rely on him to contribute points and assists off the bench and hopes he will be an integral part of the Georgetown team for years to come.
Jamorko Pickett Going into this summer, it looked like Pickett, a D.C. native and the 55th-ranked high school senior in the nation according to Scout.com, would be headed down south to play for the Ole Miss Rebels. In late July, though, he was released from his letter of intent and committed to Georgetown over local rival Maryland. This was quite the triumph for the Hoyas and reenergized media attention to the team. Scout went on to rank Pickett as No. 1 on its
“Top Five Big East Basketball Impact Freshmen” list. The 6-foot-9 swingman has all of the physical and mental tools to quickly become a key contributor, from his 7-foot-4 wingspan to his even-keeled attitude. Pickett will bring a powerful two-way presence to the Hoyas and has the potential to adjust quickly to the college game. Expect him to contribute right away.
Antwan Walker Antwan Walker is another freshman from whom Coach Ewing will be expecting immediate production. Walker, a D.C. native and John Thompson III recruit, attended Hargrave Military Academy, a perennial high school/prep-program powerhouse located in Southern Virginia. While Coach Ewing will heavily rely on Pickett in the attack, Walker, standing at 6-foot-9 and weighing in at 230 pounds, will look to contribute more to the Hoyas’ defensive play and rebounding. Ewing
expects Walker to make the biggest impact with his stellar defensive and rebounding dexterity. “Do the things I want you to do, which are defense and rebounding,” Ewing said to Walker, “and you will play.” Expect Walker to provide hard-nosed, “Ewing-era” Big East physicality off the bench this season, further strengthening the Hoyas’ front court.
Chris Sodom Chris Sodom enters the 2017 season as Georgetown’s only seven-footer, adding more depth and length to the Hoya backcourt and providing a true backup to junior center Jessie Govan. Sodom is originally from Kaduna, Nigeria, but he attended high school at Tennessee Preparatory School in Memphis. Coach Ewing anticipates Sodom will use his height to protect the
rim and to help bolster the Hoyas’ rebounding ability. His length alone warrants playing time and makes him a mismatch for anyone attempting to guard him in the paint. Sodom is not expected to start, but he could play the 5 in a big lineup and make significant contributions off the bench.
As the oldest member of the team, 23-year-old Trey Dickerson has years of experience to offer Georgetown basketball, both on and off the court. He’s taken an unusual path to the Hilltop, beginning his career in junior college before transferring to Iowa in 2014. He then sat out for a year in order to transfer a second time to South Dakota. After leading the Coyotes to their first ever Summit League title, Dickerson decided to transfer once again—this time to Georgetown, where he is immediately eligible to play as a graduate student.
Dickerson, who earned Summit League All-Newcomer Team honors by averaging 10.4 points and 2.8 assists per game last season, will bring a much-needed spark to the Hoyas’ offense, which lost its top two scorers in guards, Rodney Pryor and L.J. Peak. In addition to contributing offensively off the bench, he firmly believes that he can provide the relatively-young Georgetown team with leadership as well, saying that he’ll “take [the younger players] under [his] wing and be there for them.”
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
Meet the New Gals
By Annie Coyne and Devon O’Dwyer
Tatiana ThompsoN Tatiana Thompson will join the Hoyas as a forward hailing from Winter Haven, Fla. At Winter Haven High School, she was a captain and four-year starter who averaged 10.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in her senior year. Thompson has already stood out to Coach Howard as a key newcomer in the Hoyas’ rotation for next season. “[Tatiana] has the ability to make a major impact here during her four years at Georgetown in the Big East Conference,” Howard said. “She’s a high
skilled player at six-foot, and I think the fans will enjoy watching her play,” Thompson will also attempt to fill the role of former forward Faith Woodward, a key player who graduated last year and averaged 7.8 rebounds per game in her senior season. “I think Tatiana Thompson is going to be really strong for us, she’s a great rebounder and knows how to put the ball in the hole. We’re happy to have her,” said senior guard Mikayla Venson.
Lexi Kimball Lexi Kimball joins the Hoyas from Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Conn., where she scored 1,500 career points to break her high school’s record and was a two-year captain and four-year letterwinner. While the Hoyas have seven other guards on their roster, Kimball is excited to join the team as a major shooting asset. When Kimball signed her National Letter of Intent in December
2016, former-coach Natasha Adair said that her three-point shot will be a crucial addition to the team’s offensive play. “She’s a shooter and we’re working with her each and every day for her to be able to shoot at a high capacity,” Howard said. Off the court, Kimball also played varsity soccer in high school and was a member of the honor roll and Model UN.
Breonna Mayfield Breonna Mayfield is a strong addition to the team’s frontcourt as a 6-foot-5 center. At Our Lady of Good Counsel in Clinton, Md., she averaged 10.2 rebounds per game as a junior. She was also a senior captain and a two-year starter. Mayfield also played AAU ball with D.C. Future and in the 2017 Buffalo Wild Wings Roundball Classic. She could be an important component to the team as they focus
on strengthening their defensive prowess. Originally recruited by Adair, she adds depth to the current talent on the team with her valuable ability to protect the rim, rebound, and alter shots. “From the time she walked in this summer, to where she is today, I have really seen major progress in her and I think she’s going to help us as we move along in the conference,” Howard said of Mayfield’s development.
Sari Cureton Sari Cureton, originally from Walled Lake Western High School in Farmington, Mich., joins the team’s high-powered offense as a forward. In high school, Cureton was three-year letterwinner, two-year starter, and senior captain. The talented forward led her team to victory in the district championship in 2017. Off the court, Cureton graduated Summa Cum Laude, received an International Baccalaureate Diploma, and earned a spot in her high school’s Aca-
demic Hall of Fame. On top of basketball, Cureton also played lacrosse. Joining three other players in the frontcourt, including fellow freshman Tatiana Thompson, Cureton has worked to show her skills through the training season to fight for court time. Cureton comes from a strong basketball lineage and follows in the footsteps of her father Earl Cureton, a former Philadelphia 76er and two-time NBA champion.
Mikayla Venson After sitting out all of last year due to NCAA transfer rules, senior guard Mikayla Venson will make her Hoya debut this season. Before Georgetown, Venson played for the University of Virginia, where she was named to the ACC All-Freshman team. As a sophomore, she averaged 15.1 points per game, leading the team in scoring and setting the program record with 70 three-pointers made in a season. In her first season on the court, Venson hopes to play a large leadership role, helping to embody the team’s motto of “We Are One.”
“Just being together, playing together, no one being left behind,” Venson said of the team’s focus this year. Coach Howard believes Venson will add to the team’s already strong transition game alongside starting senior guards DiDi Burton and Dionna White. “I think that chemistry is going to continue to help us this year adding Mikayla Venson,” Howard said. He hopes having the experienced Venson on the active roster will facilitate the Hoyas’ ability to work together on the court. All Photos COURTESY Georgetown Sports Information
Photo Isabel lord; design egan barnitt
Published on Nov 10, 2017