JAMES AKINJO LOOKS TO MAKE THE LEAP TO NATIONAL CONTENTION BY NATHAN CHEN
STANDING OUT: EWING HOPES TO AVOID THE FATES OF OTHER NBA GREATS TURNED COACHES BY AARON WOLF
November 6, 2019 Volume 52 | Issue 6
MEN'S BASKETBALL PREVIEW
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Senior guard Jagan Mosely sizes up his defender at Capital One Arena.
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Menâ€™s Basketball Poised for Most Decisive Season in Recent Memory tristan lee James Akinjo Looks to Make the Leap to National Contention nathan chen Meet the New Guys skyler coffey, lucy cook & eli lefcowitz
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Standing Out: Ewing Hopes to Avoid the Fates of Other NBA Greats Turned Coaches aaron wolf Big East Preview jack mccormick & cam smith
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MEN’S BASKETBALL POISED FOR MOST DECISIVE SEASON IN RECENT MEMORY
T R I S TA N L E E
ast year, the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team entered their season as an afterthought in the Big East, let alone nationally. By most accounts, they exceeded expectations. The Hoyas notched 19 wins overall and finished tied for third in the Big East, after most preseason polls had them in the bottom tier of the conference. The Blue & Gray remained in the hunt for a spot in March Madness up until the Big East Tournament. Despite winning nine conference games, the highest total since 2014-15, the last time Georgetown made the NCAA Tournament, the season ended on a sour note. The Hoyas stumbled in postseason play, suffering a blowout loss to Seton Hall in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals before falling to Harvard in a tight bout in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. In 2019-20, the program’s third year under Head Coach Patrick Ewing, the Hoyas have some unfinished business. With several integral pieces returning and a slew of new faces joining, they are more than capable of making noise in the Big East, returning to the NCAA Tournament, and bringing the program back to national relevance. “We need to win more games in the Big East. We need to make the tournament,” sophomore guard James Akinjo said of the team’s goals. “I feel like if we do that, it goes a long way as far as our individual success also. It all starts with the team.” Everything starts with the team’s sophomore trio of forward Josh LeBlanc and guards Mac McClung and Akinjo, all of whom were named to the Big East AllFreshman Team last season. Akinjo took over last year as the team’s leader on the offensive end and has established himself as an elite floor general and passer, leading the Big East in assists with 5.2 per game. These skills earned him the Big East Freshman of the Year Award. McClung came to Georgetown last year already renowned for his breathtaking dunks, but he quickly showed he was much more than just a freak athlete,
impressing with his flashy ball-handling and natural scoring ability. But despite averaging 13.1 points per game as a freshman, McClung was inconsistent at times, as his scoring was often streaky from game-to-game. LeBlanc excited with his athleticism, massive dunks, and rebounding abilities, leading Big East freshmen with 7.3 rebounds per game, but did not provide as much scoring away from the basket. That said, McClung and LeBlanc were key players and have had an entire offseason to work on their games, so any improvement will elevate the Hoyas that much more. “I’m hoping they continue to improve,” Ewing said. “They made a lot of freshman mistakes last year, but we had to live with that. This year, I’m hoping that they’ll learn from the mistakes and we’re going to be much better for that.”
“THIS YEAR, I’M HOPING THAT THEY’LL LEARN FROM THE MISTAKES AND WE’RE GOING TO BE MUCH BETTER FOR THAT.” Among this year’s newcomers, the most impactful additions may very well be transfers, especially senior center Omer Yurtseven, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer rules. Yurtseven will effectively fill the role of Jessie Govan, who paced the Hoyas with 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last year. In 2017-18 at North Carolina State against stiff ACC competition, Yurtseven averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Like Govan, Yurtseven poses a scoring threat from inside and outside, and if he can provide solid post defense, the Hoyas should be in good shape. “I expect a lot out of him,” Ewing said. “I’m expecting him to continue what he did at N.C. State, the same but better here. I expect him to be a leader not only on the floor but off the floor and to continue his high level of play.”
In addition to Yurtseven, transfers junior forward Galen Alexander and graduate student guard Terrell Allen will provide depth off the bench. Rounding out the starting five alongside Akinjo, McClung, LeBlanc, and Yurtseven is likely to be either senior guard Jagan Mosely or junior forward Jamorko Pickett. Each has earned significant playing time over the last two years. While neither player’s scoring numbers jump off the page, they have become two of the best defenders on the team and are frequently tasked with guarding the opposing team’s top scorers. Other players will be able to provide enough offensive production, so if Mosely and Pickett can be adequate secondary or tertiary ball handlers while playing strong defense, the Hoyas’s starting five could very well stack up against anyone in the Big East. One point of criticism from fans over Ewing’s first two seasons as head coach has been a soft nonconference schedule. To date, he has scheduled just three non-conference games against teams from “Power 5” conferences, none of which were ranked. This year, however, is different. Penn State, Texas, Oklahoma State, Syracuse, and either No. 4 Duke or Cal loom before Big East play begins, ensuring the Hoyas will be battle-tested by the time they travel to Providence on New Year’s Eve. “It’s definitely going to sharpen us, because if we don’t start out fast and well, we’ll dig ourselves into a hole,” Ewing said. “But I think that all the teams that we play prior to the Big East conference games starting will definitely prepare us.” Despite the Hoyas’s potential this year, there has not been much buzz for Ewing’s team around the Big East. In the Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Georgetown was picked to finish sixth despite tying for third in the conference a year ago. The Hoyas remain unranked, though they received 11 votes in the AP Preseason Poll, putting them at 37th in the country. Elsewhere in the conference, Villanova is ranked 10th, Seton Hall 12th, and Xavier 19th, while Marquette, Creighton, and Providence were unranked as well but received 68, 4, and 1 vote, respectively. “I like being the underdog, and that’s fine,” Yurtseven said. “They probably didn’t have bad intentions voting us to sixth, but it is still, on our end, time to prove them wrong.” It’s been a while since the Blue & Gray have entered a season with legitimate aspirations of an NCAA Tournament bid, so this year carries with it some added anticipation for both the team and fans. With three sophomores with seemingly limitless breakout potential, intriguing new additions to the roster, and a coach who’s seen it all, though, there’s no ceiling on what this Hoyas team might achieve. G
photos by john picker; design by josh klein
November 6, 2019
JAMES AKINJO LOOKS TO MAKE THE LEAP TO NATIONAL CONTENTION
N AT H A N C H E N
racking the evolution of James Akinjo’s freshman season is easy: look at what he did against Marquette. The first time Georgetown squared off against the Golden Eagles, on Jan. 15, Akinjo forced difficult shots throughout, including an ill-advised layup in heavy traffic that he missed down the stretch. The result was an ugly 1-for-10 performance. In the second Georgetown-Marquette game, on March 9, Akinjo was a totally different player, draining clutch threes while going toe-to-toe with the Big East’s Player of the Year, Markus Howard. This game was Akinjo’s coming-out party, and his 25-point performance earned him a shoutout from NBA All-Star Damian Lillard. “I feel like when we played Marquette it was early in the Big East, and I feel like, as I started playing more Big East games, I started to get better as the season went on,” Akinjo said of his improvement. “That’s all it was, it was just time.” Over the course of the season, veteran players and coaches alike noticed the growing maturity from Akinjo and the other freshmen. “They’re not as out of control as they were last year. They’re mature, they’re making better decisions for our team,” senior guard Jagan Mosely said. Akinjo came to Georgetown as a four-star recruit from Salesian College Preparatory School, where he averaged 20.7 points and 5.2 assists per game in his senior year. These marks earned him a place on ESPN’s top-100 recruits list, and he was also named the MVP of the 2017 Peach Jam. Scouts viewed him as an aggressive point guard with an allaround game: a very good passer who can create for others, a scoring threat especially on ﬂoaters and 3-pointers, and a relentless defender who can compete with anybody for 40 minutes. “I’m never gonna stop,” Akinjo said. “I’m always gonna be myself. I’m always gonna play hard, be assertive.” Akinjo’s skill set and conﬁdence earned him a spot in the starting lineup for Georgetown’s season opener against Maryland Eastern Shore, and he never looked back. Akinjo appeared in all 33 games, making 32 starts, and he registered double-digit points 24 times over the course of the year. At the end of the season, he had compiled 13.4 points and 5.2 assists per game, shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range. Akinjo’s excellent season earned him a spot on the Big East All-Freshman Team by unanimous vote, as well as the accolade of Big East Freshman of the Year. However, Akinjo had his fair share of setbacks and mistakes at the beginning of the season. Early on, he struggled with turnovers as a result of reckless play. Following the ﬁrst Marquette game, Head Coach Patrick Ewing benched him, forcing him to reﬂect on his decisionmaking and improve in clutch situations. “Last year we struggled to close out games but I think this year, we’re older, more grown-up, so I think we will pull out a lot more
games late in the stretch,” Akinjo said. Throughout it all, Akinjo has continued to put his head down and learn from his mistakes. “He is deﬁnitely one of the hardest working players on this team,” Ewing said. “He’s always in the gym—I have to kick him out. And I expect for all of the work he put in this summer to pay oﬀ.” Akinjo’s fearless mentality certainly paid oﬀ as the season progressed. A signature moment came on Senior Day against Seton Hall, when Seton Hall guard Quincy McKnight slapped the ﬂoor as Akinjo brought the ball up the court, daring the freshman to challenge him. Akinjo responded by exploding past McKnight and ﬁnishing the layup through contact to pull the Hoyas within two points. Retrieving the ball from under his basket, McKnight heard Capital One Arena roar as Akinjo returned the favor, slamming his palms into the hardwood. It was just another reminder that Akinjo is up for any challenge from any defender with the unenviable task of guarding him. Of course, Akinjo is not the only guard from his class who made a signiﬁcant impact on the team. His backcourt partner, Mac McClung, came to the program from Gate City, Virginia with a reputation as a small-town legend and a ﬁerce competitor, and their partnership helped the Hoyas to their most wins since the 2014-15 season. “Our chemistry started over the summer last year, and our games are the perfect contrast. He’s more of an explosive athlete, I’m more of a ﬁnesse, skill type player,” Akinjo said of McClung. “When we’re on, I feel like it’s hard to stop that duo,” McClung added. As they enter their sophomore year, Ewing said he wants Akinjo and McClung to continue to improve their defense and decision-making in key moments. Akinjo himself will also look to cut down on turnovers while maintaining his dynamic style of play. He hounds opponents defensively and attacks the rim with a wide variety of dribble moves. Though he shot 39.1 percent from three, he will try to improve his shot selection, as he shot 36.5 percent from the ﬁeld overall. This season, expect to see the same level of forcefulness and conﬁdence that characterized Akinjo’s promising freshman season, but with fewer turnovers and mental mistakes. Maturity was a constant theme of last season, and Akinjo’s growth as a player will forever be a function of his fearless, take-no-prisoners attitude. “It comes from Oakland,” Akinjo said. “I can take on any guard in the country.” G
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THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
meet the new guys
S K Y L E R C O F F E Y, L U C Y C O O K & E L I L E F C O W I T Z
11 GALEN ALEXANDER
6’6” F O R WA R D
Hailing from Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, Galen Alexander was recruited by current Georgetown Assistant Coach Robert Kirby to Louisiana State University in 2017. At the time, he was a four-star athlete and ranked 79th overall in ESPN’s class rankings, playing for Lafayette Christian Academy. By January 2018, Alexander had signed a letter of intent to transfer from LSU for undisclosed reasons in the midst of a quiet freshman season. But this did not seem to slow Alexander’s basketball motor. He spent his sophomore year playing at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi, where he averaged 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, frequently notching doubledoubles. His knack for rebounding and his shooting efficiency will be welcome additions to the team. As an athletic small forward, Alexander has a shot at filling the hole left by Greg Malinowski and Kaleb Johnson, who both graduated last spring. He is eligible to play immediately and will have two years left with the Hoyas.
5 TIMOTHY IGHOEFE
Timothy Ighoefe was born and raised in Nigeria and attended Africa’s NBA Academy. Despite being Head Coach Patrick Ewing’s first recruit of the 2019 class, not much is known about Ighoefe’s game. His measurables, however, are hard to miss. Ighoefe supplements his towering height of 6’11” with a 7’7.5” wingspan, 8’11” standing reach, and a 10’11” one-step vertical. If nothing else, his size alone will certainly intimidate opponents. In July 2018, Ighoefe and NBA Africa competed in the NBA Academy Games, where Ighoefe scored 14 points and snagged nine rebounds. He will be competing for playing time at center with senior Omer Yurtseven and freshman Qudus Wahab. Ighoefe may not have confronted top talent on the court like many of his teammates have, but he will likely be able to use his size to his advantage and add more shot-blocking to the roster.
15 MYRON GARDNER
6’6” F O R WA R D
Myron Gardner is one of two incoming forwards for the Hoyas, along with Alexander. Gardner is a Detroit native but attended SPIRE Academy in Ohio, playing alongside high-profile point guard prospect LaMelo Ball. In his senior year, he averaged 19.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, and ESPN designated him a four-star recruit, ranking 37th in the nation among small forwards. Gardner boasts an imposing vertical, filling YouTube highlight reels with flashy dunks from his time at SPIRE. With impressive speed and agility for his size, look for Gardner as an exciting transition option for the Hoyas. Gardner shines with his presence on the inside but maintains an impressive mid-range game as well. His position in the Hoyas’s rotation is unknown, as he’ll compete for playing time with both fellow newcomer Alexander and established sophomore forward Josh LeBlanc.
photos courtesy of georgetown athletics
32 MALCOLM WILSON
A Columbia, South Carolina native, Malcolm Wilson adds further depth to the center position for the Hoyas. Listed at 6’11’’ and 205 pounds, he is known for protecting the rim but may need to bulk up in order to succeed in the college ranks. Wilson averaged 6.3 points in his final year at Ridge View High School, when he made the All-State team, but he may provide more of a contribution on the boards; he led Ridge View with 9 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game in the 2018-19 season. A self-proclaimed fan of NBA center Tristan Thompson, Wilson shares much of his skillset—speedy and strong on defense but not a threat from the perimeter. Given the noted competition at center from Yurtseven and Wahab, it’s unlikely Wilson gets many minutes off the bench in 2019-20.
34 QUDUS WAHAB
Qudus Wahab is a four-star recruit hailing from Nigeria who played high school basketball in Oakton, Virginia. ESPN ranked him as the fourth overall recruit from Virginia in 2019. “Qudus is the more advanced of the [three freshmen centers],” Ewing said of Wahab, the final center to be recruited for this season, “He had a great high school career, and I expect him to start his college career off with a bang.” Wahab is athletic and can run the floor well for his size. His offensive game is still developing, but he has key instincts as a shot blocker and will be able to shift the role of center to a more defensive one than former center Jessie Govan offered last season.
44 OMER YURTSEVEN
7 ’0” CENTER
Omer Yurtseven will be playing his first season for the Hoyas as a senior and is expected to be one of the team’s upperclassman leaders. He transferred from North Carolina State last year and sat out the season due to NCAA transfer rules, maintaining two years of remaining eligibility. Yurtseven is originally from Istanbul, Turkey, and played basketball for Fenerbahçe, an elite team in his home country. At Fenerbahçe, he earned his classification as a five-star prospect, making FIBA’s under-16 All-Tournament team in 2014. In 2016, he was named to FIBA’s All-Star Five after Turkey received bronze in the U-20 European Championship. Yurtseven established himself as a force within American collegiate basketball during his sophomore year at N.C. State, averaging 13.5 points on 57.2 percent shooting, while logging 23.8 minutes per game. Like many other recruits, the opportunity to play for Ewing drew Yurtseven to Georgetown. “I don’t see anyone in the country that can do the things that he can do at the position. Shoot the ball from the perimeter, post up, defend, rebound. So I expect a lot from him,” Ewing said.
November 6, 2019
EWING HOPES TO AVOID THE FATES OF OTHER NBA GREATS TURNED COACHES AARON WOLF
siah Thomas. Clyde Drexler. Chris Mullin. Mention these players’ names and memories of their illustrious, Hall of Fame careers easily come to mind. Less likely to be revered: their stints as college head coaches. Thomas, Drexler, and Mullin all had their own forgettable runs at the helms of collegiate programs, going a combined 104177 over their stretches at Florida International, Houston, and St. John’s, respectively. Patrick Ewing is trying to buck that trend. Entering his third year as Georgetown’s head coach, he has put together a 34-29 record thus far, including a five-win improvement in the 2018-19 season after inheriting a struggling program in 2017. “I think it definitely helps,” Ewing said of how his playing experience contributes to his coaching. “Because at one point, I was sitting in their shoes, hearing whatever the coaches had to say to me. I think I relate to a lot of the things they have to go through.” For many teams, there is something fundamentally attractive about a coach who has already earned their stripes in the basketball world. “He walked the walk and he talked the talk,” junior guard Jamorko Pickett said. “He’s been there and he’s definitely dropped that knowledge on us about what it takes to get there.” Ex-players turned head coaches can inject promise into a struggling program, with the hope they will match their previous success on the hardwood in their new role on the sideline, but that aspiration has seldom seen favorable outcomes. One exception is Dan Majerle. Majerle, a three-time NBA All-Star, has coached the Grand Canyon Antelopes for
the past six seasons. He presided over the team’s elevation to Division I in 2013, and the Antelopes have not missed a beat since, securing winning records in five of six years. Majerle represents an intriguing model for Ewing to replicate, but he coaches a newly-promoted DI team in the Western Athletic Conference, not exactly comparable to running one of the country’s most historic programs in the Big East. Perhaps a more appropriate parallel to Ewing is Penny Hardaway, who took over as head coach at Memphis in March 2018 after an NBA career where he was a four-time All-Star. Similar to the Hoyas, the Tigers chose him to lead their program after falling from their former glory, specifically in the 2000s when they were one of the top teams in the country under John Calipari. Like Ewing, Hardaway was a program legend long before he was hired, playing two seasons for the Tigers, including a run to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight in 1992. Now, just one season into his coaching career at Memphis, Hardaway’s efforts have already earned national acclaim. Hardaway boasts a 2019 recruiting class with two five-star recruits, including the number one overall player, center James Wiseman, and five four-star prospects. In just two years at the helm, Hardaway has been able to leverage his connections in the Memphis area and his status as a former NBA great to improve the Tigers’s recruiting class ranking from number 50 in the country before his arrival to first. For comparison, Ewing’s classes have ranked 44th, 31st, and 55th in the three years he has led the Hoyas. While Ewing has secured four-star recruits Jamorko Pickett and James Akinjo, he has not been able to land one of the
photo by john picker; design by delaney corcoran
THE GEORGETOWN VOICE
nation’s elite talents to this point, narrowly missing out on one of last year’s greatest prizes, point guard Cole Anthony. Although Ewing has not been able to capitalize on his prestige in the basketball community to generate recruiting classes to anywhere near the extent that Hardaway has, there are plenty of other avenues through which college coaches can make the most of their status as former standout players. For one thing, the respect he earns in the locker room is immeasurable. While other coaches might struggle to have their players listen and take in what they say, Ewing’s achievements speak for themselves, and his team values the chance to learn from a player of his eminence. “He’s one of those guys, you try to take in everything he says because you know he’s speaking truth, speaking the best for you,” sophomore guard Mac McClung said. “He reminds us every once in a while what he did, but he’s all I could ask for as a coach.” Under Ewing’s leadership, the Hoyas have not immediately become a dominant force in the Big East, but the team has mostly met expectations over the past two seasons. That said, Georgetown’s postseason play last year was a massive letdown, and this season they’ll look to follow through on their season-long efforts in March. 2018’s impressive freshman class was a boon to his resume, but the continued development of those players, along with how well he incorporates the team’s new arrivals, will be critical to both Ewing and Georgetown’s futures. A major factor will be the extent to which he can impart the wisdom he gained through his experiences to his young players. “I played for a lot of great coaches,” Ewing said. “I coached with a lot of great coaches, so all of them have definitely influenced the way that I coach.” Ewing’s wide-ranging basketball experience in different roles and at multiple levels gives him an advantage over other college coaches, but he shares his lengthy tenure in the sport with the other former NBA greats turned coaches. Thomas, Drexler, and Mullin all have played and coached alongside some of basketball’s greatest figures but failed to meet expectations in their coaching endeavors. For Ewing, now going into his third full season at the helm, bringing something different to the table is a necessity. Senior center Omer Yurtseven, who hopes to follow in his coach’s footsteps as a dominant big man for the Hoyas, feels Ewing’s attitude as a player has carried over to his managerial career and now permeates throughout the team. “His grit,” Yurtseven said of Ewing’s distinctive attributes as a coach. “He had energy, effort as a player, and as a coach it just wears off. It’s contagious.” As a player, Ewing was renowned for his toughness and resolve in the face of adversity. He was also known for his unique approach to the game and his commitment to getting the little things right. “His experiences in the NBA also show the attention he pays to the details of the game,” Yurtseven said. “Whatever situation we face, he has a way of approaching it then solving it quickly that I think is going to be huge.” While Ewing has quite a bit in common with coaches who have floundered in the past, there is also much that separates him. The Hoyas hope to continue their upward trajectory as they gear up for year three of the Ewing era. To accomplish that goal, they will need their coach to keep preaching those special qualities that made him an all-time great player. “I just continue to work at it,” Ewing said. “Everyone has to improve, everyone has to get better, and that includes me.” G
big east preview
JACK MCCORMICK & CAM SMITH
2018-19 FINISH: 1
Since 2013-14, Villanova has finished first in the conference every season but 2017-18, when they won both the Big East and NCAA Tournaments. The team lost its leading scorer in Phil Booth, as well as its leading rebounder, Eric Paschall, but the Wildcats nevertheless boast a deep squad and have proven themselves time and time again. Junior guard Collin Gillespie and sophomore forward Saddiq Bey will need to up their games to make up for lost scoring, but the addition of blue-chip freshman recruits forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and guard Bryan Antoine will certainly help. Expect this team to wind up near the top of the conference once again.
2 SETON HALL
2018-19 FINISH: 3
After a close loss to Villanova in last year’s Big East Tournament, the Pirates enter the season with reason to be optimistic. Much of their roster remains, having only graduated Michael Nzei, who averaged 9 points per game. Senior guard Myles Powell, who finished second in scoring in the Big East last season, returns along with junior guard Myles Cale and senior guard Quincy McKnight, leaving Seton Hall a strong backcourt. Combined with junior big man Sandro Mamukelashvili, who led the team with 7.8 rebounds per game, the Pirates are poised to be one of the strongest offenses in the conference. Bank on the Pirates improving on last season’s .500 record and possibly advancing past the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
2018-19 FINISH: 4
Following a dismal first half of last season under new Head Coach Travis Steele, the Musketeers won six of their final seven conference matchups. The difference came from their defense, which slowed the pace of play in their favor. Despite the loss of center Zach Hankins, Xavier retains most of its core roster. The projected starting five (including transfer forward Jason Carter from Ohio University) all averaged double-digit points per game last season. If junior forward Naji Marshall can become accustomed to leading the offense, expect Xavier to make some noise this season.
2018-19 FINISH: 2
2018-19 FINISH: 9
Butler finished at the bottom of the Big East last season with a 7-11 record. Returning is senior guard Kamar Baldwin, who scored 17 points per game and earned Second Team All-Big East honors, and eligible this season is redshirt junior forward Bryce Nze, who transferred from UW-Milwaukee where he averaged 10.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. 7’1” graduate transfer center Derrik Smits will be immediately eligible as well and will bear the brunt of losing big men Joey Brunk and Nate Fowler. Add a full slate of freshman recruits, and despite losing second leading scorer Paul Jorgensen, this year’s Bulldogs are the wild card of the conference.
2018-19 FINISH: 5
The Bluejays posted a 9-9 conference record last year and will return four of their five starters. Under Head Coach Greg McDermott, Creighton has consistently enjoyed a prolific offense, this year led by junior guard Ty-Shon Alexander and sophomore guard Marcus Zegarowski. They have lacked defensive presence, however, a shortcoming exacerbated by the loss of forward Martin Krampelj. Sophomore center Jacob Epperson and transfer senior center Kelvin Jones from Idaho State will look to step up as rim protectors, but both are unproven in their collegiate careers.
2018-19 FINISH: 8
The Friars did not live up to expectations last season, finishing below .500 in conference play for the first time since 2011 and failing to continue their five-year NCAA tournament appearance streak. Even after graduating guard Isaiah Jackson, the team returns many of its top options, including senior guard Alpha Diallo. Providence relies heavily on its defense, which ranked 39th in the nation last year in steals, but will need more offensive firepower to take meaningful strides. Graduate transfer guard Luwane Pipkins from UMass-Amherst may help with scoring, but likely not enough for this team to impact the conference.
9 ST. JOHN'S
2018-19 FINISH: 7
The Golden Eagles are looking to rebound after last season’s disappointing NCAA Tournament first-round exit. Returning is Big East Player of the Year and Second Team All-American senior guard Markus Howard, who averaged a conference-high 25 points per game. However, the team suffered a big loss with the transfers of brothers Sam and Joey Hauser, who posted 14.9 and 9.7 points per game, respectively. To fill in the gaps, Marquette hopes for contributions from transfers junior guard Koby McEwen from Utah State and graduate center Jayce Johnson from the University of Utah.
Head Coach Chris Mullin resigned after St. John’s finished last season just above the bottom of the conference, clumsily handing the baton to new Head Coach Mike Anderson. Questions swirl around this roster with scoring and assists leader Shamorie Ponds off to the NBA, Rasheem Dunn denied eligibility by the NCAA after transfering from Cleveland State, and multiple rotation players transferring schools. Senior guard Mustapha Heron and junior guard LJ Figueroa will not be able to drive the offense on their own, so much of the load will shift to their shaky frontcourt. Expect the Red Storm to start the season under a cloud of uncertainty.
2018-19 FINISH: 6
Last year’s exciting freshman trio of reigning Big East Freshman of the Year James Akinjo, Josh LeBlanc, and Mac McClung return for Patrick Ewing’s third season as head coach. Center Jessie Govan, who led the offense with 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, will not be returning, but 7-foot senior center Omer Yurtseven is now eligible to play after sitting out a year upon transferring from N.C. State. If junior guard Jamorko Pickett can help fill the scoring gap, Georgetown will be able to trot out a formidable starting five. This Hoyas squad is well-positioned to make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2015.
design by sean ye
2018-19 FINISH: 10
After posting a 7-11 record in conference play last year, the Blue Demons face a difficult road ahead. They said goodbye to Max Strus, Eli Cain, and Femi Olujobi, who combined for 45.5 of the team’s 78.4 points per game, and now have no players taller than 6’9”. Scoring responsibility will shift to junior guard Devin Gage and senior guard Jalen Coleman-Lands, who have little experience leading the team. On the upside, junior forward Paul Reed looks like an NBA prospect, and it will be exciting to see him ball with freshman forward Romeo Weems, ranked 46th on the ESPN Top 100. Their lack of experience will likely put DePaul in the bottom tier of the Big East once again. November 6, 2019
0 1 2 3 4 5 10 11
Jahvon Blair Jamorko Pickett Mac McClung James Akinjo Jagan Mosely Timothy Ighoefe Chuma Azinge Galen Alexander
MEN'S ROSTER 12 15 20 22 23 32 34 44
Terrell Allen Myron Gardner George Muresan Jaden Robinson Josh LeBlanc Malcolm Wilson Qudus Wahab Omer Yurtseven 11/6 11/9 11/14 11/17 11/21 11/22 11/30 12/4 12/7 12/14 12/17
vs. Mount St. Mary's vs. Central Arkansas vs. Penn State vs. Georgia State Texas* Duke/Cal* vs. UNC Greensboro @Oklahoma State @Southern Methodist vs. Syracuse vs. UMBC
MEN'S SCHEDULE 12/21 12/28 12/31 1/3 1/8 1/11 1/15 1/18 1/22 1/28 2/2
vs. Samford vs. American @Providence @Seton Hall vs. St. John's @Villanova vs. Creighton vs. Marquette @Xavier vs. Butler @St. John's 2/5 2/8 2/15 2/19 2/22 2/26 3/1 3/4 3/7
*2K Empire Classic
vs. Seton Hall vs. DePaul @Butler vs. Providence @DePaul @Marquette vs. Xavier @Creighton vs. Villanova
photos by john picker
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Brianna Jones Tatiana Thompson Cassandra Gordon Morgan Smith Lexi Kimball Marvellous Osagie-Erese 13 Anita Kelava 14 Jillian Archer 15 21 22 23 24 25 30 33
WOMEN'S ROSTER Nikola Kovacikova Breonna Mayfield Shanniah Wright Tayanna Jones Taylor Barnes Sari Cureton Olivia Snyder Graceann Bennett
11/5 11/12 11/16 11/21 11/24 11/29 11/30 12/6 12/8 12/14
@Davidson vs. Richmond @Pittsburgh vs. James Madison @George Washington @Loyola Marymount @Fresno State @Columbia @Fordham vs. Rider
WOMEN'S SCHEDULE 12/21 12/29 12/31 1/3 1/5 1/10 1/12 1/18 1/24 1/26
@UMES vs. Creighton vs. Providence @St. Johnâ€™s @Seton Hall vs. Xavier vs. Butler @Villanova @Marquette @DePaul
vs. Seton Hall vs. St. Johnâ€™s @Butler @Xavier vs. Villanova vs. DePaul vs. Marquette @Providence @Creighton
design by jacob bilich
1/31 2/2 2/7 2/9 2/16 2/21 2/23 2/28 3/1