Team: Georgetown Hoyas
2017-18 Record: 15-15 overall, 5-13 Big East
2017-18 Big East Finish: Eighth
Final 2017-18 KenPom Ranking: #94
Key Departures: Marcus Derrickson (15.9 points, 8.1 rebounds); Jonathan Mulmore (5.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists)
Key Returners: Jessie Govan (17.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 blocks); Jamorko Pickett (9.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists); Jahvon Blair (9.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists); Kaleb Johnson (7.9 points, 4.2 rebounds)
Key Additions: Greg Malinowski (6’5” guard, transfer from William & Mary, averaged 6.5 points & 3.1 rebounds in three seasons while shooting 39% on threes); #31 recruiting class in the country, #3 in the Big East, including James Akinjo (6’0” point guard, #87 247 Sports Composite) and Josh LeBlanc (6’7” power forward, #121 247 Sports Composite)
Coach: Patrick Ewing, in his second season at Georgetown and overall (15-15)
Outlook: Well, credit where credit is due, I suppose. The point of Georgetown’s terrible non-conference schedule was to allow Patrick Ewing to rack up wins in his first season as head coach, and the Hoyas won every single non-conference game that wasn’t against a top 140 KenPom team. Those 10 W’s propelled the Hoyas to a 15-15 record in Ewing’s first season, so, y’know, yay.
Quite honestly, were it not for turnover problems, Georgetown probably would have had a much better 2017-18 season. The Hoyas were one of the 50 worst turnover teams in the country on offense last year, and they matched that by finishing in the bottom 100 in defensive turnovers, both ranks coming to us via KenPom. Had they been even marginally better, you can’t help but wonder if GU would have finished better than 1-4 in overtime games. They had five other losses that were decided by single digits. A couple of turnovers in either direction here and there, and maybe a few of those nine losses go in the other direction for Georgetown. Maybe, just maybe, the Hoyas aren’t that far away from making some noise in the Big East.
Turnovers or not, Georgetown’s chances of being better than 5-15 in conference play in 2018-19 went way up when Jessie Govan made the decision to return to school for his senior season. The 6’9”, 270 pound New York native is essentially a walking double-double at this point, and the fact that he’s a perfectly acceptable three-point shooter (34.8% last year, 40.4% in his career) just makes the Hoyas a better team. Govan will almost assuredly be on the preseason all-Big East team and, depending on how the coaches feel about various teams in the league this year, I would expect Govan to get a preseason Player of the Year vote or two as well. With Jamorko Pickett and Jahvon Blair coming back after solid freshman campaigns and a quality freshman point guard recruit in James Akinjo, there’s reason for optimism on the Hilltop.