Team: Georgetown Hoyas
2022-23 Record: 7-25, 2-18 Big East
2022-23 Big East Finish: Last for the second straight season, one game behind DePaul
Final 2022-23 KenPom.com Ranking: #219, down from their preseason ranking of #100
Final 2022-23 T-Rank Ranking: #203, down from their preseason ranking of #176
Key Departures: Georgetown has lost their top two scorers and seven of their top eight.
Primo Spears jumped straight into the deep waters from Day 1 at Georgetown and led them in scoring at 16.0 points per game and in assists at 5.3 per night, too. He’s at Florida State now, although since he went from Duquesne to GU last year, I don’t know if he’ll actually play for the Seminoles. Brandon Murray went for 13.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists last year, and he’ll be going from LSU to Georgetown to Ole Miss in successive seasons.
Leading rebounder Qudus Wahab is gone now as well, taking his 7.1 caroms per game and just short of 10 points a night to Penn State. I am glad that I do not have to figure out his eligibility after going GU-Maryland-GU-Penn State in consecutive years. We’ll wrap up our discussion on primary components from last year’s roster with Akok Akok, who appeared and started in 31 of the Hoyas’ 32 games last season — the one he missed was the Big East tournament — and averaged north of 30 minutes a night. 6.5 points isn’t anything super great, but 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks is good stuff. After three years at Connecticut and one in D.C., I presume his August departure from the program and transfer to West Virginia was a graduation decision more than anything else, but it was still a wildly unnecessary storyline in Georgetown’s offseason drama.
Georgetown also loses a trio of rotation guys/part-time starters from last year’s roster. Bryson Mozone played the most minutes out of the group, averaging just short of 20 minutes in 31 appearances. He chipped in 6.6 points and 3.3 rebounds and shot 35% from long range. Jordan Riley gave the Hoyas 16 minutes a night, and that’s kind of about it. Bradley Ezewiro was the least notable guy of the group at 12.1 minutes per night in 27 games, but he did start seven times.
Oh, and in the least surprising news of the entire 2022-23 season, head coach Patrick Ewing was relieved of his duties. The Hoyas played the last of the three games on the first night of the Big East tournament, and within 24 hours, the press release was up on GU’s website. I do want to point out that Georgetown refused to say that they fired Ewing, who is arguably the most important player in program history. The headline is “announces transition in leadership.” The first sentence is “will no longer serve.” I suspected at the time that this meant that they were, in fact, not firing Ewing and moving him to a different role at the university for the remainder of his contract. However, a check of Georgetown’s faculty/staff directory doesn’t turn his name up.
Key Returners: There are two guys of note returning from last year’s roster and just four players total. Jay Heath was GU’s #3 scorer last season, rounding out a trio of players who averaged at least 12 points a night. He also added 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists, and he did knock down 37% of his three-point attempts. That’s useful. Wayne Bristol is the other guy still here. 2022-23 was the first time that Bristol played since the 2019-20 season between injury, COVID shutting down the Howard season, and old timey transfer restrictions keeping him off the court. In any case, he averaged 3.3 points and 1.9 rebounds in 14 minutes a night last season while appearing in 31 games. What’s he up to now? Feuding with the Georgetown program administration about his height and weight measurements on the official team roster.
Fun Fact: Since Hilltop Hoops alerted me to the fact that the roster was up on Wednesday night and Thursday morning when I started writing this, someone at Georgetown edited Bristol’s height and weight back to what it was last year. Everything’s under control, situation normal, just a slight weapons malfunction, but everything’s perfectly alright now, we’re fine, we’re all fine here, thank you, how are you?
Key Additions: There are 11 names on the Georgetown roster that were not there last season.
No word on whether or not Georgetown is filing a waiver with the NCAA to get nametags on the front of jerseys allowed in-game.
According to Hilltop Hoops in late August, five (!) of those names are walk-on players, so we’re just going to skip right past them.
We’ll touch briefly on Rowan Brumbaugh (6’4”, 183 lbs, Guard, Washington, D.C.), who was a top 100 point guard prospect in the Class of 2022, but did not play for Texas last season before transferring to Georgetown and back to his hometown. There’s also Drew Fielder (6’10”, 216 lbs, Center, Boise, Idaho), who appears to be the only freshman on scholarship this season at least according to the roster that Georgetown published on their own website on September 13th. He’s a four-star prospect ranked #130 in the 247 Sports Composite system, and he was originally committed and signed to play at Providence before the coaching change.
Of the four transfers with Division 1 playing experience, it looks like Supreme Cook (6’9”, 229 lbs, Forward, East Orange, New Jersey) has done the most as a guy with a notable role. He’s been a starter for all but 18 of his 91 games at Fairfield, and this past season, he averaged 13.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. He’s never attempted a three-pointer, which is a little bit odd for a guy with his body type. Jayden Epps (6’2”, 187 lbs, Guard, Suffolk, Virginia) was a top 75 prospect when he went to Illinois in the Class of 2022, but after averaging 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.5 assists while starting 11 times for the Illini as a freshman, he’s making his way back to the Atlantic coast area.
You might remember Ismael Massoud (6’9”, 213 lbs, Forward, East Harlem, New York) from his 15 point outing against Michigan State in Kansas State’s overtime win over the Spartans in the Sweet 16 last season. That was, however, his best scoring game of the season as he averaged 5.4 points and 1.7 rebounds in 15 minutes a game for the Wildcats. He’s played for four years already between Wake Forest and K-State, so this will be his only season with Georgetown. Dontrez Styles (6’6”, 212 lbs, Guard/Forward, Kinston, North Carolina) joins Epps in the “former top 75 prospect trying something new” club. He was at North Carolina for two seasons, but that never materialized into a notable role, and his minutes actually took a huge drop as a sophomore when he played in just 15 games for the Tar Heels.
And of course, the most notable and biggest addition to the program.....
Coach: Ed Cooley, entering his first season at Georgetown and 18th as a Division 1 head coach. He has an overall record of 334-222 after his time at Fairfield and Providence.
Outlook: I am somehow less enthused about the Hoyas than I was when I started writing this.
Let’s be clear about what we’re talking about here. When the Georgetown brass made the decision to end Patrick Ewing’s tenure as head coach, they brought a long running and increasingly loud national joke to a stop. It’s hard to argue with the 2017 decision to part ways with John Thompson III, but there was not anything in Georgetown’s first four seasons under Ewing’s direction that looked like the Hoyas were steering away from the two losing seasons in JT3’s last two years. The closest that we can come to that is the Hoyas capping 2020-21, aka The Weirdest College Basketball Season In Recorded History, with an out of nowhere Big East tournament championship.
At the time, it was hailed as a moment where Ewing figured it out. In retrospect, it was a freak fluke. Georgetown started that season out with losses in eight of their first 11 games, and then turned around to 6-4 over the remaining 10 games in the regular season. They were a losing ballclub — 9-12 overall and 7-9 in Big East play — when the Big East tournament started. And then they won that four day event at Madison Square Garden and then got shelled by Colorado in the NCAA tournament because — Surprise! — the Hoyas weren’t actually very good.
In 2020-21, Georgetown wrapped up the regular season with a road loss to Connecticut on March 6, 2021 As it would turn out, the Hoyas would not win another regular season game against a Big East foe until January 24, 2023. They lost 29 straight Big East regular season games. That home win over DePaul ended a 10 game losing streak overall this past season, but the Hoyas would win just one more game for the entire rest of the season, this time a visit to Butler where they squeaked out a 68-62 victory against a team that had beaten them by 29 in Washington six weeks earlier.
When Ewing was let go on March 9, it was the most obvious thing to happen in the world.
When Ed Cooley was pulled away from Big East rival Providence on March 20th — at least officially in the eyes of the press release — it felt like a foregone conclusion that this was the destination for both Georgetown as well as for Cooley. After all, this was a man who couldn’t even pretend that he wasn’t looking around for a new job at Providence’s watch party for the NCAA tournament selection show.
And so, Georgetown goes from one of the most disastrous coaching tenures in Big East history to turning over the show to a guy who just ran the most sustained success in Providence history. This would seem to be a very good decision by Georgetown. Whether that’s a good decision by Cooley given that he’s going to have to take his Hoyas to Providence and the AMP every single season for the foreseeable future, well, that’s up for debate, but Ed Cooley can coach some basketball, that’s the point. For the long term, I think we can all say that we all expect Cooley to take Georgetown’s money and turn their men’s basketball team into a regular NCAA contender at worst. That’s what he did with Providence, after all, and now he’s going to have the power of everything that Georgetown can offer standing behind him.
That’s the long term, though. That’s also why I thought that this was going to be a pretty positive preview for Georgetown. It can’t be worse than the last two seasons, and if you made me pick a statement to generally speaking preview an Ed Cooley season, it would be “they’re going to be better than you think.”
We all knew that Georgetown was going to be a rebuilding job after a 2-37 record in Big East games for the last two seasons. I didn’t quite realize exactly how much of the roster had headed out the door, though. I also didn’t realize how little that Ed Cooley brought in. There’s bodies, there’s human beings wearing Georgetown gear, yeah, but that’s about it.
If Jay Heath and Wayne Bristol were game changers, Georgetown wouldn’t have gone 2-18 in the Big East last year. If Supreme Cook was a game changer, even at the level of the MAAC, Fairfield wouldn’t have gone 13-18 overall and finished seventh in that league.
You get the idea.
To put it another way: BartTorvik.com’s preseason rankings at this point of the calendar have Georgetown projected to finish last in the Big East. And not the “well, they’re frisky” kind of last. We’re talking about the 4-16 and #156 in the country, more than 30 spots behind DePaul” kind of last. That ranking is depending on Ryan Mutombo and Victor Muresan to play some kind of a role for the Hoyas, by the way. Pull them out — they played a combined 65 minutes last season, and 64 of them were from Mutombo — and Georgetown drops to #163.
If I had to bet, would I bet on Ed Cooley figuring out how to make this collection of dudes to be better than the projection? Yes, yes I would. But this thing is clearly a rebuilding project, and this isn’t just a quick replace some drywall kind of project. It might be a year or two until we start seeing some real results from the nation’s capital.
I would like to close this thing out with a red flag that everything in the rebuilding project is not flying along smoothly. Back in late May, there was news reporting that Drew McKenna, a top 100 Class of 2024 prospect was 1) committing to Ed Cooley and Georgetown and 2) reclassifying to 2023. Sure, cool, whatever, Georgetown’s got the roster space, maybe bring him in and redshirt him even, it’s a project anyway.
You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned him before now.
I wait to write these things until after the NBA Draft early entry withdrawal deadline passes at the end of May/the beginning of June so we know who’s coming back for sure. I then wait for teams to publish their new rosters. I’ve written these check-ins in June in the past and missed transfers because it’s hard to keep track of formerly nine, now 10 other teams worth of movement. Now it’s even harder because of immediate eligibility for transfers, so I’ll just let the teams tell me who’s on their roster.
This is publishing in September because that’s when Georgetown published their roster for the first time. Classes began for Georgetown’s fall semester on August 24th. I’m reading Georgetown’s roster on September 14th, making them the last Big East team to publish a roster. Drew McKenna is not on it. He played in Kenner League, the D.C. summer league hosted on Georgetown’s campus, which means he was in town in July at the very least.... but also he attended high school 45 miles away. Maybe everything’s fine and someone at GU is just bad at internet..... but it sure doesn’t look good, does it?