Coming into the 2019-20 season the Georgetown basketball program had hopes of making it back to the NCAA Tournament under Hoya legend Patrick Ewing. After a tumultuous couple of weeks, the Hoyas are now making the best out of a bad situation.
Georgetown now looks poised to be on target to make the Big Dance. The Hoyas are now clicking on all cylinders.
A few weeks ago scandal rocked the Georgetown campus. The fallout had everyone wondering if this would torpedo the Hoyas season before it practically began.
How Georgetown Basketball Rebounded To Save Their Season
Four players have left or have been dismissed by the university. The central issues at the heart of the scandal include assault, burglary, and harassment. There are three players mentioned being involved in the accusations: Josh LeBlanc, Myron Gardner and Galen Alexander.
Sophomore point guard James Akinjo is not facing any charges and transferred under his own volition.
We’re not here to litigate the situation. That will take care of itself.
Whether it was getting rid of perceived “bad apples” or Ewing having some issues with these players, this “issue” has been a blessing in disguise. At least on the basketball court.
Whatever issues the team had early on, Ewing has righted the ship with the remaining players buying in. Georgetown basketball has its swagger back. The Hoyas certainly look no worse for the wear.
After losing a winnable game against UNC-Greensboro on November 30, and then two days later learning of the scandal, the Georgetown basketball program has looked revitalized ever since. The Hoyas have now won five games in a row.
Three of those wins have come against major programs in Oklahoma State, SMU and Syracuse, with the former two occurring on the road. With the Hoyas now 9-3, and with only American left on the schedule before Big East play begins, Georgetown has to be feeling awfully good about themselves.
Owning wins over Oklahoma State, SMU, Syracuse and also Texas, Ewing’s club can now legitimately circle the NCAA Tournament as an obtainable goal.
Georgetown Turning To A New Super-Duo
Now that Akinjo is gone, sophomore guard Mac McClung has begun the process of truly breaking out.
The uber-athletic guard is averaging 22.2 points per game in his last five games and won Big East Player of the Week two weeks in a row prior to this week. For the season he is averaging 16.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 40.4 percent from three-point range.
McClung is playing with a lot of confidence and with a chip on his shoulder. He is the last of the team’s remaining lauded sophomore trio (which included Akinjo and LeBlanc with all being named to the all-Big East Freshmen Team). McClung is playing inspired basketball and he should be a force to be reckoned with as conference play begins.
He had another stellar stat line in last Saturday’s game against Samford. McClung put up 25 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists in that contest.
As good as McClung has been, Georgetown’s most steadying force has been 7-foot senior center Omer Yurtseven. The North Carolina State transfer has fit in seamlessly while replacing Jessie Govan at center.
Yurtseven leads the team in scoring (18.3), rebounding (10.3), blocks (2.0) and field-goal percentage (58.6 percent). He has been a steadying source of consistency for Ewing. The veteran big man has been exactly what Ewing has needed for the team to thrive in the face of adversity.
Yurtseven was marvelous in Georgetown’s game against Samford last Saturday when he went for 32 points while pulling down 17 rebounds.
The inside-out duo of McClung and Yurtseven will cause a lot of havoc. They will surely cause matchup nightmares for opposing Big East coaches.
Depth Can Be An Issue For The Hoyas
The roster attrition has now left the Georgetown basketball program with just nine scholarship players, so depth will be a major weakness for the Hoyas.
Sustaining this type of play will be put to the test in a very deep and unwelcoming Big East.
With the loss of Akinjo, LeBlanc, Alexander, and Gardner, Georgetown has lost its third, fifth, tenth and eleventh-leading scorers, respectively.
After McClung and Yurtseven, the rest of the team does not exactly strike fear in opponents. It’s incumbent for players like Jamorko Pickett, Jahvon Blair, Jagan Mosely, Terrell Allen, and Qudus Wahab to step up their games.
While depth will be an issue, the team is playing with more cohesiveness. Ewing has them playing at a high level. The rest of the team have clearly bought in and put this issue to bed.
A famous saying in life is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, this tired but true cliche couldn’t be more on the nose for the maneuvering Ewing has done to make the most out of a bad situation.
After many believed this scandal would sidetrack the Hoyas, Ewing has made this moment a rallying cry. The team should contend for an NCAA Tournament when it is all said and done.
Kudos to Ewing and the Georgetown basketball program for navigating a difficult situation and coming out better for it.
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