First and foremost, when talking about the Hoyas huge turn-around this year, one has to take a look at their age and experience. While most Division 1 basketball programs lost most of their key players either to graduation or the NBA draft, the Hoyas are without only one key starter from last year, graduated center Jameel Watkins. This means that the Hoyas derive much-needed experience and leadership from their upperclassmen, including junior point guard Kevin Braswell, senior center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, senior guard Anthony Perry, and senior forward Lee Scruggs, who has been hot since returning from academic probation in December.
Braswell has also decided to step up this year and be an on-the-court leader, an element necessary for Hoya success. In Monday’s 99-91 win over Big East hype Seton Hall, Braswell scored 26 points and had several key buckets, including a clutch three pointer with 8:05 left after Seton Hall had cut the lead to one. Anthony Perry also provided some good minutes off the bench and Scruggs had some huge treys to energize the team when it looked as if they might give up the lead.
In terms of the Hoya bench, Georgetown coach Craig Esherick has employed a musical-chairs type substitution system that has given minutes to all the players instead of allowing one group to get tired out on the court. Although the Hoyas sometimes lose their rythm with the substitutions, the strategy allows the Hoyas to be just a bit fresher then their opponents. With the way the team has been playing, it seems as if all the combinations are working. The subbing has also let the players know that there is no room for slacking, especially if players want to boost their minutes.
From their starters-Boumtje Boumtje, Braswell, Mike Sweetney, Gerald Riley, and Demetrius Hunter-down to key bench players like Victor Samnick and Perry, the Hoyas seem to be strong at every position, allowing them to outrun and outgun opponents with shorter benches.
Finally, the key difference between this year’s team and last year’s underachieving team is attitude. The Hoyas finally seem to recognize their skill, which brings both wins and reputation. While on occasion falling into momentary lapses of lackadaisical play, Georgetown has come out with a go-for-the-kill mentality. They no longer accept losing to lesser opponents, and they seem to play up to stronger opponents (see Seton Hall).
The Hoyas have developed the swagger that they need to go the distance, and.much like other top NCAA like teams Duke and Michigan State, the Hoyas have been able to galvinze the student body around them. In short, the fans are starting to get pumped, which can only mean a more rowdy and fired-up crowd for home games.
Can you say Undefeated Baby? It’s looking more possible each day.