This year’s seniors (myself included) are in danger of becoming the first Georgetown graduating class since 2005 to leave college without witnessing the Hoyas win an NCAA Tournament game. And even the ‘05 class got to see a nice NIT run.
If you had warned me that I wouldn’t see a Hoyas’ win while I was on the Hilltop three years ago, I would’ve told you I had a better chance of dunking a basketball. Despite providing many reasons to cheer over the last three seasons, the Hoyas have left a sour taste in our mouths with their lack of postseason success. I’m not going to dwell on that now-familiar feeling though.
The Hoyas’ unheralded and unranked squad already gives this season a different feeling than the last three, even before my first trip to the Verizon Center. While it is never nice to start on the outside looking in, the last three seasons have shown that it’s not about how you start, but how you finish. Just ask UConn, who stormed to the national title last season after being left out of the preseason top-25.
You have to go all the way back to the 2005-2006 season, however, to examine the last time the Hoyas found themselves in this precarious position. That year, the Hoyas had eight underclassmen, including two frontcourt rocks named Roy Hibbert and Jeff Green. Green was expected to be a force in ‘05-‘06 after being named Big East Co-Rookie of The Year the previous season, but Hibbert wasn’t projected to have the breakout year he did. Reaching the quarterfinals of the 2005 NIT Tournament helped provide that team with elimination game experience, while JTIII was continuing to develop the team in his second season at Georgetown.
The signs were there, but that’s easy to say now. There were a lot of unknowns at the start of the season, but there was still reason to hope for the best. The best, or at least close to it, did happen that year, with the team far exceeding preseason expectations and reaching the Sweet Sixteen.
I’m not saying that this year’s team is going to make the Sweet Sixteen and lose to the eventual champion, but it’s definitely a possibility. It sure would be a pleasant surprise. And really, what’s to stop it from happening? I’ve been surprised by the way the Hoyas have finished the last three seasons—maybe not in the most pleasant way, but this year could make up for that.
If it does happen, it won’t be overnight. Luckily, the young team has already had a chance to play together thanks to their trip to China. JTIII has even said that if there was ever a time to take the overseas trip, this was the year.
But the Hoyas still have a lot to go through if they want receive an invite to the Big Dance. Replacing Chris Wright and Austin Freeman will be no easy task. However, the talent is there with Hollis Thompson, Jason Clark, Markel Starks, and a bevy of eager big men. If the Hoyas can find a way to put that talent together and develop chemistry quickly, maybe the class of 2012 will have more than a diploma to celebrate this spring.
Persuade Nick to keep the faith at firstname.lastname@example.org