Basketball Preview

Men’s starting five lineups

November 13, 2014

With the Hoyas’ opening contest against St. Francis right around the corner, Head Coach John Thompson III has some difficult roster decisions to make. With five freshmen hungry to compete for playing time this season, choosing his starting rotation will be no easy task. Will the experienced upperclassmen be given the chance to bring the Blue and Gray back to prominence after two disappointing seasons? Or will the next batch of Hilltop He-Men help jump-start a new generation of Georgetown basketball success? Here are three possible ways the Hoyas could line up this season:

Joshua Smith, Mikael Hopkins, Aaron Bowen, Jabril Trawick, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera

This permutation is a safe bet for how Thompson will start games at the beginning of the season. Here, the Hoyas will rely on the effectiveness of their half court offense built around center Smith. With Smith on the block and sharpshooter Smith-Rivera lurking around the perimeter, the Hoyas will look to spread the court to keep opposing defenses unbalanced. Without Markel Starks and Nate Lubick this season, contributions from seniors Trawick, Hopkins, and Bowen will be of critical importance. Though Smith is nearly unstoppable when he establishes a deep position inside and Smith-Rivera’s outside shot can be lethal, the Hoyas’ offense in this system will be stagnant if it is solely reliant on these two. Bowen and Trawick will need to slash through the lane and expose holes in opposing defenses. Hopkins also must be a more effective rebounder.

Joshua Smith, Isaac Copeland, Paul White, Jabril Trawick, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera

This could be one of the most dynamic starting fives that Thompson has ever had at his disposal. Freshmen Isaac Copeland and Paul White could be the future of Georgetown basketball, and may play pivotal roles this year for the Hoyas. Without being exclusively dependent on breaking other teams down with a half court offense, the Hoyas could try to expose other teams on the fast break and employ a more up-tempo offense. Smith-Rivera and Smith could run a high screen and roll while Trawick, White, and Copeland set screens for each other along the baseline. Each player in this unit is capable of hitting a midrange jumper, giving Thompson an array of offensive options he can rely on.

Joshua Smith, Mikael Hopkins, L.J. Peak, Jabril Trawick, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera

In this starting five, freshman guard L.J. Peak would get the chance to prove himself with a significant role on Thompson’s team. Peak is a lock-down defender and an athletic marvel. Though his shooting ability is unproven, he would wreak havoc on the defensive end and would be a great option as an outlet on the fast break. Smith would be the go-to threat inside, as the Hoyas missed him as a dominant presence when the center was ruled academically ineligible last season. Smith claims that he has been working to improve his defense during his long offseason, and if he could anchor Georgetown’s interior defense, these five could be the best defensive unit that Thompson has to work with.

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