That’s how long the Georgetown men’s basketball team (0-0, Big East) has waited to play a game since its Round of 32 ouster from the NCAA Tournament last season. That wait, however, ends tomorrow when the Hoyas host Radford (0-0, Big South) at Verizon Center to open their 2015-16 season. Tip-off is set for 12:00 p.m.
The Hoyas begin the season determined to show that all the hard work put in throughout their nearly eight month-long offseason, which included numerous workouts, Kenner League play, and an August trip to Italy, made a difference.
“We’re ready to show that it paid off,” said senior center Bradley Hayes. “We’re ready to come out here and show everybody what we’re made of.”
This will not be the first time that Georgetown have taken the court against an opposing college team this season. The Hoyas scrimmaged privately against Pittsburgh and James Madison in the past two weeks. Box scores are not available from these games, but one thing Thompson said he learned about his team is that experience is the best teacher, especially for a team with only three upperclassmen.
“We got a long way to go. You can’t force feed or give a lecture or talk through experience,” said Thompson. “We have some young guys I need them to perform on the court with the understanding of a senior. We have a group of freshmen that are going to be thrown into the fire and they don’t have the luxury of time. They’re going to have to perform also.”
Saturday’s game will also be opening day for Radford. The Highlanders finished last season with 22 wins and were picked to finish fourth in the Big South Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Highlanders graduated their two leading scorers from last season but return vital players to last season’s success including senior guards YaYa Anderson, the team’s leading returning scorer, and Cameron Jones, the team leader three-point shooter last season.
Both teams met last year on Dec. 15 at Verizon Center, where the Hoyas dismantled the Highlanders 76-49. While the matchup may not be of the caliber of ranked teams such as Maryland and Wisconsin, who will the Hoyas will face next week, Thompson and his team know that they’ll be ready for tomorrow’s game.
“If you aren’t (excited) at this time of year. Something’s wrong with you,” said Thompson. “We’re anxious to get this year started.”
Thompson wouldn’t reveal the Hoyas’ starting lineup for Saturday’s game. Instead, he emphasized that he may mix and match lineups based on opposing matchups.
“I think with this team it may be a game-by-game thing. I think that’s a good thing,” said Thompson. “We have different pieces where it makes sense. We might be going in that direction.”
With No. 3 Maryland looming on Tuesday, many fans have written off Radford as a tuneup for next week, and not a serious test for the Hoyas. Georgetown senior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and his teammates know, however, that they must worry about only one team: Radford.
“We just have to take it one game at a time. You can’t overlook teams. That’s how you get beat,” said Smith-Rivera. “We’ll be ready.”