The Georgetown men’s basketball team will open their season on Sunday against the Jacksonville Dolphins (0-1, Atlantic Sun) at the newly named Capital One Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:00 pm and the game will be broadcast on MASN2 and YES Network.
This game marks the beginning of the Patrick Ewing Era of Georgetown hoops, with the former player returning to the sidelines as head coach. The Hoyas look to move past recent struggles against low ranked teams that plagued the team past two seasons in the form of losses to Arkansas State, Radford, UNC Asheville, and Monmouth. The Dolphins finished last season with a 17-16 record, including a 5-9 conference record, and were ranked 275th according to KenPom, but have since graduated seven seniors.
Despite being a young team, Ewing emphasized Jacksonville’s 3-point shooting ability. “A lot of the things our defense is built on, we’re gonna have to tweak to play them” Ewing said. “They play four guys that are 3-point shooters.”
The Dolphins lost their first game of the season to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers (1-0, Conference USA) by a score of 96-67. The Dolphins were led by freshman guard JD Notae, who notched 18 points, 15 of which cam from behind the arc on 50 percent 3-point shooting.
“As long as we chase them off the line and force them to play the way we want them to play and not the way they want to play, we’ll probably have a lot of fast breaks,” sophomore guard Jagan Mosely said.
This game will be Ewing’s first game as a head coach at any level of play, after coaching as an assistant in the NBA for 15 years.
“Everybody always says that moving over those few inches is a big difference.” Ewing said of moving from an assistant to a head coach. “As an assistant you can go home, sleep, and leave everything behind. But as the head coach, you wake up in the middle of the night thinking who am I gonna draw a play up for at this particular time?”
The Hoyas will debut a new style of offense on Sunday, breaking with the Princeton offense that previous head coach John Thompson III utilized in favor of a quicker, up-tempo NBA style offense that Ewing has promised. It will also be the first game in a Georgetown uniform for five members of the Hoyas roster.
“All of [the freshmen] will be counted on to play a significant role.” Ewing said. “Especially [freshman forward] Jamorko [Pickett]. We’re gonna need his shooting. We’re gonna need his ability to put the ball on the floor, his ability to make passes, make plays.”
“Very well.” Mosely answered when asked how well the freshman class has progressed. “I think they’re ready to play.”
Despite the strength of the freshman class, veterans will likely be the backbone of the this Hoyas team, as junior center Jessie Govan is expected to be the focal point of the offense. The combination of Mosely and senior guard Jonathan Mulmore will likely lead the backcourt, while junior forward Marcus Derrickson looks to be a solid front court presence.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding this Georgetown game, as fans are itching to get a look at the new Hoyas and their new head coach. According to the New York Daily News, Hoya fans will be joined in the stands by Ewing’s former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, Georgetown greats Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, and Allen Iverson, along with Ewing’s team USA teammate Michael Jordan.
“We’re trying to stay poised,” Mosely said of the first game, “but obviously, us just being college kids, we’re excited, and we can’t really hide that.”
“I’m going into it the same way I would if I was playing.” Ewing said. “The same tunnel vision, the same focus. The juices are flowing, just as if I’m playing.”