Jamorko Pickett made his mark early on in his college career. For the Hoyas’ opening game last season against Jacksonville, head coach Patrick Ewing named Pickett, a four-star freshman, to the starting lineup in his collegiate debut. On Georgetown’s second offensive possession of the game, starting point guard Jonathan Mulmore (COL ’18) swung the ball to the corner where Pickett was patiently waiting. Pickett lined up the 3-pointer and calmly knocked it down for the first points of the Patrick Ewing era.
Before he was making shots for the Hoyas, Pickett, born and raised in D.C., attended Eastern High School in the District. He averaged 12 points, four rebounds, and three blocks per game as a senior. After high school, he opted for a postgraduate year at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia. There he caught the attention of scouts nationwide by tallying 21 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks per game and soon became a consensus ESPN top 100 recruit. Pickett fielded offers from several Division I schools, originally committing to the University of Mississippi before becoming head coach Patrick Ewing’s first major recruit.
In an interview with Scout.com after Pickett made his decision in July 2017, Chad Myers, his head coach at Massanutten, explained why Georgetown was the best fit.
“He picked [Georgetown] because he felt like he could go in there and contribute immediately,” he said. “Playing time along with location was the determining factor for him.”
And Pickett did make an immediate impact. He had 20 points over the course of his first two games as a Hoya and went on to average 9.6 points per game during a freshman campaign that steadily improved as the season went along. After scoring double-digit points just six times in his first 18 games, Pickett became more aggressive with his shot, and scored double digits in eight of the final 11 regular season games.
During that final stretch, Georgetown hosted Xavier, the fourth-ranked team in the country at the time. The Musketeers came out on top 89-77, but Pickett had one of his best games of the season, matching his career high of 21 points on an efficient six of 11 from the field. After the game, former Xavier head coach Chris Mack had nothing but praise for the freshman.
“I think Jamorko Pickett is going to have one of the best careers,” Mack said. “I know Georgetown’s had some great players. You can add him to the list. He’s a freshman and he’s out there shooting bombs.”
The late season surge and impressive numbers against top teams helped him secure a spot on the Big East All-Freshman Team as a unanimous selection.
Pickett dazzled opponents and Hoya fans alike with a multifaceted skill set that is especially impressive for a player of his size. As a 6-foot-8 guard, Pickett can handle the ball and shoot just as well as anyone else on the team. Pickett led the Hoyas in 3-pointers with 56 on 35.7 percent shooting last season.
In year two, Ewing is expecting to get more out of the gifted young guard, Ewing’s only four-star recruit from his first year as head coach. Pickett’s progression is not only crucial to Georgetown’s success on the floor, but will also speak volumes about Ewing’s ability to develop players.
“He has to have a good year for us,” Ewing said. “I thought that he came on for us in the second half of the year last year, but in order for us to be successful he’s going to have to be one of the guys that’s going to carry the load.”
While Pickett may have finished third on the team in scoring a season ago, there is still room for growth. For Ewing, that means Pickett must improve on the boards.
“One of the things that he needs to do better than he did last year is rebound the basketball,” Ewing said. “Because for a person his size, he should be a better rebounder.”
Last year, Pickett averaged just 3.7 rebounds per game. He typically played on the wing, while two of the Big East’s most prolific rebounders, now-senior center Jessie Govan and former forward Marcus Derrickson dominated the boards inside. Following the forward’s departure, Pickett will be tasked with making up part of Derrickson’s 8.1 rebounds per game. Pickett will likely be the second-tallest starter on a guard-heavy roster, so adding to his rebounding totals is essential and a challenge that he believes he is prepared to face.
“In practices, I’ve definitely shown that I can rebound, going after the ball even when it doesn’t come to me,” he said.
Pickett also wants to improve his defensive skills this season, and given his size and length, he has boundless potential to become an elite defender if he puts in the work.
“Scoring is definitely something everyone wants to do, but this year I’d like to predicate my game more on the defensive end,” he said.
Pickett was not a liability on defense last season, but despite a 6-foot-8 frame and a 7-foot-2 wingspan, he was only able to reach season highs of two blocks and two steals.
“I proved last year that I can score, so I want to show that I can do other things,” he said. “I’ve got a 7-foot-2 wingspan, so passes through the middle I can easily deflect and get steals, so we can start the break.”
If Ewing can help Pickett be the all-around player he plans on becoming in both of their second seasons at Georgetown, then there is no telling how far he and his team can go. For now though, Pickett has one clear goal on his mind.
“Win a lot more games than we did last year. It’s simple.”