Georgetown head coach Patrick Ewing’s long offseason of answering questions about his readiness and aptitude for the position has finally ended as he has completed his first week of actual games with a 3-0 record.
Those questions, for now, have been silenced as the product Ewing has placed on the court has fans with a positive outlook for the future of the program.
The Hoyas have outscored their first three opponents by an average of 24 points per game and are getting contributions from players they never have before. One of those players is junior guard Kaleb Johnson, who told reporters after the Hoyas’ 83-57 win over UMES on Nov. 18, that he feels more confident playing under Ewing.
“I’ve been working on my three all summer and then the confidence; I think the confidence from [Ewing] is a big thing,” Johnson said.
Ewing has also gotten the requisite production out of junior center Jessie Govan. Govan is averaging 21 points and 14.3 rebounds per game this season. It’s the kind of performance Ewing said that he needed to give for Georgetown to be successful.
“Jessie is one of the keys to our success. If he does not step up and have a great year for us, we won’t be successful,” Ewing told reporters during Georgetown’s media day. “I’ve put a lot on his shoulders. I’ve put a lot on his plate.”
Despite the good start, there are still questions surrounding Ewing and his program. There is still skepticism on just how good this team is as Ewing deliberately built a schedule that would ensure Georgetown won a lot of games during the non-conference portion of the season.
Hoya fans were particularly disappointed that Ewing pulled the Hoyas out of the PK80 invitational, two separate eight-team tournaments to be played in Portland, Ore. by Nike-sponsored schools. The Hoyas first game in that tournament was scheduled to be against Michigan St.
Georgetown won’t play a power conference school until it plays Syracuse on Dec. 16. By contrast, UMES will have played four games versus such schools by that date. According to KenPom, a popular college basketball predictive and analytic tool, it is predicted to be the second-worst non-conference schedule of a power conference team since 2002.
Despite that, there is still more optimism for the program than last. There is a new style of play now that Ewing has brought that’s more modern and faster-paced offense as opposed to previous head coach John Thompson III’s Princeton-style.
He’s also gotten off to a good start on the recruiting trail as Georgetown has signed letters of intent from three prospects. The first is Grayson Carter, an ESPN four-star power forward from Denton, Tex. The next is YouTube sensation Mac McClung. McClung is a three-star point guard from Gate City, Va. The jewel of the class is top-100 forward Josh Leblanc out of Baton Rouge, La.
The Hoyas will take a quick break so that the players can celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, but will face what may be their toughest test to date. They head a few hours south on Nov. 25 to face the Richmond Spiders.