Georgetown Basketball: 5 Ways John Thompson III Can Lead the Hoyas to Glory
John Thompson III and the Georgetown Hoyas will again look to be the surprise of the Big East after finishing fifth in the conference last season.
Shocking wins over ranked teams early in the season last year put the Hoyas on college basketball's radar screen. This year they won't have the luxury of sneaking up on anyone.
The Hoyas lost three starters from last year's team. Thompson III's biggest task will be replacing those players with his returning talent and a few prize recruits.
Georgetown's schedule is loaded with the usual Big East juggernauts, and out-of-conference games that will be just as tough.
Can the Hoyas break through again this season and be a serious threat to the elite programs in the nation?
Here are a few ways Thompson III can lead the Hoyas to glory this season.
Rely on Otto Porter
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Otto Porter is one of college basketball's best players returning this year after a solid freshman campaign.
Porter already has NBA scouts enamored. He's been projected as a lottery pick by many, and as high as No. 6 by NBAdraft.net.
His 6.2 rebounds per game last year were second on the team, and his 1.4 blocks led the Hoyas. He's a smart, active wing player who needs to improve on the offensive end.
If Porter can develop a more consistent shot and learn to create offense, he could become a star this year. John Thompson III and his staff will need to do extensive work with Porter on this aspect of his game.
Porter has all the athleticism and potential to grow into one of the Big East's finest wing players.
Georgetown fans should expect Porter to build on his freshman year in a big way.
Find Freshmen Who Can Contribute
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John Thompson III delivered some promising recruits who could contribute to the team immediately.
Shooting guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera was the prize of the class. The 4-star recruit will play sooner than later and could be the team's most important backcourt player by the time March Madness arrives.
Rivals.com had him ranked as the eighth-best shooting guard in the country. and Smith-Rivera will be relied on for his scoring.
The Hoyas are usually a consistent all-around defensive team each year. Their struggles come on the offensive end, and Smith-Rivera has the talent to be a volume scorer on the perimeter.
Wing player Stephen Domingo could also enter the rotation and become a key cog by the end of the year. He is advanced offensively for his age and has the speed and quicks to be a threat right away.
Thompson III also added a couple big men in Brandon Bolden and Bradley Hayes. Their size could be an asset down the line.
With all the talent Georgetown has in its frontcourt, it'll be much more difficult for these freshmen to make an impact.
Survive Tough Games Early
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By the time John Thompson III and the Georgetown Hoyas kick off Big East play against the Marquette Golden Eagles on January 5, they will have already gone through a rough schedule.
The Hoyas will face the Florida Gators, Tennessee Volunteers, UCLA Bruins and Texas Longhorns all before the new year.
Georgetown's young backcourt will be tested by these teams' outstanding guard play, something the Hoyas will likely want to avoid considering their inexperience there.
The Hoyas should still have the overall advantage in these games, but there are matchups to be concerned about.
Each one of these games could result in a loss that haunts the Hoyas in the rankings for the rest of the year.
Avoid Big East Disappointments
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The Georgetown Hoyas could have had an even more magical season last year had they avoided a few disappointing losses in the Big East.
Losses to the Pittsburgh Panthers and Seton Hall Pirates were particularly deflating for a Georgetown Hoyas team that finished 12-6 in the conference. Pittsburgh and Seton Hall were poor in conference play last year, making these losses easily the team's worst of last year.
The Hoyas also can't afford losses to the Cincinnati Bearcats and West Virginia Mountaineers again this year either if they plan to be a serious force in the conference.
The Hoyas have to win the games they're expected to win if they're going to finish as one of the top teams in the Big East.
Deliver Some Upsets
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John Thompson III and the Georgetown Hoyas could deliver the first major upset of the college basketball season if they find a way to beat the Florida Gators in their opening game.
The biggest conference games for Georgetown are easily their matchups against the Syracuse Orange and Marquette Golden Eagles.
The Hoyas took the Orange to overtime last year and proved they're on the cusp of being able to take down the Big East tyrant.
Marquette handled the Hoyas when the two squared off last year, but Georgetown hurt itself with a terrible off-night shooting the ball.
Is it ridiculous to think Georgetown could tip off their Big East schedule with a win over Marquette? Could they find a way to squeak past Syracuse in this year's anticipated rematch?
If John Thompson III is going to deliver the Georgetown Hoyas to glory, they'll need to establish a presence in the Big East and win one of these crucial games.