Last week, the NCAA decided to make the Big East a bit more interesting as they declared that Georgetown center Josh Smith was eligible for this season after leaving UCLA in the middle of last year's campaign.
Georgetown center Josh Smith cleared to play immediately http://t.co/njCgudDiZT— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 24, 2013
Smith was known more in Westwood for being overweight and lacking consistency than he was for his actions on the court.
Both the 6'10", 350-pound center and Hoyas coach John Thompson III are hoping that the player, who has two years of eligibility left, has turned a corner and is ready to become a threat on both ends of the court.
With Smith now eligible to play, the Hoyas have a massive body to throw to in the paint and someone to wreak havoc on defense.
But, before we get ahead of ourselves here because the Hoyas have a new toy to play with, we must remember Smith is still playing at 350 pounds, which is a number that will catch up with him if it does not decrease throughout the season.
While some people will argue against the effectiveness of Smith because of his weight and his inability to produce on a consistent basis at UCLA, he is still a great talent that improves a Georgetown squad that was in search for a big man with Greg Whittington out injured and Otto Porter Jr. now in the NBA.
Smith will likely at center with Nate Lubick complementing him at the power forward position. In the backcourt, the Hoyas have an experienced trio in D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jabril Trawick and Markel Starks.
Georgetown (likely) starting lineup: Starks, Smith-Rivera, Trawick, Lubick and Josh Smith. Hopkins should come off bench.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) October 24, 2013
There is no doubt that much of the attention in preparation for the Hoyas will focus on the backcourt trio that are expected to do most of the heavy lifting this season.
With much of the opposing attention expected to be shifted on his teammates, Smith may have a chance to have a breakout season in the nation's capital.
Whether or not he is able to break out right away will remain to be seen. The Hoyas open up their season in South Korea against Oregon, in a game where Smith should not be expected to be the key playmaker.
However, by the time Thompson takes his team into Allen Fieldhouse on December 21, Smith could cause the young Jayhawks a boatload of trouble.
Just like many teams at the beginning of the season, the Hoyas will need time to gel, and with eight games in between the clashes with Oregon and Kansas, they will get a chance to do just that.
By the time that Kansas game rolls around, we will know the exact impact that Smith will have on the Hoyas heading into Big East play.
The biggest impact that Smith will have in conference play will come in the four games against his team's two main rivals for the conference title, Marquette and Creighton.
Against Marquette, Smith will be paired against the duo of Davante Gardner and Chris Otule in a battle of big men that could potentially leave lovers of frontcourt play salivating.
Creighton will pose a different threat to the Hoyas, as their big man, Doug McDermott, is one of the most versatile players in the nation.
What will be interesting to watch in regards to Smith's fitness is how he does against the Golden Eagles and Bluejays, whom the Hoyas play back-to-back twice this season.
If Smith can handle the physical nature of the Marquette game and the finesse of Creighton's McDermott, then the Hoyas could realistically win all four games against their Big East title rivals.
Whether Smith can handle the physical nature of the Big East and take the Hoyas to the promised land this season is still an unknown as big as the center himself.
If the UCLA transfer can handle his junior season with the poise and concentration that he lacked in Westwood, he could become one of the best players in the Big East.
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