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Know Your Big East Opponent: Georgetown

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Georgetown lost some familiar and vital cogs, but they may have replaced them with a tremendous recruiting class.

This guy wins games.
This guy wins games.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgetown Hoyas. If you are a college basketball fan you know the name. An illustrious past has given way to a Hoyas team that always features in the NCAA tournament in the exact way that no big school wants to. In the 2006-07 season they advanced to the Final Four and barely lost to the despicable Ohio State Buckeyes. After that, well, things haven't gone so well. The next year Steph Curry did them in in the second round, a year later they crashed out of the NIT in the second round. In the 2009-10 season, while Jordan Crawford did battle with Kansas State, the Hoyas capitulated to Ohio in the first round as the Bobcats became the first #14 seed to advance since 2006.

Rather than arrest the tournament free fall, the Hoyas seem to have locked themselves into it. After losing to Ohio, Georgetown came back the next year and lost to #11 seed play-in game winners VCU. The next year a first round win was followed to another loss to an #11 seed. Did you think Dunk City was exciting? Georgetown fans did not. That made the fourth straight year they had been eliminated by a double digit, this one a #15. After that came another year of the NIT. Finally, last season, Georgetown was a four seed as was eliminated by five seed Utah in the second round. While not exactly banner worthy, it did mark a step forward for the program.

Georgetown has also become something of the fun rivalry for Xavier here in the Big East. Where Butler stands as the current hated rival, the Hoyas have served up good games without much complicating vitriol. (Casual Hoya, the Georgetown SBN site, has an excellent Twitter presence). Xavier rung in 2015 with a 70-53 boatracing of Georgetown and, the year before, completed one of the great comebacks in school history by pulling back a 17 point deficit with only 15 minutes to play on the way to a 13 point win. The Hoyas are one of the storied teams in college basketball, and now they occupy the same space Xavier is trying to go. Here's what the bring to the table this year.

Returning Players:

If you've spent the last three years being mad at D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera, you've missed a young man playing some excellent basketball. DSR currently is Georgetown. Last year he led them in points and assists per game and he comes back this year as their leading returning rebounder. A drop in usage rate last year saw his numbers fall to 16.3/4.2/3.2 with an offensive efficiency of 120.8, 78th in the nation. He's a dead eye shooter from deep and from the line and he's sure to play 34 minutes per game. He's a horse, and he's also the only senior on the team that will play notable minutes.

LJ Peak is the only other returning player that was on the court for 50% or more of the available minutes last year. Peak is a 6-5 swing man who isn't a great shooter but showed flashes of elite athleticism in averaging almost eight points per game. If he shoots better than 39.4% from the floor, he'll be a real weapon. 6-9 forward Isaac Copeland is another rising sophomore. Copeland posted a 105.2 offensive efficiency and also a 17.3% defensive rebound rate to go with his 3.5% block rate. Paul White comes from the same class and, at 6-8, adds more size down low and also blocked 3.8% of opponent's shots when he's in. Losing Hopkins and Smith from last year hurt, but Georgetown will still send their fair of shots when White and Copeland are in.

Tre Campbell lands his own paragraph because he's the only other returning guard. Campbell played only 13.7 minutes per game last year, but he will now either step into an expanded role or make an already young team rely even more on the incoming recruits.  Campbell shot 36% from behind the arc last year in his limited time. Throw in some minutes from Reggie Cameron and Bradley Hayes and you have everyone who is coming back for the Hoyas this year. It's a star and then the hope that the young talent develops.

Departing Players:

Georgetown lost a massive piece of their team last year. I don't mean just a large part of the team, I mean like a massive human being. Josh Smith finally finished his coast to coast eating tour (that's why he transferred, right?) and graduated. Smith was a tremendous waste of talent the entire time he was in college, but he did manage 10.8/5.8/1.2 last year and take up space in the lane in the 50% of minutes he was in. A smaller size loss but arguably larger on the court is Jabril Trawick. Trawick played in 18.7% more of the team's minutes than Smith did and averaged 9.1/3.6/2.4 and shot 49% from the floor and 41% from deep.

Also gone is Mikael Hopkins, who was a monster on the glass with an 12.8% offensive rebounding rate and an 18.6% defensive rebounding rate. Hopkins was also 58th in the nation with an 8.6% block rate. Hopkins wasn't much of a force on offense, but he kept possessions alive on one end and erased them on the other. Aaron Bowen is the last loss for the Hoyas. He was a 6-6 jack of all trades who managed 5.6 points in only 15 minutes of play per game.

Incoming Players:

The Hoyas needed to fill some gaps, and they did just that. Only three guys are coming in eligible this year, but they are all in the top 25 of their position according to ESPN and two of them land in the illustrious ESPN100. The first is Jessie Govan, a 6-10, 263 center who was ranked 11th in the nation and comes in more toolsy than polished. Still, he's more than ready to contribute both offensively and defensively and he's significantly more athletic than Josh Smith was.

Next up is Marcus Derrickson, 6-7, 250 power forward who is built like a small shed. He's in good shape, if not an explosive athlete, and can shoot the ball out to three point range without trouble. His size and strength make him formidable in the post on both ends. Derrickson could very well start this year. He's a monster. Finally, Kaleb Johnson is a 6-6, 185 small forward. Johnson is a wing slasher more than a shooter. He'll get to the rim and get up when he gets there. His shooting isn't as good as Derrickson's, but he can get hot from deep. Defense will be an issue, but he'll have games where he blows up offensively.

Outlook:

DSR is a stud and he's going to have games where he just flat out carries this team. The recruits coming in are all very good. There's not a one in there that couldn't have been the star of most recruiting classes, instead all three land in DC. Derrickson has looked great in the preseason, especially, and could be a dark horse for the Big East Rookie of the Year. Yes, the Hoyas lost a lot, but it looks like they've taken big steps in replacing those losses. This team isn't going to slide off the map any time soon.