In anticipation of the upcoming tilt between Xavier and Georgetown in DC, we had a chance to touch base with Casual Hoya and get some inside info from the other side of this clash. You can find our responses here (apologies to anyone who expected me to stick up for Cincinnati chili) and Roey was nice enough to reciprocate with a few answers of his own. Tough reading for Jon Rothstein’s fan club, which I am forced to assume is just Jon Rothstein at this point.
What is the Georgetown fan base’s overall impression of Patrick Ewing’s debut season as coach?
I’d say most fans are pleasantly surprised with how Ewing has done in the first season at the helm. By and large, we expected this year to be a rebuild because of the transition and a significant roster overhaul. The team plays much faster than it used to and while that contributes to some reckless play, it definitely feels like an improvement, if only because now we can be optimistic about our team again as they exceed our admittedly pretty low expectations. The other thing to note is that it’s clear that he knows how to get the most out of his guys. If we weren't sure before, that whole “Have you ever shot that shot” pep talk he gave Marcus Derrickson was proof.
What has been the driving force in Jesse Govan and Marcus Derrickson’s ascent to all-Big East hopefuls this year?
I think a lot of it traces back to the way in which Ewing has worked with both of those guys, but both had already shown significant flashes of talent in their first two years. They now both play in an offensive system that better facilitates scoring, but both players have put in a lot of work on their conditioning. Govan used to look winded after 20 minutes on the floor and now he averages 32 minutes per night while averaging double-digit rebounding performances. Derrickson, meanwhile, has shown marked improvement in his ability to create his own shot, especially from outside. He never topped 37% from outside in his first two seasons. This year, he’s shooting nearly 46% from three.
Tre Campbell has recently left your program. Why did he save his best game for us and do you think it was personal?
We assumed Tre was done after last season and actually worried that he might not play again so it’s good to see that he’ll get another shot. He often languished on the court and I kind of wish we could have seen him play this year under Ewing. I don’t think it was anything personal toward you guys, although I think his performance is one of the ultimate representations of how Georgetown always played up (or down) to its level of competition. His heroic 21-point contribution will not soon be forgotten.
If the season were to end today, who gets your nod for Big East POTY, COTY, and First Team?
This is a surprisingly wide-open race, so this is a really tough call. Realistically I expect Jalen Brunson to earn POTY honors for being the best player on the best team, but if I had my own vote, I’d give player of the year to Shamorie Ponds from St. John’s for basically carrying that team by himself. For coach of the year, no disrespect to Chris Mack since he’s an expert tactician, but I think I’d have to give it to Jay Wright because he does a remarkable job getting the most out of his guys night in and night out. Much like Jon Rothstein’s Twitter account, Villanova runs itself.
For X fans travelling to the game this week, where would you recommend to eat before the game/get blackout drunk if we lose?
If you are looking for food and do not mind the spicy stuff, trek two blocks up 7th Street from the arena to Nando’s Peri-Peri. It’s an international chain that has its only US outposts in DC and its chicken is delicious. As for drinking options, might as well go to Clyde’s since it’s literally right across from one of the arena exits. Penn Commons is also a good, if a little bit pricey, spot for some booze but it has a nice atmosphere that has helped calm me down after at least a couple of Georgetown losses.
If Georgetown wins it will because _________________ had a great game.
Obvious answer here is Marcus Derrickson. But I’ll be a bit bolder and pick Jamorko Pickett. The Hoyas usually need three players to step up to win, assuming Derrickson & Govan play well, Pickett’s the likeliest to step up, since he’s really been coming into his own as of late. If he comes anywhere close to the 21 points and 9 rebounds he put up last time against Xavier, he’ll help if Georgetown wins.
Final score prediction?
It’ll be close and I think an upset is definitely possible but I’ll hedge my bets. I think X takes it 79-73.