The 12 Days of 'Big East-mas' Season Preview: Georgetown Hoyas
The Georgetown Hoyas enter 2022-23 following a disastrous prior campaign. It’s year six of the Patrick Ewing era and is undoubtedly the most critical for the former Georgetown and NBA superstar.
Ewing went to three Final Fours as a player (1982, 1984, 1985) and was the key member of the school’s only national championship in 1984. However, despite his legendary status on campus, his tenure has not translated as a coach through his first five seasons.
Ewing is 66-84 (.447) at Georgetown and is 26-63 in the Big East. The Hoyas have not won a postseason game under Ewing in two appearances. They appeared in the NIT in 2019 and lost in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
The legendary player is running out of time to become the legendary coach. The fact that Georgetown finished 9th in the Big East two seasons ago and ended up winning the Big East Tournament to claim the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament is likely the reason Ewing is still around.
Last season was rock bottom. Dramatic improvement is required, but based on the school’s projected tenth place finish in the conference, it is not expected.
Last Year in Review
6-25 overall and 0-19 in conference…let me say that again. 6-25 overall and 0-20 in the Big East (including the Big East Tournament loss to Seton Hall).
Last year was a disaster. The Hoyas beat American, Siena, Longwood, UMBC, Syracuse and Howard. That’s it. They failed to win a game after December 15 and lost 21 games in a row to end the year.
Of the 20 losses to Big East schools last year, only nine were by single digits. The Hoyas were getting blown out repeatedly and an overhaul was needed.
Fortunately, they got one.
An overhaul indeed.
The Hoyas will head into the new season
without four of the top five leading scorers from last season, all three top rebounders, the top shot blocker and the four best free throw shooters.
Aminu Mohammed led the team in scoring a year ago (13.7 PPG) and is now a
Philadelphia 76er. Donald Carey was the team's second leading scorer last year (13.5 PPG), and Kaiden Rice was fourth (11 PPG). Carey will spend his final year of eligibility at Maryland and Rice graduated last Spring.
The Hoyas also lost one of its best rebounders in Timothy Ighoefe, who transferred to California Baptist, along with everyday contributors Tyler Beard and Collin Holloway, who transferred to Pacific and Tulane respectively.
Malcolm Wilson and Jalin Billingsley combined for 55 appearances last year and they’re gone too.
Fringe players Chuma Azinge and Kobe Clark will not be back for Georgetown
either. The pair combined for just 18 appearances last season.
It sounds scary when that much production is longer around, but I’d prefer to view it as an opportunity. After all, that “production” drove Georgetown to a 6-25 record.
The definition of insanity is to continue doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. If nothing else, Georgetown clearly isn’t insane. They needed an overhaul and they got one, but a lot of players transferring means you need to get a lot of transfers.
They certainly accomplished that.
Seldom do you see a list this long of new players to a team in college basketball. Georgetown heads into 2022-23 with NINE players that were not on the team a year ago.
You might notice one familiar name. Qudus Wahab is back at Georgetown after a season away at Maryland. The 6’11 center averaged 12.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 2020-21. His minutes and therefore production dipped in his lone season with the Terps, averaging 7.7 PPG and 5.6 RPG at Maryland last year.
Interestingly enough, The Hoyas welcome only two freshmen to the roster. Denver Anglin is a four-star recruit out of New Jersey and is listed at #82 in the ESPN Top 100. The other is D’Ante Bass, a 6’6 forward out of Savannah, GA who’s role remains to be seen heading into the season.
Besides Wahab transferring back to Georgetown, The Hoyas also brought in fellow Big Easter Akok Akok, who has spent the last three seasons at UConn. Akok averaged just 4.2 PPG in his three seasons with the Huskies while dealing with a nagging foot injury this past year.
After spending a season away at Maryland, former Hoya Qudus Wahab is back with G-Town / AP Photo/Michael Conroy
The Hoyas capitalized on Wahab’s situation at Maryland and the dismissal of Mark Turgeon and bringing in Kevin Willard. Similarly, Georgetown looked to LSU for production following Will Wade’s firing.
Both Brandon Murrary and Bradley Ezewiro are trading Tigers for Hoyas. Murray scored 10 PPG and made the SEC All-Freshman Team, starting in 32 of 33 games for LSU. Ezewiro only appeared in seven games for The Tigers, but will add much-needed depth for The Hoyas.
Bryson Mozone is a graduate transfer who has spent the last four seasons at USC Upstate in Spartanburg, SC. Mozone brings tons of production, averaging nearly 16 PPG and 5.7 RPB last year while shooting 38.5% from three.
Primo Spears transfers into Georgetown following a stint at Duquesne, where he averaged 12.7 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3 assists per game. He’s just a sophomore and is transferring from one six win team to another, hoping for better results the second time around.
To round out the extensive list of transfers, Georgetown welcomes back D.C. native Jay Heath, who attended Wilson High School (now Jackson-Reed).
Heath spent last season at Arizona State where he scored in double figures 17 times, averaging 10.6 PPG while starting 17 of 28 games.
Wayne Bristol Jr.
The Hoyas bring back five players for the season, although only four appeared in a game last year and only two played meaningful minutes. Those two players are Dante Harris and Ryan Mutombo.
Dante Harris runs the show for Georgetown. The 6’0 junior point guard and D.C. native was the Big East Tournament Most Outstanding Player as a freshman, following Georgetown’s miraculous run at the end of the 2020-2021 season.
Last year, Harris averaged nearly 12 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Harris started every game for The Hoyas, while Mutombo came off the bench in all but one game.
The son of Georgetown legend Dikembe Mutombo, Ryan spent the majority of his freshman season getting his feet under him, averaging just 5.1 PPG in roughly 12 minutes per game. He’s 7’2” 265 lbs. and could be a part of one of the better big man duos in the Big Eat with Qudus Wahab.
Sophomore guard Jordan Riley is coming off a shoulder injury that sidelined him for Georgetown’s final 22 games last season. He was off to a promising start, coming off the bench and playing nearly 13 minutes per game. If healthy, he should be an integral part of The Hoyas rotation.
Victor Mursean is the son of former NBA standout Gheorghe Mursean and a DMV native. He enters his third year in the Georgetown program, but has only appeared in three games in his first two seasons combined for The Hoyas.
Finally, junior guard Wayne Bristol returns to the full-time roster after sitting out all of last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
Bristol spent his freshman season in 2019-20 at Howard where he averaged 12.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. The following season, Howard only played five games before shutting down its season. That means Bristol has played in just five games in the last two years. He’ll certainly have some rust to shake off, but could be another important piece for Patrick Ewing.
PG: Dante Harris
SG: Denver Anglin
SF: Brandon Murray
PF: Bryson Mozone
C: Qudus Wahab
The Hoyas have to start hot.
Last year started with an opening night loss to Dartmouth at home and the team struggled from then on.
Dartmouth stunned Georgetown last year in the season opener. Photo: Dartmouth Athletics
Georgetown’s first three games are all at home against Coppin State, Green Bay and Northwestern. Coppin State won 9 games last year, Green Bay won 5 and Northwestern finished below .500 at 15-16.
If The Hoyas can start 3-0, they’re off and running. A loss to Northwestern is not the end of the world but with a coach sitting on perhaps the hottest seat in the Big East, they’ll need all the wins they can get.
Georgetown had all the momentum entering last season, fresh off a remarkable Big East Tournament run, The Hoyas were a trendy dark horse pick to make some noise in the regular season. Then they didn’t win a single conference game.
There is no doubt about it, the pressure is on Patrick Ewing to show dramatic improvement this year. It is year six and the program is currently in worse shape now than it was when he arrived in 2017.
The beautiful thing about sports is that all of that will be forgotten if Georgetown can put together an unlikely turnaround year. I believe they have the roster to do it, the question is how will all of these new faces mesh together with perhaps the only returning contributing player in Dante Harris?
By the time Georgetown plays its first Big East game against Xavier on December 16, I think they need to have eclipsed last year’s win total to provide hope to a fanbase desperate to get back to relevancy. I think they’ll do that.
Georgetown is up against the wall entering 2022-23. Patrick Ewing is on the hot seat and they’ve got a ton of new faces desperate to make a name for themselves. I love that recipe and I couldn’t be more excited to see it in action.
Patrick Ewing did it as a player...can he do it as a coach? Photo: Getty Images
As previously mentioned, Georgetown overhauled a roster that won six games. I do not view that as a bad thing, I view it as the only sane option they had.
Well, job done. Let’s see if it translates to the hardwood.
Prediction: 12-20 overall (4-16 Big East), 10th in Conference