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From a statistical standpoint, the production the Hoyas have to replace is almost identical to what the team faced in 2006-07. From a talent prospective, the five players added to the mix this season boast far better credentials than the 2006-07 group. That bunch featured one McDonald’s All-American (Macklin) and one Baltimore player of the year (Summers). This one boasts two McDonald’s All-Americans (Wright and Monroe), a Baltimore player of the year (Sims), an All-Met player of the year (Clark) and Virginia’s Mr. Basketball from 2007 (Vaughn).

“As far as the freshmen are concerned, I expect Greg, Jason and Henry to produce immediately,” Thompson said. “They do not have the luxury of time. They have to produce.”

In terms of style, this team is much quicker and more athletic than in recent seasons. What it loses in the halfcourt with the departures of Hibbert and Wallace, it should more than make up for with quickness and the transition explosion of Monroe and Wright.

Defensively, the learning curve could be steeper. The key concern is interior play. Georgetown ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage defense last season, largely because Hibbert’s presence allowed the Hoyas to push out on the perimeter and challenge shots.

Though he is a superior athlete, Monroe lacks Hibbert’s size and zeal for contact. That’s a major issue given the Big East’s profusion of talented pivots, including Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody and Pittsburgh’s DeJuan Blair. On the plus side, the Hoyas were an average rebounding team with Hibbert. But Monroe is going to need defensive help in the post from notorious “floaters” Summers, Vaughn and Sims if the Hoyas hope to contend for a third consecutive Big East regular-season crown.

In spite of Georgetown’s youth, perhaps the ultimate reason for optimism is Thompson’s history on the Hilltop. In each of his four seasons, Georgetown has outstripped preseason expectations.

”I don’t care where they were picked to finish; Georgetown isn’t going anywhere,” Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. “I look at Coach Thompson and his program the same way I used to view his father’s teams: The man can flat-out coach, and he can recruit.

”You better know Georgetown is going to be there - every year.”