The summer shootaround series moves along to Georgetown, the only D.C. team to make the NCAA tournament a year ago.
In today’s dead-tree edition, there’s a look at guard Markel Starks, who (like his teammates) has little interest in repeating last season’s round of 32 exit from the postseason.
It is, to be sure, an interesting team. The Hoyas lost their top three scorers —- Jason Clark and Henry Sims were seniors, and Hollis Thompson turned pro a year early. There are no seniors on the roster, and Starks and Nate Lubick are the only two juniors.
Still, it’s not an entirely new bunch, as Starks asserted.
“Now, the returning guys, it speaks for itself. People tried to say last year we were too inexperienced, we weren’t inexperienced enough,” Starks said. “I beg to differ. I think the guys that are returning from the team last year, I think they’re going to give us a big boost seeing as some played substantial minutes.”
Forward Otto Porter didn’t agree with the suggestion he’s part of, for lack of a better term, an old group of sophomores. At the same time, his class has crammed plenty of experiences into their first year on campus.
“I would say we’re very confident in what we’re bringing to the team,” Porter said. “That whole experience with China, it just boosted our confidence up, playing against older guys and just getting ready for the season. I think that helped a lot. Playing during the season, getting a little bit of experience and the tournament, I think that helped a lot.”
As for a few other tidbits from a trip to the Hilltop …
1. Porter is the Hoyas’ top returning scorer at 9.7 points per game. He was also Georgetown’s leading rebounder (6.8).
“Obviously, he’s going to be a very key piece to our success this year, not only from a points standpoint but a rebounding standpoint, an assist standpoint, just an all-around player,” Starks said.
2. Porter attended skills academies hosted by LeBron James (Las Vegas) and Kevin Durant (Chicago) this summer.
“It was a great experience playing at that level of competition,” he said. “Going through skills and things like that, it just helps with the confidence playing with other great guys in college. It helps a lot. You just learn so much.”
3. Sophomore guard Jabril Trawick played in all 33 games last season, averaging 3.4 points in 11.4 minutes. He could play a larger part in the Hoyas’ rotation this year.
“Jabril is working. He’s working. Man, he’s working,” Porter said. “He knows he has to play a role and he’s going to do whatever it takes.”
4. Forward Moses Ayegba has played all of 26 minutes in two seasons and sat out last year with a right ACL tear, but he’s still picked up a lot.
“Granted he hasn’t played in two years [and] forgive me for saying this, but I think he’s going to give us some experience seeing that he’s been around the game for two years at the college level,” Starks said. “He’s seen some things and it shows up in workouts.”
5. Georgetown’s Nov. 9 opener against Florida will be played on the USS Bataan, an aircraft carrier that will be stationed outside of Jacksonville, Fla.
“Wouldn’t you be looking forward to that experience?” Starks asked emphatically.
The Hoyas also face UCLA (Nov. 19) and Indiana or Georgia (Nov. 20) in the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y., Tennessee (Nov. 30) at home and Texas (Dec. 4) in the Jimmy V Classic.
—- Patrick Stevens