- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 4, 2001

The plodding Georgetown teams of old are gone.
With much of the size that helped the Hoyas to last year's Sweet 16 gone, Georgetown showcased a leaner, quicker squad in its exhibition opener against the All-Army team last night at McDonough Arena. Establishing a more offensively potent, up-tempo tenor, seven Hoyas scored in double digits as Georgetown spanked the Tankers 108-65.
Sophomore All-American candidate Mike Sweetney played a near-flawless offensive game, jockeying in the lane for 21 points in just 16 minutes. The 6-foot-8, 260-pound power forward from Oxon Hill missed just one of six attempts from the field and just one of 12 free throws en route to his game-high performance.
But if Sweetney's dominance against the unheralded bunch from the Army was expected, the stellar debut by Georgetown's freshman backcourt tandem of Tony Bethel (13 points) and Drew Hall (six assists) was not. Teaming with senior captain Kevin Braswell (11 points, four assists, five steals) and sophomore swingman Gerald Riley (18 points), the pair from Montrose Christian Academy helped soften the departures of last year's stalwarts, Anthony Perry (graduated) and Demetrius Hunter (transferred to UNLV).
"I feel more confident at the point guard position than I have in a long time," coach Craig Esherick said after watching the youngsters help his team shoot 53 percent from the field and drain eight of 18 shots from behind the arc. "Drew is a natural point guard, and Tony can play either backcourt position. So my concerns about making sure Kevin had someone to help with ball-handling duties seem to have evaporated. I was very happy with the way they played tonight in just their first game in a college uniform."
Unfortunately for Georgetown fans, top recruit Harvey Thomas was still not in uniform last night. The 6-8 forward from Frederick, Md., who was ranked as high as the 13th-best incoming freshman by one preaseason publication, is still wrestling with the NCAA Clearinghouse over eligibility issues and watched the game in street clothes.
"I have nothing to report in relation to Harvey Thomas," said Esherick, who is hoping the blue-chipper will cement Georgetown's status as a top-15 team and the Big East West division favorite. "I do not know about his status for the season. We're still dealing with the clearinghouse right now, and he's between heaven and hell. He's in limbo right now. We've been dealing with them back and forth for a while now. We are moving in the right direction, and I'm hoping it's going to be resolved soon. … He could be on the court Thursday [when Georgetown plays its second exhibition game against New Zealand Select]. I just don't know yet."
What Esherick knows is that he likes what he sees from the trio of junior big men expected to replace departed 7-footers Ruben Boumtje Boumtje and Lee Scruggs. Starting alongside Sweetney in the frontcourt, center Wesley Wilson (14 points, nine rebounds) and swingman Victor Samnick (13 points, 14 rebounds) helped the Hoyas to a 50-27 rebounding margin while displaying speed and agility in transition.
Their presence is likely to make this season's team far more explosive than last year's predominantly halfcourt crew. And 6-9 forward Courtland Freeman (10 points), who sat out last season with a back injury, did his best Scruggs imitation off the bench, drilling both of his 3-point attempts as the Hoyas opened the game on a 22-4 run and never eased up.
"If I want to be a spoilsport, our post defense was not that good," Esherick said. "But by and large, I was just happy that we were playing someone other than ourselves. Our practice on Wednesday was just awful, so bad I called it early, but I think it was because the guys just got sick of looking at each other. Overall, though, I'd say we're a little ahead of schedule."


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