- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 22, 2008

Georgetown‘s season-opening victory against Jacksonville provided an often ugly portrait of a young team attempting to establish its identity. With two crucial roles still unsettled, the No. 22 Hoyas continue that quest Saturday against Drexel.

When center Roy Hibbert and guard Jon Wallace left the Hilltop, the Hoyas were left without their primary scoring option and floor general. Which of this season’s Hoyas are capable and willing to shoulder those duties?

If there was a silver lining in Monday’s 71-62 victory against the Dolphins, it was that Georgetown looks to have a surprising leading candidate to fill Hibbert’s slot. Freshman Greg Monroe scored 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and was the most consistent cog in Georgetown’s halfcourt offense. The 6-foot-11, 250-pound center demonstrated an impressive arsenal of low-post moves and high-post efficiency. His passing and screening from the foul line were advanced well past most than that of freshmen; his drive and jam from the same spot might have been the highlight of the game.

“He is a facilitator,” coach John Thompson III said. “For someone who came into college with the accolades and hullabaloo that he had, he is someone who will make his teammates a lot better. A lot of times, those guys are individual talents who have to be taught team concepts. Greg is a team player who happens to have a hell of a lot of individual talent.”

Like Hibbert, it was clear against Jacksonville that Monroe needs to touch the ball at least once on every possession.

“Good things will happen when he touches the ball,” Thompson said.

Filling Wallace’s spot could prove more challenging. The team’s primary ball-handlers - senior Jessie Sapp and sophomore Chris Wright - are more assertive and volatile than Wallace. Aside from rebounding issues, chemistry between Sapp and Wright could be the key to the Hoyas’ season. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any friction between them.

“He’s been like a little brother to me ever since he got here,” Sapp said of Wright. “That’s my man.”

In a spiritual sense, the team belongs to Sapp, who Thompson said “has an understanding of what his coach wants more than any other player.” But Wright is a precocious talent with a similar skill set and more offensive polish. The former McDonald’s All-American is closer to a pure point than Sapp. The Hoyas will rely heavily on both, but it will be interesting to see how their relationship unfolds on the floor and who takes command of the offense in the clutch.

“I think we’re going to get leadership from a lot of different places,” Thompson said. “Obviously, it’s going to start with Sapp and DaJuan [Summers]. But at the same time, we have a lot of different guys who are willing and able to step up and be leaders. That’s also something that evolves.

“That’s not something that a coach [dictates]. That evolves on the floor, in the locker room - among them as much as anything.”

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