Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Hoyas Remain Quiet Assassins Among Stars

Last Wednesday was the annual gathering of Big East basketball coaches, players and media known as Media Day. A fitting beginning to the 22nd season of Big East basketball, Media Day took place in adison Square Garden, the same place the teams will play in early arch to determine their postseason fate (or lack thereof).

Although some big names dominated the spotlight in the pressroom (Notre Dame All-Everything Troy Murphy, opinionated St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis and always-strong Connecticut), Georgetown came away as one of the quieter favorites in the conference.

Georgetown was picked by the coaches to finish second in the `West Division’ of the Big East – somehow Georgetown is further West than Virginia Tech – behind Seton Hall and ahead of Notre Dame, yet the Hoyas managed to garner the most first-place votes (five to Seton Hall’s four).

The Hoyas also had three players on the two preseason All-Big East teams, the first time since Connecticut’s Elite Eight team of 1994-1995 that the same squad had three representatives on the preseason All-Big East lists. Junior point guard Kevin Braswell garnered first-team honors, while senior bigmen Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje and Lee Scruggs were named to the second team (and we’ll excuse the Big East for referring to Scruggs as `Lee Suggs’ in the press release, an obvious reference to Virginia Tech’s star running back).

These preseason accolades show that Georgetown won’t be sneaking up on the rest of the Big East this season. Nationally, some people may be surprised to see the Hoyas back in the spotlight after a three-year absence, but the rest of the Big East knows that Georgetown is returning a deep and talented squad.

But all these awards mean nothing at this point. What really matters is what will take place on the court over the next four-plus months. And the pieces are there to make it a good four months.

“We should be confident. I like it when we think we’re going to be good. Winning is within our control,” Head Coach Craig Esherick said.

And although there is a confident air floating around the team right now, a reminder of the struggles of recent years is ever-present, as last season’s NIT banner has found its way to a unique locale, hanging in the locker room. Braswell said he wanted to tear it down the minute he saw it, but as far as Esherick is concerned, Braswell will have to wait until the NCAA tournament comes calling for the Hoyas.

It’s not going to be a cakewalk into the NCAAs, though. Despite the cupcake-laden schedule, 20 wins is never easy, and there are plenty of Big East teams that still take pleasure in knocking off the originators of Hoya Paranoia (and the team that Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim thinks invented rough play – and boy does he like to talk about it).

One team less than intimidated by Georgetown is Connecticut. Talking with senior guard Albert Mouring and senior forward Edmund Saunders, one would get the impression that the Big East consists of Connecticut and everyone else.

“I give a B+ as to where we are now,” Mouring said. “We’re young but good, and we expect to win the Big East championship.”

Saunders, who was styling at Media Day with his five-button, silver pinstriped suit and diamond stud earrings, said “The team we play doesn’t matter as long as we win the game. I don’t care if it’s Georgetown, Seton Hall or anyone else. We demand respect.”

Sounds like they need a confidence boost up in Storrs, but unfortunately the Huskies won’t be knocked down by the Hoyas this winter. Due to the invention of the two-division schedule (thank you, Virginia Tech), each Big East team won’t play three teams in the conference each season.

For Georgetown, the teams are Connecticut, Boston College and iami, a dearth of matchups that Esherick described simply as “not good for the league.”

There are benefits to the new schedule, however, including a pair of regular-season games against Syracuse each season. The Syracuse rivalry was described by Esherick as “criminal” to not have, while Braswell sees Syracuse games as “great” and trips to the Carrier Dome as “a real experience.”

No matter who Georgetown is playing, though, wins are really all that matter – Saunders was definitely right on that point. But for Georgetown, racking up the wins has been a long time coming (okay, only three years, or so, but I’m not exactly known for my patience), but this squad seems ready to pick up the slack and return to the winning ways of yore.

“I saw Syracuse undefeated through January last year,” Braswell said, “and I see us being able to do that through early January this year.”

That’s what I like to hear.

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