Over a month after winning the Big East Tournament championship, the Georgetown Hoyas have made a number of offseason moves. Seniors who are now Hoya legends have finished their Georgetown careers, key players have announced they will continue their careers elsewhere, fresh faces are coming through the transfer portal and the Hoya fanbase is anxiously awaiting news regarding one more member of the Class of 2021.
Sophomore center Qudus Wahab’s decision to transfer to the University of Maryland was the most disappointing part of this offseason. Wahab was a pivotal part of the Hoyas’ championship run, averaging 12.7 points and 8.2 rebounds through the Big East Tournament. His departure came as a shock for the program. Following Georgetown’s victory over Villanova on March 11, Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) said, “By the time he leaves … he’s going to be the best big in the country,” adding that he hoped Wahab would stay for two more years.
First-year guard TJ Berger also entered the transfer portal. Berger showed promise in limited minutes last season, but he was going to struggle to earn playing time this year.
Though losing Wahab and Berger was heartbreaking, other players’ departures were more bittersweet. Senior guard Jahvon Blair declared for the 2021 NBA draft and plans to begin his professional career. Blair was a 2020-21 All-Big East Honorable Mention and a member of the 2021 Big East All-Tournament Team.
Senior forward Jamarko Pickett also finished his fourth year as a Hoya, but he may use his additional year of eligibility granted to him by an NCAA COVID-19-era ruling to remain at Georgetown. Together, Blair and Pickett played instrumental roles in the Big East championship. The pair has fostered a great culture at Georgetown, and they have been mainstays throughout Ewing’s coaching tenure.
Graduate forward Chudier Bile may also not be returning as a Hoya. In one season with Georgetown, Bile brought a solid jumper and much-needed physicality to the Hilltop.
It hasn’t been all exits and heartbreak for Georgetown, though. Coach Ewing has landed two transfers of his own in Tre King and Kaiden Rice. King, a junior from Eastern Kentucky University, scored nearly 15 points per game. His main contribution to the Hoyas, however, could come on the defensive end. Last season, King ranked fourth in his conference in defensive rating, fifth in blocks per game and ninth in steals per game.
King will likely play most of his minutes as a center next year, providing spacing that the Hoyas didn’t have last season — Wahab and sophomore center Timothy Ighoefe aren’t shooters. This positioning could occasionally sacrifice rim protection on the defensive end, however, so King could also see limited minutes as a forward alongside Ighoefe or incoming first-year Ryan Mutombo. King’s versatility is intriguing; it gives Georgetown a new opportunity to run a pace and space unit or a slower, stifling defensive squad. His physicality, willingness as a shooter and defensive hustle make him an excellent addition for the Hoyas next year.
The Citadel’s senior guard Kaiden Rice also transferred to Georgetown this offseason. Rice’s projected role as a Hoya next season is clear: space the floor. Last year, he jacked up 10.6 three-pointers per game and shot 34.8% from beyond the arc. On a roster where first-year guard Dante Harris and incoming recruit Aminu Mohammed will be handling the ball, Rice’s ability to make off-ball contributions will be valuable.
Though the retirements, transfers and new additions have all been exciting, Georgetown’s fate next year lingers over one more announcement. The Hoyas are reportedly a major contender to recruit Patrick Baldwin Jr., who placed fourth in ESPN’s 2021 recruiting rankings. Baldwin Jr.’s importance cannot be overstated. A 6’9” forward, his size, length and frame could come from a basketball blueprint. He has been particularly noted for his smooth jumper, but he’s a complete player — he’s a shot-blocking athlete whose shots can’t be blocked. His stature, coupled with his poise and superb basketball intelligence, make for someone who will contribute in all facets of the game.
Coach Ewing is coming off the best stretch of his coaching career — following it up by landing Georgetown’s biggest recruit ever would be huge for a program looking to reestablish itself as a perennial powerhouse.
Saar Shah is a first-year in the McDonough School of Business. The Fifth Quarter appears online every other week.