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

MEN’S BASKETBALL | Room for Improvement Ahead of Cooley’s Second Season

Despite another tough season on the Hilltop for the Georgetown men’s basketball team, there should be light at the end of the tunnel for the Hoyas.
Haan Jun (Ryan) Lee/The Hoya | Hoyas Head Coach Ed Cooley will look to lead Georgetown to better times ahead of his second year in charge of the program.

Head Coach Ed Cooley’s first year on the Hilltop marked another season of underperformance for the Georgetown men’s basketball team (9-23, 2-18 Big East). However, the Hoyas should take a step forward next year, with a top-20 recruiting class and an offseason to further adjust to the Cooley system, potentially providing a light at the end of the tunnel.

The season began on a bright note with a 94-57 trouncing of Le Moyne (15-17, 9-7 Northeast Conference) at home. The energy was palpable, as the much-heralded Cooley era officially began with a win. 

However, the Hoyas returned to last year’s habit of poor late-game execution — a trend that continued throughout this season — in a gutting 68-67 loss to Holy Cross (10-23, 6-12 Patriot League). This loss represented Georgetown’s worst defeat in program history, according to the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings.

The Hoyas then suffered a loss to Rutgers (15-17, 7-13 Big Ten), before unleashing a four-game winning streak against Mount St. Mary’s (13-19, 9-11 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), American (16-16, 10-8 Patriot League), Jackson State (15-17, 11-7 SWAC) and Merrimack (21-12, 13-3 MAC).

The run was powered by sophomore guard Jayden Epps’ scoring prowess. He was a highlight for the Hoyas, averaging 18.5 points — good for third in the Big East — and 4.2 assists per game.

What followed was perhaps Georgetown’s most heartbreaking loss of the year to Texas Christian University (21-13, 9-9 Big 12). The 84-83 loss came on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in which the Horned Frogs’ forward Emmanuel Miller had his foot out of bounds. In arguably the Hoyas’ most complete performance of the season, the team fell just short due to a botched call.

Georgetown next fell to rival Syracuse (20-12, 11-9 ACC) at home before reeling off wins against Coppin State (2-27, 1-13 MEAC) and Notre Dame (13-20, 7-13 ACC) to close out their nonconference schedule.

The 20-game Big East schedule was a disappointment for the Hoyas. They managed only two wins, matching last season’s Big East victory count, both against cellar dweller DePaul (3-29, 0-20 Big East).

The Hoyas ran several tough opponents close — including St. John’s (20-13, 11-9 Big East), Xavier (16-18, 9-11 Big East) and Providence (21-14, 10-10 Big East) — but failed to compete against the upper echelon of the conference, losing by more than 20 points to NCAA Tournament heavyweights UConn (35-3, 18-2 Big East), Creighton (25-10, 14-6 Big East) and Marquette (27-10, 14-6 Big East).

And in the first round of the Big East men’s basketball tournament, Georgetown bowed out to Providence in an 18-point loss, in which the Hoyas shot just 4-19 from the free throw line, a quiet end to a disappointing year.

Haan Jun (Ryan) Lee/The Hoya | Georgetown may look markedly different on the court next year, as Cooley looks to shape his roster with transfers and strong recruits around his returning core.

Much of the Hoyas’ troubles stemmed from defensive inconsistencies. Despite Cooley’s strong track record at Providence, Georgetown ranked No. 318 in the nation in scoring defense, oftentimes struggling to stay disciplined on coverage assignments. 

Scoring efficiency was also a major question mark. Cold streaks depleted an already-thin group of capable scorers, and the team played without much confidence toward the end of the season, putting extra pressure on Epps to anchor the offense.

Still, there were some glimpses of hope across the roster. Epps showed the ability to be a high-volume shooting threat, while junior guard Dontrez Styles flashed his 3-point range and rebounding abilities. First-year forward Drew Fielder also took impressive strides as he settled into the collegiate level.

For Cooley, this offseason marks a crucial opportunity to retool the roster and field a more competitive roster. Beyond the team’s graduating athlete, redshirt first-year guard Rowan Brumbaugh announced that he has entered the transfer portal, leaving the Hoyas with a tiny returning core next year.

Georgetown’s reconstructed roster will begin with its recruiting class, ranked in the top 20 by recruiting site 247Sports. Center Thomas Sorber is the crown jewel of the recruiting class, providing much-needed physicality in the paint for a Hoya team that has not yet found an answer at the five. 

Guard Kayvaun Mulready adds yet another versatile option to the lineup, supplying toughness on both ends of the court. D.C. recruit forward Caleb Williams represents a skilled wing, and redshirt first-year forward Drew McKenna also figures to be an impactful presence in the Georgetown program. 

The Hoyas will also likely be an active player in the transfer portal. Harvard guard Malik Mack, St. Joseph’s center Christ Essandoko and Oklahoma forward John Hugley IV, among others, are linked to the program. Given Georgetown’s investment in name, image and likeness rights through Hoyas Rising, the team is hedging its bets on transfers to provide an immediate spark for the program’s rebuild.

When Georgetown first hired Cooley, the coach preached patience to the Georgetown faithful, emphasizing that rebuilds do not happen overnight. In the upcoming season, Cooley will need to prove that the program is taking steps in the right direction.

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Daniel Greilsheimer
Daniel Greilsheimer, Senior Sports Editor
Daniel Greilsheimer is a sophomore in the SFS from Port Washington, N.Y., studying regional and comparative studies with minors in journalism and environmental science. He is the former Senior Opinion Editor and is still a huge fan of Costco (he's been to locations in seven U.S. states and territories). [email protected]
Oliver Ni
Oliver Ni, Senior Sports Editor
Oliver Ni is a sophomore in the SFS from Bolingbrook, Ill., studying science, technology and international affairs with a minor in mathematics. He was a proud member of the seventh lowest-ranked high school baseball team in Illinois. [email protected]
Caroline Brown
Caroline Brown, Copy Chief
Caroline Brown is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from Chevy Chase, Md., studying biology with a minor in English. She is always experimenting to make the perfect chocolate chip cookies. [email protected]
Evan Ecklund
Evan Ecklund, Copy Chief
Evan Ecklund is a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences from Houston, Texas, studying government with minors in Spanish and journalism. She has an identical twin sister and they share a birthday with their dog Willie. [email protected]
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