Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
So, that was interesting. After a second consecutive tumultuous week, your down to seven regularly contributing Hoyas have somehow, improbably, reeled off three consecutive victories against high-major teams. There were some highs, some lows, and some George Freaking Muresan, but midway through December 2019, this basketball team has four pretty solid non-con wins and only one pretty sub-par loss (Greensboro). Everything feels so weird.
Before we start sledding into holiday season, it’s time to give out some hardware to those most deserving. And because you proud Americans have waited over a week for these award-winning AWARDS, we have blessed you with a double dose of magic in this super-sized edition of THE CASUAL AWARDS.
Like one-third of our roster, away we go…. [too soon?]
The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award (PART ONE):
Jahvon Blair? Yes, Jahvon Blair!
Juggy doesn’t have time for all of the haters on the Interwebs [::stares pointedly at several Casual Hoya commenters::]. Against SMU, he just casually hit SEVEN three-pointers en route to a game high 21 points. To be fair, Blair has had his fair share of ups and downs in 2.5 years on the Hilltop. But when he’s on, he’s on. And in Dallas last Saturday night, he was most certainly on.
Streak shooters need to shoot. And with our suddenly depleted roster, Blair isn’t going to have much of a choice. He needs to step up. He needs to take and make shots. Against SMU, that’s exactly what he did.
The Blair Swish Project may actually be a movie that delivers. Coming soon to an arena near you.
One red flag: in the last two games, Juggy has attempted 19 field goals. They were all threes. At some point he may actually need to diversify his shot portfolio.
The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award (PART DEUX):
A similarly criticized target among some corners of the Georgetown commentariat, Jagan Mosely has emerged as a critical piece of the 2019-2020 roster.
Ready for Jiggy’s line against the Orange?
36 minutes, 16 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a career-high four three-pointers, 5-8 from the field, and, wait for it, a grand total of ZERO turnovers.
This was, without question, his most complete all-around performance as a Hoya, and he somehow wasn’t even on the receiving end of one of his patented charge calls (which, by the way, will receive their own award when he leaves the Hilltop).
On a day in which we needed his steadying hand more than ever, Mosely put on a gorgeous matinee performance against our most hated of rivals. The senior from Marlboro was just so POISED. For a guy who has often suffered ball control issues, Jagan played heady, confident ball. “WHY DOES HE START THOUGH?!?” – because he took good shots, he made smart passes, and he played stout defense. That’s why.
The Jason Kidd Award for Incredibly Confident Point Guard Play Award:
Terrell Allen in Dallas? TEN ASSISTS. ZERO TURNOVERS. And also he had ten assists. And zero turnovers. The last Hoya to have ten or more assists with zero turnovers was probably no one (we don’t care to do the research).
With so much flux in our roster, it’s so refreshing to have a veteran fifth-year grad transfer who just knows how to dish and defend. Can’t say enough positive things about Terrell. He’s exactly who we needed to steady the ship at exactly this time.
The Williams Sonoma Award for No-Stick Pans:
Your Georgetown Hoyas.
After beating up on SMU, Coach Big Pat said that the biggest difference in our play is that the ball “wasn’t sticky” and that our guys were moving the ball with ease and always looking to make the extra pass. He’s absolutely right.
Our win against SMU was incredible to watch. From start to finish, we just dominated and looked like a basketball team that knew what it wanted to do. Well coached. Unselfish. Making shots. Defending well. I mean, we had 26 assists on 34 field goals. That is, frankly, amazing.
In our last three games, your Hoyas have 62 assists on 90 field goals. So. Fun. To. Watch.
The John Starks Award for Stepping Up When Ewing Needs Him the Most:
Some people didn’t love it when Gus Johnson compared McClung to former Knicks great John Starks. But we didn’t mind it. Because the John Starks experience 1, had no backup plan [Hubert Davis? nah], and 2, meant some 2 for 18 nights, but also some nights when he was just…on. And in the last two games, Georgetown’s very own Big Mac has been ON.
Against SMU, he poured in 19 points (with SEVEN ASSISTS!). Against Syracuse, he scored a game high 26 points, including an earth-shattering, buzzer-beating three to end the first half and make no doubt that the Hoyas would not lose a third straight game in this series.
Look- Mac is a volume scorer, and thus far in his brief Georgetown career, he has had some highs and lows. But in the last few games (post-exodus), Ewing hasn’t had the luxury of benching McClung when he gets a little trigger happy. So, what has happened? McClung has taken better shots (for the most part) and he’s been making them.
Perhaps the most dazzling aspect of his overall performance in the last three games was the fact that he dished out seven dimes in Dallas while still hitting five threes. Entering this season, Mac hadn’t really shot it well from the perimeter and hadn’t been the best facilitator on the squad. Which makes his showing in the last few games so exciting to watch. We’re gonna need Mac to keep up this level of play on a consistent basis. It won’t be easy, and frankly, we’ll be stunned if he does. But if he can somehow continue this pace, he will unquestionably become a first team All Big East player.
The Buddy the Elf Award for Being Our Favorite Little Buddy During Holiday Season:
Not Buddy Boeheim.
And your name isn’t even Buddy — it’s Jackson.
All of that said, we’ll give you a casual tip of the cap. You scored ZERO points in glorious fashion in the first half against our beloved Hoyas, but then you scored 25 points and hit SEVEN threes in the second half. Pretty impressive. But not as pretty as your mom. Mom jokes are the best. But seriously, Elf is a great movie.
The Patrick Ewing Award for Being a Dominant Center Award:
Against SMU, our guy Omer chipped in with a nice little 19 points (on 8-12 shooting) and eight rebounds. And look at the shots he made. Baseline jumpers. Turnaround jumpers. Foul line jumpers. And some dunks.
While the Big Yurt has sometimes struggled under the basket (go up strong, big fella!), no one can deny how pretty he has looked with his array of Ewing-coached post moves. The way he played in the second half of the Duke game, or the second half of the SMU game, was so damn pretty.
And even though he struggled against Syracuse with a team-high six turnovers, he still managed to score an improbable 19 points. And his offensive game wasn’t the only thing that had us excited. Against the Orange, when his hair tie fell out and his man bun exploded into three feet of mahogany locks, he resembled a Turkish Fabio. RELEASE THE HAIR, YURT.
The Gregg Popovich Award for Excellence in Coaching Award:
Well, this has been a strange turn of events. Before the Texas game, people said he was a terrible coach. After the Texas game, people said he was a great coach. Regardless of where you stand on Ewing the tactician, he has undeniably had his fair share of ups and downs.
Since the departure of Akinjo and LeBlanc, however, his coaching has been unquestionably strong. The ball is moving, the rotations (albeit much easier with a shorter bench) have been solid, and we’ve even mixed in a little zone at times. We still don’t always love the hard hedging on defense, but his performance in the last three games has been pretty remarkable.
If Ewing deserves blame for all of these transfers and departures and shenanigans, then he also deserves credit for everything that has happened on the court.
During halftime of the ‘Cuse game, Steve Lavin said that if Georgetown makes the Tourney after all that has happened, Ewing will likely receive some Coach of the Year honors. My, what a difference a week makes. Nothing makes sense. Everything is both awesome and terrible.
The Marv Albert Award for Excellence in Broadcasting Award:
Gus Johnson and Jimmy Jackson.
We could’ve used Billy Raftery on Saturday, but all things considered, Gus and Jimmy brought their A games when they announced the ‘Cuse game. Considering Gus’s links to the Hoyas (Pops helped give him his start and Ewing was the best player on the Knicks squad that Gus covered for ten years), it’s nice to feel a little love from a guy who clearly likes and respects our history and tradition.
One minor quibble. When Jimmy Jackson was discussing his recruiting process in the 1980s, he said he considered Georgetown and Syracuse because the Big East back then was the best basketball conference in the country. We noticed the past tense, we didn’t appreciate the past tense, and we’re perfectly fine with your decision to not come to Georgetown. And yet, we love the GJ/JJ broadcasts, especially when we win.
The Michael Jordan Award for Having the Flyest Kicks Award:
Did you see the decomposing, Scotch-taped Jordans that our guy Mac was rocking during the ‘Cuse game? Gus Johnson asked Mac about those sneakers at halftime. He said he wasn’t about to change his shoes because they were his Jordans and because he wanted to keep the mojo going. Perfect response.
Quick question for all you sneaker nerds out there: where can we buy some scotch-taped Mac McClung kicks? The people want them. WHAT ARE THOSE?
The Elephant in the Room Award for Having a Gigantic Freaking Elephant in Your Room! Award:
Your Georgetown Hoyas.
“Addition by subtraction” is a cute little phrase we’ve all heard these last two weeks. And it makes sense…to a point. Yes, having a pass-first, experienced point guard is nice. And yes, the team has looked energized and unselfish in these last three games.
But OMG, there is no one left to subtract. Like, seriously. Teams can win with seven regular contributors. But it’s hard to see this mojo lasting. Someone is bound to have an off night. Someone is bound to get into foul trouble. And then we’ll see whether we have subtracted just a bit too much from this roster.
The “rally ‘round the flag” effect works well for dictators and feisty college teams, but sooner or later, the motivation doesn’t last. We’re looking forward to seeing how this team plays in the next three contests. It’s easy to get fired up for the big games; let’s see how we react in the sleepy days of December during the cupcake-ish part of our schedule. Need to be consistent. Need to continue to play unselfish. And if we’re being honest, need to find warm bodies off the bench (or from the football or futbol team) to play on the practice squad.
And, speaking of futbol….
The Michael Gross Award for Playing Passionate, Exuberant, Winning Futbol for Your Georgetown Hoyas:
Your 2019 Georgetown Men’s Soccer Team!
Dude, have you been watching these matches? NYHoya was in the stands for the epic, freezing come-from-behind-win against Washington to send your Hoyas to the Final Four. And it was a thing of beauty. A beautiful set piece strike from the middle by Jacob Montes levelled the score. And then Derek Dodson took us home with a silky smooth tap into the corner to give your Hoyas the 2-1 victory. (Which was particularly sweet, given the antics of a Washington defender who kept diving and taunting our players and fans.)
Once the College Cup action began, your Hoyas didn’t miss a beat. Despite a torrential downpour, Georgetown basically controlled the action against Stanford throughout the contest. Sean Zawadski started things off with a half volley screamer from the top of the box. In the second half, it was Zawadski again who used some nifty dribbling and a strong cross to set up a little tap-in from Foster McCune to seal the game. It was fun to watch. Which is why they deserve….
The Chris Wright Heart of a Champion Award (Part Trois):
Your 2019 Georgetown Men’s Soccer Team!
Seriously. This year’s squad finished off an epic season with a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, absolutely electric NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP against Virginia. Regulation goals by Paul Rothrock, Daniel Wu, and Derek Dodson [via quite the win back and through ball by Ifunanyachi Achara] paced the Hoyas through 90 minutes, and after a scoreless 20 minute golden goal OT, seven Hoyas stepped to the penalty spot, and seven Hoyas coolly buried SEVEN. PKS. IN A ROW. [“ONIONS!”] to keep the pressure on Virginia before Tomas Romero, who made an incredible parry in OT to keep things level, made this championship-clinching save in the shootout.
Georgetown has done it!
After 13 straight made penalty kicks, the Hoyas’ keeper shuts the door for the program’s first title pic.twitter.com/ahylhE0qCE
— ESPN (@espn) December 16, 2019
[SwordOfBrunner note: congrats to senior defenseman Dylan Nealis for unseating me as the most accomplished athlete from Massapequa High School in Georgetown history. My intramural floor hockey hat trick seems trivial now.]
Just an amazing all-around effort for Coach Brian Wiese and the team. A tip of the cap to every single person involved with the program, and really, to every men’s soccer team that paved the way for this one to have so much success. A thrilling, but much deserved W to end a pretty awesome weekend of sports. Hoya saxa, lads.