18 Georgetown An upgraded early schedule could pay off late in the season

Nov. 19, 2001
Nov. 19, 2001

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Nov. 19, 2001

College Basketball Preview 2001-02

18 Georgetown An upgraded early schedule could pay off late in the season

Senior point guard Kevin Braswell worked out frequently over the
summer with his best friend, Juan Dixon, the Maryland guard he
grew up with in Baltimore. In the heat of numerous one-on-one
battles, Dixon didn't dare tease Braswell about the Terps' 76-66
win over the Hoyas in the NCAA West Regional semifinals last
March. "We're so competitive that if he ever brought up that
game, we'd never leave the gym," says Braswell.

This is an article from the Nov. 19, 2001 issue Original Layout

Once Georgetown practice started last month, however, Braswell
and his teammates heard more about that game than they cared
to--from their coach, Craig Esherick. That's because the Hoyas,
who led the Big East in rebounding last season (44.9 per game),
were outmuscled by the Terps 51-41 on the boards. "I'm sure
they're sick of hearing about it," Esherick says, "but it's
going to be awhile before I stop reminding them." It's not that
Esherick wants his players to think that last season wasn't a
success. Georgetown's 25-8 record and second-place finish in the
West Division of the Big East was its best performance in five
years. He just wants the Hoyas to push themselves to do better.

The player with the most potential is Mike Sweetney, a 6'8",
260-pound sophomore who started every game as a freshman last
season and led the team in scoring (12.8 points a game) and
rebounding (7.4). Sweetney is a tough power forward who plays
with quiet confidence.

Shooting 43.4% from the field in conference games last season,
Georgetown was hurt further by the loss of 6'2" sophomore guard
Demetrius Hunter, the Hoyas' best three-point shooter (38.9%),
who transferred to UNLV this summer to be closer to his daughter.
Esherick again plans to generate points primarily as a result of
defensive pressure applied by versatile wingmen Gerald Riley, a
6'6" sophomore, and Victor Samnick, a 6'8" junior. Providing a
boost off the bench are 6'9" junior Courtland Freeman and 6'8"
freshman Harvey Thomas, who has shown impressive shooting range.

Even before the loss to Maryland, Esherick was unhappy that his
team had received a No. 10 seed in last year's NCAAs. After the
tournament he met with two selection committee members who were,
says Esherick, "very blunt about how weak they thought our
schedule was." The coach beefed up the 2001-02 slate by adding
Georgia, South Carolina, UCLA and Virginia. Braswell couldn't be
happier. "It's easier to prepare when you know you have to do
battle right away," he says. If the improved schedule toughens
the Hoyas, this season should have a happier ending.


COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Braswell and the Hoyas are coming off a stellar year, but they haven't forgotten the sting of a loss to Maryland in the NCAA West Regional.



SF Victor Samnick 6'8" Jr. 3.4 rpg
PF Mike Sweetney 6'8" So. 7.4 rpg[#]
C Wesley Wilson 6'11" Jr. 5.5 ppg
SG Gerald Riley 6'6" So. 6.7 ppg[#]
PG Kevin Braswell 6'2" Sr. 11.5 ppg[#]

2000-01 record: 25-8
Final rank (coaches' poll): No. 17
[#]Returning starter


COMMENT: Former coach John Thompson used to claim near-100%
graduation rate but conveniently didn't count players who left
program--including, presumably, those who flunked out. NCAA
figures are far less flattering. With signings in last eight
years of such players as Allen Iverson, Victor Page and Kenny
Brunner, academic goals seem to have become secondary. On court,
there are two ways of looking at Hoyas: Either they do great job
of developing pros or, in going as far as the Elite Eight once
in last 12 years, have won remarkably little with so many future
NBA players.

Grade: B-