This was a summer of discontent for the Hoyas, who started last season 12--3 and were ranked as high as No. 9 but went into a death spiral, finishing 4--12, missing the NCAA tournament and losing in the first round of the NIT. No one was bothered more than junior guard Austin Freeman. In late March, Freeman conceded to coach John Thompson III that he had been overweight and wanted to do something about it.
This is an article from the Nov. 23, 2009 issue
"It was no secret," Thompson says, "but for him to identify it as something he needed to work on was important."
So in the off-season Freeman shed 12 pounds to get down to 227. The extra bulk he carried last year sapped some of his explosiveness on offense and limited his effectiveness as a defender. "We just couldn't close out games," says Freeman, who was one of eight underclassmen in an 11-man rotation that included league rookie of the year Greg Monroe. "[Our] youth played a part, but I also think we were beaten down by the end of games."
Youth will still be an issue for Georgetown—there are no seniors on its roster for the first time since the 1992--93 season—so the burdens of leadership will fall to Freeman and junior point guard Chris Wright. "I think Chris will be much more settled, much more comfortable with what we are doing," Thompson says of Wright, a former McDonald's All-American who missed 18 games as a freshman with a right-foot injury. Freeman, meanwhile, must improve his .306 shooting percentage from three-point range. "Austin has put in the reps in the off-season and in practice, and the difference has been noticeable," Thompson adds.
The slimmer Freeman has also been one of the team's best defenders in workouts, and the bitter taste left from last season's dismal finish still drives him. "The team and I didn't live up to expectations," he says, "but this year's team is hungrier. Last year was tough, but going through that will make us tougher to beat this year."
PROJECTED STARTING FIVE
John Thompson III (6th season)
|PG||Chris Wright||6'1"||Jr.||12.5 ppg||3.8 apg|
|SG||Austin Freeman||6'4"||Jr.||11.4 ppg||4.2 rpg|
|SF||Hollis Thompson*||6'7"||Fr.||18.6 ppg||9.0 rpg|
|PF||Henry Sims||6'10"||Soph.||1.9 ppg||1.7 rpg|
|C||Greg Monroe||6'11"||Soph.||12.7 ppg||6.5 rpg|
|G||Jason Clark||6'2"||Soph.||5.2 ppg||2.6 rpg|
*2007--08 high school stats
Nov. 13 at Tulane
Nov. 17 Temple
Nov. 21 at Savannah State
Nov. 28 Lafayette
Nov. 30 Mount St. Mary's
Dec. 5 American
Dec. 8 Butler*
Dec. 12 Washington‚Ä†
Dec. 19 Old Dominion
Dec. 23 Harvard
Dec. 31 St. John's
Jan. 3 at DePaul
Jan. 6 at Marquette
Jan. 9 Connecticut
Jan. 14 Seton Hall
Jan. 17 at Villanova
Jan. 20 at Pittsburgh
Jan. 23 Rutgers
Jan. 25 at Syracuse
Jan. 30 Duke
Feb. 3 South Florida
Feb. 6 Villanova
Feb. 9 at Providence
Feb. 14 at Rutgers
Feb. 18 Syracuse
Feb. 23 at Louisville
Feb. 27 Notre Dame
March 1 at West Virginia
March 6 Cincinnati
*Jimmy V Classic in New York City
‚Ä†John R. Wooden Classic in Anaheim
After the Hoyas face Butler on Dec. 8 they travel across the country to play Washington. It will be a test of whether Georgetown has matured to the point where it can handle two tough opponents in a short stretch—something it couldn't do last season.
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