THE HOYA WHO'LL ANNOY YA

That sound you heard on April 7 was the Hoyas' faithful breathing a collective sigh of relief as D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera removed his name from NBA draft consideration. Once the 6'3" combo guard, among the best perimeter scorers in the NCAA, decided to return for his senior year, Georgetown once again became a front-runner for a Big East title and a threat to go deep into the NCAA tournament.

The knock on Smith-Rivera from pro scouts is that he is a tweener—too small for his natural position at shooting guard, and with too strong a shoot-first mentality to play point—but he is an absolute terror for college defenses. While also lauding his leadership and basketball IQ, coach John Thompson III sums up Smith-Rivera's worth in simple terms: "At the end of the day we can put the ball in his hands, and he will score."

For the last two seasons Smith-Rivera has carried the Hoyas' offense, averaging 16.9 points in 34.9 minutes and shooting 39.0% from deep. Adept at connecting both off the dribble and on the catch, he's also comfortable attacking the rim and getting to the line, where he shot 86.1% in 2014--15.

As Smith-Rivera enters the season, he has one priority, and it's not improving his draft stock. "[NBA teams] can see what I bring to the table," he says. "The only thing I'm going to focus on is continuing to win."

PROJECTED TEAM STATS

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 113.0 (24th)

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY 94.1 (22nd)

BIG EAST RECORD 12--6 (T-2nd)

X-FACTOR

Freshman Jessie Govan, a 6'10", 270-pound center, should have no problem acclimating to the physicality of the college game. "He can go on the block right now and score with either hand," coach John Thompson III says.

STAT SHEET

With 2015--16 projections for the top six scorers

Coach John Thompson III (10th season)

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

PPG RPG APG OFF. RATING USAGE
G D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera* 6'3" Sr. 17.8 4.5 3.1 121.3 24.2%
PF Isaac Copeland* 6'9" Soph. 11.0 6.0 1.0 109.9 20.1%
G-F L.J. Peak* 6'5" Soph. 10.1 3.3 1.2 102.9 20.5%
C Jessie Govan* 6'10" Fr. 8.4 5.7 0.8 102.7 20.1%
F Paul White* 6'8" Soph. 7.2 3.7 1.4 107.4 18.4%
PG Tre Campbell 6'2" Soph. 6.2 2.0 1.7 111.3 15.0%

*Starter

TOURNAMENT TRACKER

[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

TITLE GAME

FINAL FOUR

ELITE EIGHT

SWEET 16

ROUND OF 32

ROUND OF 64

'11--12

'12--13

'13--14

'14--15

'15--16

PHOTOROBERT BECK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (SMITH-RIVERA) PHOTOELIO CASTORIO (GOVAN) CHART

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)