We Are Georgetown: Hoyas start season against No. 19 Oregon

DSC_0069It’s here! Hoyas basketball kicks off tonight when Georgetown (25–7, 14–4 in Big East Play last year) and Oregon (28-9, 12-6 in the Pac-12 last year) play each other at the U.S. Army Camp Humphreys base in Pyeongtaek, South Korea. The Hoyas come into the season hoping it will end differently from last year’s disappointing first round exit in the NCAA tournament, but will face a strong opponent in Oregon, which comes off a very good last season which included a Pac-12 title as well as a trip to the Sweet 16. In the AP preseason rankings, Oregon is 19th while the Hoyas dwell in the “others receiving votes” category.

The Hoyas enter their first game with a wealth of experience. Except for junior center Josh Smith and freshman forward Reggie Cameron, the entire team is made up of returning members. Georgetown’s starting lineup is of course missing Otto Porter Jr., the team’s leading scorer from last year, but importantly is also missing Greg Whittington, who tore his ACL over the summer. This means that the team will need to replace the offensive production of these two players. However, as senior guard Markel Starks said, while Otto was a great player, “This team did a lot to help him as well to get those individual accolades.  And we have a lot of those teammates back, so this team really isn’t losing a whole lot.”

While Starks, who scored 12.8 points a game last year, will likely step into a larger role, the role of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera in this game will prove interesting. He scored almost 10 points a game last year while only playing about 25 minutes, meaning he has the talent to work well with Starks in the backcourt. In addition, Oregon lost its entire starting frontcourt from last year, meaning that it is up to returning starters senior forward Nate Lubick and junior forward Mikael Hopkins to exploit holes in the post. Smith could be the X-factor in this game. With the potential to dominate down low and create opportunities for other players, the big man could be the jump-start to the Hoya offense that sometimes goes stagnant.

Players to watch on Oregon include sophomore guard  Damyean Dotson, as well as new transfer, senior forward Mike Moser. Dotson is the go-to scorer for Oregon, scoring 11.4 points a game last season, and it is important that the Hoyas’ defense is able to limit him. Sophomore guard Dominic Artis was an exciting player as a freshman and will surely see improvement this season. However, Artis was suspended indefinitely earlier this week along with fellow starter, sophomore forward Ben Carter. Moser will prove a catalyst in the game—he put up great numbers at his last school, UNLV, but had several injury issues. While the guard matchups earlier this week were tantalizing, with the given suspensions, look for Starks and DSR to dominate.

Though not all questions will be answered tonight, this game will be an early glimpse of Smith and Cameron and will also show the new roles of Smith-Rivera, junior guard Jabril Trawick, and sophomore forward Stephen Domingo, among others. The season opener will be a welcome test for the Hoyas, who are hungry to prove their worth early on. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Photo: Miles Gavin Meng/Georgetown Voice

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