Friday, May 30, 2008

Off-Season Blues

Wow, Card Chronicle has some great offseason coverage on the Big East. Ever since Bill Self left Illinois, and Charlie Villanueva decided not to come to Illinois (hmm, guess he didn’t want to be on a team that went to the national title game,) I’ve pretty much been of the following mindset: Don’t get excited until you see what team suits up in the fall. There are a lot of things that can happen (injuries, transfers, academic ineligibility) that can make your team worse, so don’t get your expectations too high.

But, since Georgetown had two rather significant defections already this offseason Vernon Macklin to Florida and Jeremiah Rivers to Indiana, and since recruit Chris Braswell is not academically eligible, I felt I should comment in some capacity.

My biggest concern is that Georgetown is about to have a season very much like the 2007-2008 Syracuse season. The Orangemen ended up with 3 players averaging over 88% of the minutes per game and the bench was virtually non-existent. The result was a team that had moments of glory, but often looked worn down by the end of the year. On paper Georgetown has three very talented recruits coming in (Monroe, Sims, Clark), two sophomore MAA guards coming back (Summers and Wright), and two veteran starters (Sapp and Summers). This group should produce a starting five that will be competitive with any team in the country. But what happens if one or more of the incoming players isn’t ready for Big East Competition? Who is going to fill that key 16-18 minutes of bench play? And what happens if one of the projected starters gets injured? The bench is the biggest question heading into the Big East season.

And that’s where a player like Jeremiah Rivers is sorely missed. Yes, he probably wasn’t going to start this year for Georgetown. Yes, he doesn’t have much of a jump shot. But Rivers did all of the little things. He rebounded; he played defense; he set up his teammates. He did all the “role player” things a team needs to win back-to-back Big East titles. And he will be missed. “Jeremiah was a Bulldog, was a good friend of mine…”