As the calendar turns to September, the Hoya faithful look ahead to Midnight Madness, barely a month away. But the coaching staff is hard at work, watching and visiting recruits during the current “contact” period. Fall is a common time for commitments (e.g., 2010: Jabril Trawick, Mikael Hopkins, Tyler Adams, and Brandon Bolden; 2008: Markel Starks, Nate Lubick; 2007: Greg Monroe; 2006: Jason Clark, Chris Wright; 2005: Austin Freeman). So, Hoya fans should expect some activity, particularly in the 2012 class, in the next few months. How many, and who, remain to be seen.
It’s a trickier question than you might think. Georgetown, like other hoops squads that haven’t been docked scholarships, is allowed 13 scholarships per season. For 2011-12, the Hoyas have 12 scholarship players, meaning one ‘ship will remain open through this season and will be available next fall. Henry Sims and Jason Clark both will depart after their upcoming senior seasons, bringing the total open scholarships for 2012 incoming freshmen (or transfers) to three. Bolden’s presumed arrival next fall leaves two more slots. An early departure (Hollis Thompson will still be eligible in 2012-13, but may choose to dive into the professional waters next summer, having tested them this year) or outgoing transfer eventually could give the Hoyas another spot for next year, but that’s speculation at this point.
However, Georgetown may not want to use all of its scholarships next year. Recent history certainly suggests against it: the Hoyas have not had 13 scholarship players since 2005-06. 2012-13 may be the seventh straight season at less than capacity, given their current recruiting efforts. Georgetown is pursuing a number of highly ranked 2013 targets, including small forwards Troy Williams (who will attend this year’s Midnight Madness) and Stephen Domingo (who visited the Hilltop in July), big man Nerlens Noel, and guards Nate Britt (whom JTIII recently visited), Allerik Freeman, Rysheed Jordan, and Tyler Ennis (whom JTIII saw, yesterday). Thompson is the only Hoya currently scheduled to depart the Hilltop in the spring of 2013; if JTIII gets an early commitment from a 2013 target, or feels bullish about his chances, he may feel that he needs more than one slot open for that fall, and accordingly leave a spot open for the 2012-13 season.
Even though we don’t know how many newcomers there will be next fall, the intensity of current recruiting efforts make it a good time to survey the field. Fortunately, the coaching staff is on a number of high-profile recruits for the year ahead. While a surprise recruit could still bubble to the surface, here are those that have been mentioned most frequently in connection with Georgetown and haven’t committed elsewhere (au revoir, Danuel House, L.J. Rose, et al.).
Guards. In the back court, Georgetown will need to replace Jason Clark next year. Here’s who they’re looking to get.
- Kyle Anderson. As detailed previously, Anderson is a point guard in a small forward’s body, with all the skills and intelligence necessary to be an excellent floor general and the size to see above the defense. The coaching staff has been pursuing Kyle Anderson roughly since birth, most recently with Tuesday night’s in-home visit. Rank: #5 (ESPN); #2 (Rivals); #4 (Scout). Video: here. Interest: In case the tweet-by-tweet breakdown wasn’t a sufficient signal, let’s just say high. Then again, his recruitment has been at frenzy pitch for each of the schools involved. Competition: Seton Hall, UCLA, Florida, St. John’s. Crucial date: Sept. 20, when Anderson announces his decision.
- D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera. Smith-Rivera, listed at 6’3″, 210 lbs., is a natural scorer, penetrating into the lane while also stroking it from deep. What he lacks in elite athleticism and length he makes up for with on-court savvy. Rank: #45 (ESPN); #22 (Rivals); #30 (Scout). Video: here. Interest: JTIII visited Smith-Rivera to start the current contact period, perhaps a sign of the Hoyas’ serious interest. Smith-Rivera will reciprocate, as he plans to visit Georgetown September 23. While Hoya fans might have been discouraged by Smith-Rivera’s transfer to Oak Hill Academy, where interest in Georgetown historically has gone to die, DSR’s upcoming trip to the Hilltop allays some of those concerns. Competiton: Louisville (where he’ll visit Oct. 14), N.C. State (where he’ll visit this weekend), Xavier, possibly Michigan State. Crucial date: Sept. 23, when DSR visits. Expect a decision after his mid-October Louisville date.
Forwards. While the Hoyas won’t necessarily be replacing a wing player, they are keeping tabs, or more, on each of the players below.
- T.J. Warren. Warren, a 6’7″, 205-lb. small forward, is a versatile scorer who can get buckets from anywhere on the court. The North Carolina native can score through traffic, after contact, and from the perimeter. He’s frequently been compared to Paul Pierce, high praise indeed. Rank: #23 (ESPN); #23 (Rivals); #22 (Scout). Video: here. Interest: The coaching staff visited Warren Tuesday, at his new Brewster Academy digs, after tracking him throughout the summer. He unofficially visited the Hilltop over the summer, named Georgetown in a short-ish list of schools, and included Georgetown among his five permitted official visits. Competition: Some heavy hitters here, Kentucky, North Carolina, N.C. State (where his father played), Florida, and Texas.
- Devonta Pollard. While the previous entries on this list have drawn attention primarily for their vast offensive repertoires, Pollard, a 6’7″, 195-lb. athlete, has raised eyebrows on defense as well as offense. While his perimeter game is still developing, he’s a force near the basket on both ends and in transition, and has a nice pull-up jumper. Rank: #20 (ESPN); #9 (Rivals); #21 (Scout). Video: here and here. Interest: Pollard is from Mississippi, home state of freshman Tyler Adams and stomping grounds of assistant coach Robert Kirby. Kirby got Pollard to attend Midnight Madness last year, attended a number of his games throughout last year, and tracked him closely over the summer. Competition: Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi State, and most other schools South of the Mason-Dixon Line.
- Twymond Howard. Howard, a 6’6″, 205-lb. small forward, is a great athlete, drawing recruiting attention in football as well. On the hardwood, he uses his strength to finish around the basket, and has a developing mid-range game. Rank: #69 (Rivals); #90 (Scout); Unr. (ESPN). Video: here. Interest: Howard has listed the Hoyas among his top few schools, but no word yet on any planned visits. Competition: Kansas, Maryland, Arkansas, Baylor.
- Stefan Jankovic. Jankovic, a Serbian native who grew up in Canada, is the prototypical skilled 4, a 6’9″ 200 lb. big man who can stroke it from deep. Video: here. Rank: Unr. (Rivals); Unr. (Scout); Unr. (ESPN). Interest: Georgetown reportedly has offered, and Jankovic is considering whether to take his fifth official visit to the Hilltop, or to Syracuse. Should be an easy choice. Competition: Wake Forest, Missouri, Purdue, Florida State, Syracuse.
Posts. The departure of Henry Sims will leave a spot open down low. While Bolden will seek to fill that void, the staff also is looking at these big men.
- Tony Parker. A 6’9″ space eater (weighing in at anywhere from 250 to 270), Parker is a force in the post. The Georgia native uses his wide frame and superb footwork to finish around the rim but shows an impressive mid-range game, too. Video: here and here. Rank: #31 (ESPN); #33 (Rivals); #19 (Scout). Interest: Parker’s interest in the Hoyas seemed to wane during the spring, but the efforts of Kirby and JTIII have put Georgetown back on his radar enough to be among his final six schools. Parker said that he plans to take one of his five official visits to Georgetown. However, plans seem to be up in the air, as an article yesterday suggested that Georgetown and Memphis were out of the picture; while Parker refuted that suggestion, he also said yesterday that he won’t be attending the Tigers’ Midnight Madness. Best stay tuned. Competition: Duke, Ohio State, UCLA, Memphis, and Kansas.
- Robert Upshaw. Upshaw is a massive prospect, measuring 6’11″ (or maybe even 7-foot) and somewhere between 240 and 270 lb. He’s a hard worker that can clog the lane on defense and, on offense, can finish at the rim, pass out of the post, and even step out to hit a mid-range jumper. Video: here. Rank: #49 (ESPN); #43 (Rivals) ; #40 (Scout). Interest: Georgetown had an in-home visit with him on Sunday. Competition: The California native has drawn interest regionally (Arizona, USC, Fresno State, UNLV), and nationally (Louisville, Okla. State, Kansas State, Maryland).