A little over a week ago the Georgetown Hoyas opened up their season in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, home to the South Korean naval base and a large concentration of U.S. troops. It was there that the Hoyas met the Oregon Ducks to square off before about two thousand soldiers in the second-annual Armed Forces Classic.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, Jabril Trawick, Markel Starks, Nate Lubick and UCLA transfer (but more importantly new Hoya) Joshua Smith made up the first starting five of the year, however the entire team saw action Friday night.
Trawick and Starks combined for 27 points, and Josh Smith put up 25 alone to lead the Hoyas. Hopkins also added another 10 in 15 minutes. The Ducks finished on top with an 82-75 win, but both teams had much to feel optimistic about after the game.
Korea was a huge learning experience for the Hoyas.
“Last year’s game and this year’s game were unique and we would do them each and every year just for the privilege to play before the servicemen and women,” Georgetown Coach Thompson said.
“You had to be there just to see and feel the energy—just how excited they were and what a release that just having this event there was for them. It hit our guys in the face that everybody there was their age. At least personally, you have this image a soldier. You don’t think of the 17,18 19 year old.
“We are talking about people in Korea right at the DMZ, and the tension there knowing that any second this is going to be first call, this is the front line of defense right here. I think we provided a relief and release for them. We would do that regardless of the slippery floors, one basket 10 feet 3 inches, [and] one basket 10 feet 1. We would do that every year just for the privilege and experience that goes above and beyond what happens on the court.”
“Eye-opening,” a “blessing” and “unbelievable” were some of the words used by players to describe the trip. This is an experience the Hoyas will remember forever.
As for now, this is an experience that will propel our team to championship form. Hoyas must also learn from being out rebounded 40-32 and shooting 1 of 15 from 3-point range. Another challenge going forward will be adapting to the new NCAA foul rules that aim to crack down on hand-checking, and more rigidly define the block-charge call and how a player can defend in the post.
“It’s an adjustment period,” Coach Thompson added. “I think that the officials still have to figure out what they are trying to accomplish as well as the players and coaching staff have to figure out the best way to change what you have been doing offensively and defensively to adjust.
“I just hope that the officials maintain consistent off the ball as well as on the ball. Meaning that it’s supposed to apply to cutters as well. So when our guys cut, which we do a lot relative to other teams, if you do this it’s supposed to be a foul also. So whereas before when people could stand up the cutters, bump the cutters and chuck the cutters, now that’s supposed to be a foul just like you can’t stand up the dribblers. So from an offensive perspective adjusting, tweaking, and adapting how we attack things as well as from a defensive perspective, adjustment has to be made all the way around.”
-Marcus A. Hughes, Sports Staff Writer
Image Source: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/blog/_/name/katz_andy/id/9949924/oregon-georgetown-learn-south-korea