In the waning moments of April’s Capital Classic, future Georgetown Hoya Greg Whittington a 6-foot-9-inch power forward from Oakland Mills High School in Columbia, Md., couldn’t hide his expectations for the upcoming season.

“I’m looking forward to bringing my talent, Mikael’s talent and the rest of the crew’s talent to Georgetown and hopefully get to the Final Four next year,” he said.

The “Mikael” Whittington was so excited about is Mikael Hopkins, a 6-foot, 9-inch center from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md. Hopkins and Whittington are part of a five-man incoming freshmen class for Georgetown, one that has locals around Washington, D.C. excited.

Along with three other heralded recruits in Tyler Adams (Brandon, Mass./Brandon High School), Otto Porter (Sikeston, Mo./Scott County Central High School) and Jabril Trawick (Jenkintown, Pa./Abington Friends High School), this year’s freshmen class could be the Hoyas’ most diverse in years.

But it all starts with Whittington, one of Maryland’s most sought-after recruits. A paper-thin player at only 195 pounds, Whittington’s lack of size didn’t stop him from averaging over 24 points, four blocks and 11 rebounds a game last year as a senior. His talents drew a crowd into Georgetown’s McDonough Arena on July 2 for the start of the Kenner League, an annual indoor summer basketball circuit featuring college and pro players historically hosted on the Georgetown campus.

With an early opportunity to check out Whittington, Hopkins and Trawick, a pro-Hoyas audience was at full attention.

“I’ve seen Hopkins play but I haven’t seen Whittington yet,” an eager Charles Taylor said before the start of the day’s games. Taylor, an avid Georgetown follower, had read the stories about Whittington’s breakout senior campaign but the Kenner League afforded him an early look in.

“I’m excited about our freshmen, they should be able to help immediately,” he said.

The league is divided into two divisions featuring seven teams apiece. This summer however, Georgetown’s freshmen class was deep enough for the youngsters to form their own squad, Team Tombs, a seven-man unit featuring all five of the newbies. In their first action together, Whittington and Hopkins led the way in an 87-61 demolishing of a makeshift squad of locals, the Startin’ Five. Whittington was particularly impressive, showcasing long range shooting, smooth handle and an ability to finish that sparked the local crowd.

Players were off-limits for interviews but that didn’t stop the fans from chiming in.

“I liked what I saw,” said fan Timothy White. “They all looked good but Whittington did his thing. He looks like a small forward obviously because he’s so skinny but he’s got a lot of skill. He should be a good one before he graduates here.”

The Kenner League is scheduled to run every weekend until July 31. Playoffs will begin Aug. 4, leading up to a championship game on Aug. 7.

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO