With the early departure of All-America center Greg Monroe to the NBA, many questions surround this year’s edition of the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team. But with two of the best guards in the Big East in seniors Chris Wright and Austin Freeman, the Hoyas still figure to be in the mix for the conference championship.

“Coach already said it himself: The guards are going to have to set the tone this year,” said Freeman. “We’re just going to have to let everybody feed off of us because we have the most experience out of the group.”

Also in that stable of guards is the often-overlooked junior, Jason Clark. The slender, long-armed Clark is one of the best three-point shooters on the team and is depended upon to be its best on ball defender. Clark relishes the opportunity to step into an expanded role offensively.

“I’ve still got to do the same things I was doing before,” Clark said. “That’s playing defense, making plays, letting things happen and definitely knocking down my open shots.”

Georgetown will look to a stable of big men to try to replace Monroe. Much is expected from senior Julian Vaughn, who will step into the center position that Monroe vacated. He’ll have some help from junior Henry Sims, a Baltimore native, and freshman forwards Nate Lubick and Moses Ayegba.

“We’re not really trying to replace Greg. We’re just going to do what we have to do to win,” said Sims. “Nobody is expected to go out and get 15 and 10 . We’re expected to go and play. If somebody goes out and gets 15 and 10, great.”

Thompson said the Hoyas have some questions to answer, but this season is no different than any other year.

“I don’t go back and compare and contrast,” Thompson said. “You look at this group that we have here now and, as a staff and as a team, you have to try to figure out how this group is going to win.”

Before the Hoyas got on with the grind of early season practices, they took some time out to have a little fun at a midnight madness event Oct. 15.

Each player was introduced to a song of his choosing with most coming out to a contemporary rap song. Lubick bucked the trend and was introduced to Enrique Iglesias’ “Hero.”

The event, held at the school’s McDonough Arena in conjunction with the women’s basketball team, featured a performance by hip-hop star Wale and a tribute to local go-go pioneer, Little Benny.

In previewing the tribute, Thompson echoed the marketing slogan for the team this season by saying “D.C. is our playground.”

“We want to take you back to the Panorama Room,” he said, referring to a D.C. hoops landmark. “We want to take you back to the Black Hole.”

The two teams went on to form a soul train line as they danced to a medley of old-school go-go songs. However, with an early-season schedule that includes games against four NCAA tournament teams from last season, that night may have been the last bit of fun the Hoyas will have for a while.

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO