With just under a month to go before the Hoyas’ season opener, expectations are again riding high in McDonough Gymnasium.

Georgetown is eager to wash out the taste of last year’s season in which it lost 14 of its last 20 games and fell from back-to-back Big East titles to 12th in the league. The Hoyas’ offense went dormant for long stretches, their once-vaunted defense had lost a step and they could no longer close out tight games.

“As a program, because of the people that have been here, we have a foundation set; you can go through a year like last year and the sky’s not falling in,” Head Coach John Thompson III said during the team’s annual media day Wednesday. “Hopefully, we’ll learn the lessons and hopefully the steps that were taken last year will put us in a position for this year’s group not to have the same ending that [last year’s] did.”

When junior forward DaJuan Summers decided to enter the NBA draft, the Hoyas lost both their leading scorer and their most experienced player. For the first time since the 1991-92 season, Georgetown does not have a senior on the roster.

The Hoyas will rely on their trio of high school all-Americans – sophomore center Greg Monroe and junior guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright – to lead the way as the most battle-tested players. In particular, Monroe will be the center of the Hoyas’ game plan. The big man elected to return for his sophomore season despite NBA draft projections that had him going high in the first round.

“I thought about [my decision to return] a lot. I didn’t feel like I was ready to make that move at all,” Monroe said, adding that he decided right when the early-entry period opened.

After talking about how disappointing last season was personally and for the team, Monroe made it clear that this is a new year: “I think the team this year is just focusing on winning. I don’t think we’re focusing on last year.”

onroe is the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder and was second only to Wright in assists last season. The Big East rookie of the year earned his reputation with strong performances against the league’s top big men, from Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet to Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody. The Hoyas’ improvement in the Big East will depend on Monroe’s ability to take over in the clutch.

“Greg is very important. We go as far as he goes,” Wright said.

ore production is also expected out of Wright, who – after an injury-plagued freshman campaign – now has a full Big East season under his belt. The point guard was a ball of energy for the Hoyas. He was on the floor more than any other player last year but had bouts of inconsistency and poor shooting. His assists-to-turnover ratio (1.6:1) was well behind the league’s top point guards, and he shot just 32.3 percent from beyond the arc.

“[I took] a lot of shots this summer,” Wright said. “That’s one of the areas I was trying to focus on and improve on. I think as a team we didn’t shoot well. Not just myself, but everyone struggled shooting and making shots, especially down the stretch.”

Freeman, who will start for his third-straight year, is the Hoyas most experienced player. The shooting guard slightly increased his production across the board in his sophomore campaign, though he did not have the breakout season that some predicted.

The Hoyas also return a number of role-players who are no longer rookies to the team. Redshirt sophomore Nikita Mescheriakov broke into the starting lineup late in the Big East season as a small forward and three-point shooter, and sophomore guard Jason Clark played nearly 20 minutes a game off the bench. Sophomore forward Henry Sims and junior-transfer Julian Vaughn both spelled Monroe.

Freshman Hollis Thompson should have a leg-up on his classmates around the league. Thompson enrolled for the spring semester and practiced with the team throughout the second half of the season.

“We don’t have any seniors, but we have experience,” Thompson said.

The Hoyas open their season on Nov. 13 at Tulane, but Georgetown fans will have their first look at the team Friday evening when the Hoyas put on their dancing shoes for Midnight Madness. Georgetown will be eager to get its season off on the right foot and put last year to bed.

Editor’s Note: Media day was Tuesday, not Wednesday as the article says.

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