With the clock showing six seconds, Chris Wright made his move. Three dribbles to his right, a slight push off and a quick step back. From just inside the three-point line, a release and a swish. Game over. How’s that for a debut? The setting may have only been the summertime Kenner League, but Wright wasted little time tantalizing the crowd with his combination of speed and savvy. In addition to that game-winning jumper, his first of two in the summer season, Wright poured in 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field (0-4 from three) and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. His outside game, as he showed in the contest’s waning moments, is there when he needs it, but it was Wright’s ability to slash to the basket that most impressed. Wright’s lightning-fast first step is something that has not been seen on the Hilltop in some time. The fact that he wore the No. 3 in Kenner League and sported a tight buzz cut with a light streak down the left side does not help to discourage comparisons to a certain former Hoyas guard. Comparisons to seven-time NBA all-star starters aside, Wright joins Austin Freeman in one of the nation’s top incoming backcourt duos. Throw in 6-foot-8 wing Nikita Mescheriakov and 6-foot-5 guard/forward Omar Wattad, and Georgetown has its second-straight highly regarded recruiting class. “We have a couple of guys, in Chris and Austin, who have been very good players and very well known in this city for a very long time, but they come in as freshmen – as willing freshmen – and I think that’s something that’s important,” Head Coach John Thompson III says. While neither Freeman nor Wright is expected to start, both should receive significant minutes. Both can spell either Jessie Sapp or Jon Wallace in the backcourt, and Freeman can slide over and play the three as well. Wright broke his foot during preseason, so Freeman will likely be the first to break into the rotation. But, Wright shouldn’t miss more than a week or two of the regular season – at Georgetown’s media day on Oct. 11, Thompson estimated Wright would miss approximately four more weeks. Wright’s performances this summer, of course, were not always quite as tremendous as his first, but his averages of 17 points, four rebounds and three assists offered an impressive sneak peak. On the defensive end, Wright’s quickness allows him to play suffocating, full-court defense when he chooses to – evidenced by 13 steals in seven games this summer. Wright’s handle is solid and he seems to be the prototypical press-breaker, but he’s also shown a penchant for turning the ball over in traffic. Before Wright begins driving to the rim with abandon in Big East play, he will need to demonstrate an ability to pass out of the double team. He also showed himself in Kenner play to be an above-average rebounder for his size, often outleaping players three to six inches taller to grab a board, usually on the offensive end. A product of nearby Bowie, Md., Wright played his high school ball at St. John’s College High School here in the District. Wright first earned a spot on the prestigious Washington Post All-Met team as a sophomore in 2005 (he was joined on the roster by Jessie Sapp), and as a junior, he earned the honor yet again, averaging 22 points and five boards. Then, last winter, Wright became the first person since Adrian Dantley in the early 1970s to be a three-time All-Met selection. As a senior, Wright’s numbers were scintillating (30.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.3 assists) and for his career, Wrights’ final scoring total (2,580) was one of the highest in Washington-area history. For his efforts as a senior, Wright earned yet another honor as a McDonald’s all-American. In most seasons, a performance like Wright’s 2006-07 campaign would earn not just an all-Met selection, but all-Met player of the year honors. Last year, however, that distinction was reserved for someone else. Austin Freeman led his team to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title three years in a row. Ditto the city title. As a senior, he averaged 22 points, but that is somewhat deceiving: His DeMatha Catholic Stags often beat teams so badly that Freeman would only play one half or three quarters of the game. When needed, Freeman was capable of lighting it up, evidenced by his 29 point average against Wright’s squad last season. Combine his individual accomplishments with his team’s dominance, and Freeman was the logical choice for the Post’s player of the year award. (How significant an award is that? The previous four winners are Kevin Durant, Villanova’s Dante Cunningham, Rudy Gay and Linas Kleiza. Only Cunningham is not yet in the NBA). Freeman was also all-Met as a junior, averaging 17.9 points and 7.1 boards. He is the first DeMatha product to attend Georgetown since Don Willis in the early 1970s. At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Freeman presents an intriguing combination of size and speed. Though not as foot-race fast as Wright, Freeman seems to move almost effortlessly. Whereas Wright moves quickly, Freeman moves efficiently, and while he does not possess as much flash, Freeman is equally adept at getting to the bucket. From beyond the arc, Wright has the ability to get hot and light things up (see: his victory in the McDonald’s all-American game’s three-point shooting contest), but Freeman possesses a steadier stroke. Add to that the fact that Rivals.com recruiting calls Freeman “the most lethal mid-range scorer in the class [of 2007],” and that Freemanes possess a game tailor-made for the Princeton offense. His ability to move without the ball and his court sense should make him the ideal target for a backdoor pass. And, his mid-range talent is perfect for combating a zone defense. “Austin is a really great shooter, he’s really like a smooth player,” says sophomore guard Jeremiah Rivers. “Austin most definitely brings his outside game to the team, and Chris most definitely brings his penetrating skills to the team.” If it seems like Wright and Freeman get compared to one another a lot, it is because they do. The two first played against each other as early as age 10 and competed against each other twice a year in high school (thanks mostly to a stronger supporting cast, DeMatha usually won). The rivalry, though, took on a friendly tone for Freeman and Wright. “We’re good friends and hopefully we can bring our games next year to Georgetown,” Wright said after his team fell to Freeman’s last February. “I think our games kind of complement each other pretty well, and I think everything will flow pretty easily next year.” Added Freeman: “Our games complement each other, like he said. I think it will be fun – lots of fun.” The talented duo has quickly drawn respect from the rest of the team. “They are both good scorers,” junior guard Jessie Sapp says. “Austin, he’s a great player. He could play the one, two and the three. Chris is more of like a combo guard, between a one and a two. They are fast. Chris is fast, he’s really fast. Sometimes it’s hard to guard him, but then I have to get in my defensive stance and then I guard him.” escheriakov and Wattad may find themselves on the pine for most of their freshmen seasons, but each may be an important piece of the puzzle a year or two down the road. escheriakov, a native of Belarus, played his high school ball at St. John’s Prospect Hall in Frederick, Md., where he averaged 14.4 points and 4.4 rebounds as a senior. Though listed at 241 pounds, Mesheriakov has a thin frame for someone 6-foot-8; he will likely need to bulk up before he sees considerable playing time. And while he sometimes struggled to find his stroke in summer league play, outside shooting is considered Mescheriakov’s strength. “Nikita – his jump shot is just like automatic, it’s kind of like a set shot,” Sapp says. Wattad, a product of Science Hill High School in Johnson City, Tenn., should also be a valuable contributor on the perimeter over the next four years. The Princeton offense with its many intricacies is well-known for being a system that takes some time to adjust to. In Thompson’s first season, he often said that it felt like he had 13 freshmen, because even those players with three years under their belt needed time to warm up to the new scheme. This year, though, the newcomers seem to be picking things up quickly. “Our freshmen this year learned way faster than we did,” sophomore forward DaJuan Summers says. “I can say that ’cause I was in their shoes last year. So, they just pick it up a lot faster, they’re quicker learners, so we’re further along this year than we were last year.” Adds Thompson: “They all learn fast. They all learn extremely fast, and they all are extremely willing to be a part of a group.” – HOYA Staff Writer Harlan Goode contributed to this report.

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