The past week has been a whirlwind for Georgetown men’s basketball. On April 9, the Hoyas lost All-Big East junior forward Marcus Derrickson unexpectedly, as he announced his intent to hire an agent for the NBA Draft, making him ineligible to continue his college career. Two days later, the team’s leading scorer, junior center Jessie Govan, also announced he would test the NBA Draft waters, but he specified he would not sign with an agent to temporarily preserve his NCAA eligibility.

To make up for the potential departures of Georgetown’s two feature players, Head Coach Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) strengthened his recruiting classes with two key additions, both of whom signed on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: SHEEL PATEL/THE HOYA
Junior center Jessie Govan, far right, declared for the NBA draft last week without hiring an agent, making him eligible to play next season if he remains on the Hilltop. If Govan leaves, rising sophomore guard Jamorko Pickett, center, will be Georgetown’s highest remaining scorer from last season. Pickett averaged 9.6 points per game last season.

James Akinjo, a four-star point guard and top-100 prospect from the class of 2018, signed his national letter of intent to play for the Hoyas. Akinjo was released from his commitment to the University of Connecticut in March and picked Georgetown over top programs such as Arizona, Virginia, Tennessee and Providence.

Along with Akinjo, North Carolina State junior center Omer Yurtseven, all-ACC third team last season, will transfer to the Hoyas’ squad. Yurtseven, who has played two years at NC State, must sit the 2018-19 season before using his final two years of eligibility to play at Georgetown.

The Hoyas have been searching for a dynamic point guard for a few seasons and need increased production from their backcourt, especially with point guards senior Jonathan Mulmore and graduate student Trey Dickerson graduating. Akinjo, a 6-foot, 170-pound guard, made noise last summer when he was named MVP of Nike’s Peach Jam while leading his Oakland Soldiers to the title.

Ranked lower in ESPN’s top 100 than Georgetown’s 2017 recruit Tremont Waters, who left to play for LSU, Akinjo nevertheless provides many of the same talents. Akinjo, also a smaller-sized guard, averaged 18.7 points per game in the Peach Jam League and shot 46.7 percent from three-point range, making him an asset who will surely help the Hoyas’ backcourt.

Yurtseven’s decision to join the Hoyas is a huge boost, even if Govan decides to come back for his senior season, as the team will need a frontcourt presence after Govan leaves. Yurtseven has great size at 7-feet, 245-pounds. He averaged 13.5 points per game along with 6.7 rebounds per game at NC State.

Yurtseven, a Turkish-born star, also has professional aspirations. He went through the NBA Draft process following his freshman season without hiring an agent. After attending the NBA Draft Combine and working out for several teams, scouts saw him as a late first to early second-round pick.

With his transfer to Georgetown, Yurtseven is demonstrating his desire to take his game to a higher level under Head Coach Ewing. Ewing’s mentorship has proven beneficial so far to the Hoyas, as Govan’s numbers jumped from 10.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in the 2016 to 2017 season to 17.9 points and 10.0 rebounds this past season.

In any fashion, it will be a new look for the Hoyas next season. Akinjo comes in alongside four-star forward Josh LeBlanc, four-star center Grayson Carter and three-star point guard and dunking sensation Mac McClung. Ewing’s first recruiting class looks hopeful as it now ranks third in the Big East, after national champion Villanova and Providence, and 24th in the nation according to 247 sports, an online data-driven sports website owned by CBS Sports Digital.

Uncertainty remains to how the Hoyas, who may have four new players in their starting five, will perform after a 15-15 season under new coach Ewing. If Govan decides on the NBA, the Hoyas’ top remaining scorer will be rising sophomore guard Jamorko Pickett, who averaged just 9.6 points per game last season.

However, Akinjo and his fellow recruits will certainly have the chance to contribute early on and help Georgetown rise above the bottom third of the Big East conference. Looking ahead, it will be up to Ewing and future recruits, which now includes Yurtseven, to bring the program back to prominence.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*