The Georgetown men’s basketball program is well-known for producing quality professional players. Centers Henry Sims (COL ’12) and Joshua Smith and forwards Greg Whittington, DaJuan Summers and Mikael Hopkins (COL ’15) will have the opportunity to continue that legacy, as each of them recently signed contracts to play professional basketball.
Sims, who will enter his fourth professional season, recently signed a nonguaranteed one-year contract with the Phoenix Suns.
He received sporadic playing time during his first three years at Georgetown before breaking out in his senior year in 2011-12, when he averaged 11.6 points, six rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
After graduating from Georgetown, Sims went undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft but signed with the New Orleans Hornets shortly thereafter. After short stints with the Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, he spent the last two seasons carving out a significant role on the Philadelphia 76ers. Last season, the 6-foot-10 center played in 73 games — including 32 starts — and recorded eight points and 4.9 rebounds per game.
“This is an opportunity for me to show what I can do for a team that can make the playoffs,” Sims said to AZCentral while he participated in voluntary tryouts prior to signing his contract. “I want to show the NBA I can do what I was doing [in Philadelphia] on any team and do more. It gives me an extra boost of energy to be here for a potential playoff team.”
Whittington, who recently signed a contract with the Miami Heat, took a more unusual route to the NBA. He spent parts of two seasons at Georgetown, and appeared to be a budding star alongside fellow forward and classmate Otto Porter Jr. when he averaged 12.1 points, seven rebounds and two assists per game in the first 13 games of his sophomore season in 2012-13.
This progress was halted, however, when academic deficiencies sidelined Whittington for the remainder of that season. During the following offseason, Whittington suffered a torn ACL, and while he was still recovering from the injury, Head Coach John Thompson III announced that he had been dismissed from the team.
Since his dismissal Nov. 30, 2013, Whittington has been shrouded in mystery. He initially announced his intentions to transfer to Rutgers, but never enrolled there. Next, he stated his desire to play in the NBA Development League, but never played a game there, either.
This past summer, however, Whittington impressed in NBA Summer League play, scoring 9.1 points, grabbing 6.2 rebounds and handing out two assists per game in nine contests for the Heat’s Summer League affiliates. He was able to parlay that performance into a contract offer, impressing the Miami coaching staff in the process.
“I think what’s great about Greg is he has a good feel for the game,” Heat Assistant Coach Dan Craig, who coached Whittington in the Summer League, said to the South Florida Sun Sentinel in July. “He has the versatility to be a playmaker. When the defense puts two men on the ball, we throw it back to him and we get him on the roll. He’s a really skilled playmaker. He makes some high-IQ plays at that four position.”
Summers, who played at Georgetown from 2006-09, signed a contract with the New York Knicks to attend their training camp. He scored 1129 points in three seasons on the Hilltop, peaking with a team-high average of 13.6 points per game in his junior season. He made at least 42 three-pointers in each of his three seasons as a Hoya.
Hopkins and Smith, who played for the Hoyas in the 2014-15 season, also signed professional contracts recently. Hopkins, a 6-foot-9 forward, signed a contract with Istanbul DSI in Turkey. He played four seasons at Georgetown from 2011-15, averaging at least five points per game in each of his final three seasons. He finished his career with 629 points, 482 rebounds, 129 assists and 148 blocks, providing a presence in the paint on both sides of the ball.
Smith, a 6-foot-10 center, signed a contract with the Houston Rockets recently. After spending parts of three seasons at UCLA, he transferred to Georgetown, where he spent two additional years from 2013-15. As a senior, he averaged 10.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game, often functioning as the Hoyas’ top interior scorer.
Although Sims, Whittington, Hopkins, Summers and Smith will have to compete to earn long-term roster spots with their respective clubs, each will have an opportunity to continue his basketball careers next season. Whittington, Hopkins, Summers and Smith will be aiming to join a list of six former Georgetown players currently playing in the NBA, including Roy Hibbert (COL ’08), Greg Monroe, Jeff Green (COL ’12), Hollis Thompson, Porter and Sims.
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