HOLLANDER | Forget the Opponent: DSR is on the Rise
Published: Friday, February 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, February 22, 2013 01:02
If a rising tide lifts all boats, a weak opponent makes every player look better. Even so, D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera’s star burned bright against lowly DePaul Wednesday night.
It was the best effort of the freshman guard’s career, although his absurdly high shooting percentage — 83.3 percent — was probably more a result of the Blue Demons’ ghoulish defense.
But it is part of an upswing. DSR is shooting 35-of-75 from the floor, for about 46.6 percent, during the Blue and Gray’s eight-game winning streak.
While some Hoyas appear to suffer from diminishing returns the more time they spend on the floor — sophomore center Mikael Hopkins certainly comes to mind — Smith-Rivera has prospered as his minutes have increased.
DSR has sometimes struggled from behind the arc this season, but Head Coach John Thompson III has been more than willing to let the freshman take good shots from three-point range, even when they aren’t falling.
“He’s gotten a little more comfortable,” Thompson III said of Smith-Rivera Wednesday night. “He knows where his shots are coming from.”
With a seemingly keen appreciation for his own strengths, it’s no surprise that DSR has been raining treys of late.
8-of-10 from the charity stripe Wednesday night, Smith-Rivera’s ability to knock down free throws is an added comfort for Georgetown fans — and an added benefit if the freshman is increasingly on the floor in late-game situations.
For a team that has almost always put squad before self, the way that Smith-Rivera and junior point guard Markel Starks work together is also important.
The two bring different skill sets, with Starks looking most comfortable bringing the ball up the floor and distributing it and Smith-Rivera a seemingly more confident scorer. That being said, if the two find their stroke at the same time, these Hoyas will be very tough to handle.
Freshmen are often expected to prosper on their home floor, while experience counts more on the road. And there is no greater lion’s den in college basketball than the Carrier Dome, so what can we expect from DSR Saturday?
If past performance is any guide, we can expect quite a lot. Smith-Rivera has scored in double figures in every Big East road game this season save for an eight-point, 10-rebound effort at St. John’s.
And in Georgetown’s loss at South Florida, DSR’s 16-point outburst provided the only burst of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy outing.
Unlike standout sophomore forward Otto Porter Jr., the Hoyas won’t live or die by DSR. But the difference between surviving and thriving in the next six games may well be up to the sophomore.
DSR’s offensive efforts against DePaul have the Georgetown faithful riding high going into the Syracuse. But the fanbase’s native pessismists have an angle as well: The Blue Demons join the Hoyas in their “Catholic Seven” venture.
Considering that one of DePaul’s two Big East wins came against fellow “basketball school” Providence, it’s high time for Georgetown President John J. DeGioia and Athletic Director Lee Reed to stress quality over quantity when the new league considers adding members.
Evan Hollander is a junior in the School of Foreign Service and former sports editor of The Hoya.