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After poor season, new-look Georgetown focuses on Coppin St.

Sportsnaut
Feb 1, 2022; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Georgetown Hoyas center Ryan Mutombo (21) shoots as Seton Hall Pirates center Ike Obiagu (21) during the second half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Is this Patrick Ewing’s last stand as coach at Georgetown?

This and many other questions will start to be revealed on Tuesday night when Georgetown opens its season against visiting Coppin State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Coming off a disastrous 6-25 season, which ended on a 21-game losing streak and without a win in the Big East, the Hoyas bear little resemblance to last year.

Only three rotation players are back and the status of the lone returning starter, point guard Dante Harris, is uncertain as he is “dealing with personal stuff,” Ewing said of the 2021 Big East Tournament MVP.

With Ewing on thin ice, attracting high school talent wasn’t easy. The Hoyas have just two incoming freshmen. Instead, Georgetown has mined the transfer portal, plucking eight players from Division I programs including Primo Spears (Duquesne), Brandon Murray (LSU) and Bryson Mozone (USC Upstate). All were double-digit scorers last year.

The status of Jay Heath (Arizona State), who averaged 10.6 points and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc last year, is uncertain as he has yet to gain his transfer waiver.

In the frontcourt, Georgetown will count on 7-foot-2 holdover Ryan Mutombo, 6-foot-10 transfer Akok Akok (UConn) and 6-foot-11 Qudus Wahab, who started for the Hoyas’ Big East tournament championship team in 2020-21 and is back after a trying season at Maryland.

“We definitely have more talent than we had in the past,” Ewing said.

Tuesday’s game will match coaches who played for NCAA championship teams. Coppin State is guided by Juan Dixon, the former Maryland All-American, who has a 42-108 record as he enters his sixth season.

After going 9-23 last year and making it to the MEAC title game, Coppin State, already 0-1, has been picked to finish fifth in the eight-team league.

Nendah Tarke, a 6-foot-4 guard who averaged 13.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game, is the top returning player.

The Eagles landed several transfers, including 6-foot-11 Luka Tekavcic (Oral Roberts), 6-foot-8 Justin Winston (Robert Morris) and the big catch of the offseason, Sam Sessoms (Penn State), who has averaged 14.6 points in 117 career games.

“They’re in a great position to have success,” Sessoms said. “Adding a player like myself to a team like that, that’s already one piece away from winning, I feel like it was an easy decision.”

Coppin State opened Monday night with an 82-59 loss at Charlotte. Sessoms led the Eagles with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the floor.

–Field Level Media