NCAA Basketball Tournament - Belmont v Georgetown

Otto Porter and Georgetown looking to return to the Big Dance

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Otto Porter entered college as an unknown player to some given the fact that he came from a small town in Missouri and didn’t go through the AAU ringer that so many kids participate in annually.

But by the end of his freshman campaign the Sikeston, Missouri native was a key figure in the Georgetown rotation and one of the best freshmen in the Big East.

With Jason Clark, Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson all moving on, Porter will have to be one of the leaders for John Thompson III’s team if they’re to remain an NCAA tournament team.

“It changes a lot but it’s not just me, it’s everybody,” said Porter in Las Vegas last weekend, where he took part in the LeBron James Skills Academy.

“Everybody has to step up and lead, and I [also] have to come in and work hard everyday.”

Despite starting just eight games last season Porter was third in minutes with an average of 29.7 minutes per game, while also leading the way in rebounds (6.8 rpg) and averaging 9.7 points per game.

And while he wasn’t involved in the same number of possessions as the three departed Hoyas, it was Porter who led the team in offensive rating (117.7 per statsheet.com).

Markel Starks returns and should have a better grasp of what’s expected of him at the point in the Georgetown system, and the same can be said for Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick in regards to their comfort levels as well.

Add in talented newcomers such as forward Brandon Bolden and guards Stephen Domingo and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, and the Hoyas will have a team that will have talent if not experience.

Where they’ll have to get it done is on the defensive end of the floor, and Georgetown was one of the best in the Big East last season in that regard.

Opponents shot 38.7% from the field and 27.9% from three, with the latter number being tops in the conference.

Many are pegging Georgetown to be a team in the middle of the pack in the Big East due to the lack of experience, but with players like Porter it’s possible for the Hoyas to be a pleasant surprise.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.