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Patrick Ewing wins solid recruiting battle for Georgetown by landing four-star Jamarko Pickett

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Georgetown received some positive momentum on the recruiting trail on Friday as Class of 2017 four-star forward Jamarko Pickett pledged to the Hoyas.

Originally an Ole Miss commit who received his release during the middle of July, Pickett is a consensus top-100 prospect and a major grab for the Hoyas and head coach Patrick Ewing for next season. Once Pickett opted to open up his recruitment, he took official visits to see Georgetown and Maryland — two schools that are local for the D.C. native — and the Hoyas ended up winning the battle.

The 6-foot-9 Pickett is a long and athletic wing forward who should have a chance to earn immediate minutes at Georgetown next season. This is a really solid get for Ewing and the Hoyas, as they needed to get an impact guy who could develop into a potential all-league threat.

Candidates Georgetown could target for head coach

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Georgetown moved on from head coach John Thompson III after 13 years at the helm on Thursday as the move sent shockwaves throughout college basketball.

The Thompson family has been a major institution for Georgetown basketball, dating back to the ’70s when John Thompson Jr. was head coach. So this new hire for the Hoyas will be a fascinating process.

Here’s a list of some early names that could be involved with Georgetown.

Tommy Amaker, Harvard — With a successful tenure at Harvard that at one point included four NCAA tournament bids in a row, Amaker has won at his latest job while coaching at an elite academic institution.

Put together with previous stops at Seton Hall and Michigan and Amaker has run a big-time program while also winning at an Ivy League school. Leaving Harvard might be tough though when Amaker is beginning to recruit at a national level at the program.

Jamion Christian, Mount St. Mary’s — Five years at Mount St. Mary’s has produced two NCAA tournament appearances for Christian as the 34-year-old would represent a bold, young hire for Georgetown.

Also an assistant coach for a season at VCU under Shaka Smart, Christian has recruited in that area before and he’s regarded by many as one of the bright, young head coaches in a low-major league. Coming from Smart at VCU, it should come as no surprise that Christian plays an uptempo system and presses on defense.

It would be a bit risky for Georgetown to hire someone as young as Christian but he also has the kind of enthusiasm to lead the tough rebuild that the Hoyas potentially face.

Nathan Davis, Bucknell — After leading Bucknell to the NCAA tournament in only his second season as a Division I head coach, Davis is someone to keep an eye on for the future.

The Washington D.C. native has quickly established himself as a potential young star in the coaching ranks but he also might be too inexperienced to take one of the Big East’s prestige positions. As a Division I head coach for only two seasons, Davis hasn’t faced the pressure of the high-major level at any of his previous coaching stops. Davis certainly deserves credit for his Division III coaching success and Final Four appearance with Randolph-Macon (Bo Ryan was pretty good in DIII before moving to Division I) but that’s a long way from the Big East.

Davis would have to prove that he’s capable as a coach and recruiter at the Big East level and he would be a risk if hired by the Hoyas.

Patrick Ewing Sr., Charlotte Hornets assistant  — The Hall of Fame center and Georgetown alum would be an intriguing name. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that the Hoyas are considering Ewing as a potential head coach.

This wouldn’t just be a Chris Mullin at St. John’s type of scenario where Mullin had no coaching experience before taking the job. Ewing has been grinding as an NBA assistant coach for the past 15 years in the hopes of getting an NBA head coaching job. Georgetown represents an unique opportunity for Ewing to rebuild his former program and his son, Patrick Ewing Jr., would potentially work for him.

Recruiting would obviously be a major question mark but Ewing has the playing and coaching pedigree to be a wild card in this.

Dan Hurley, Rhode Island — The Rams finally broke through and made the NCAA Tournament in Hurley’s fifth year as head coach this season as Rhode Island made the second round before falling to Oregon in a close game.

Of the coaches on this list, the Rams have recruited a lot of top-100 prospects and futures pros like E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, so we know that Hurley knows how to navigate elite recruiting.

As the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley and younger brother of Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley, Dan Hurley comes from a long line of basketball coaches. He’s made Rhode Island one of the premier programs in the Atlantic 10. Although he’s only made one NCAA Tournament appearance in seven seasons as a head coach, Hurley has things trending in the right direction.

Shaka Smart, Texas — This isn’t likely going to happen but Georgetown is at least going to call. Since Smart was so successful at nearby VCU before taking the Texas job, the Hoyas are going to see if he’d be interested in returning to the area after this season’s disappointing last-place Big 12 finish.

If this Georgetown coaching position had been made available two years ago, before Smart had taken the Texas job, then it would have been intriguing to see where things might stand between the two. But now that Smart has at least four, four-star prospects entering Texas next season, while returning most of the current roster, he has a chance to build from this season’s last-place finish.

Big East Conference Tournament Preview, Bracket and Conference Postseason Awards

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Big East Player of the Year: Josh Hart, Villanova

Josh Hart confirmed what was almost unanimously believed in November: he was the best player in the Big East. The senior wing averaged a conference-leading 18.7 points — shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three — to go along with his 6.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 steals per game for first-place Villanova. One of the best two-way players in the nation also had some of his best single-game performances outside of the conference slate.

Big East Coach of the Year: Ed Cooley, Providence

Two days before Christmas, Providence closed out the non-conference slate with a loss at Boston College. The Friars followed by dropping the first two conference games. All three losses were by a dozen or more points. Yet, this team — without Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil — is in possession of another 20-win season, and tied the highest finish Providence has had since the conference’s relaunch. This is a competitive race, especially when you consider what Chris Holtmann and Steve Wojciechowski has done. And that doesn’t include Jay Wright’s continued dominance. But Cooley took a young roster with all the makings of a rebuild and turned it, in all likelihood, a fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

First-Team All-Big East

  • Josh Hart, Villanova
  • Andrew Chrabascz, Butler: The statistics don’t jump off the page, but the senior forward impacts the game in so many different ways for a Butler team that was projected to finish sixth, but ended as the No. 2 seed.
  • Jalen Brunson, Villanova: Taking the full-time ball handling duties this season, the sophomore averaged 14.8 points per game, shooting 54 percent from the field. He also registered a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
  • Angel Delgado, Seton Hall: The nation’s leading rebounder (13.1 RPG) has recorded 24 double-doubles this season. He’s also improved his offense, posting 15.7 points per game.
  • Marcus Foster, Creighton: The transfer guard is second in the conference in scoring at 18.5 points per game. He’s taken on a bigger role since Watson’s season-ending injury.

Second Team All-Big East:

  • Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
  • Khadeen Carrington, Seton Hall
  • Kyron Cartwright, Providence
  • Kelan Martin, Butler
  • Justin Patton, Creighton

RELATED: Player of the Year | Coach of the Year | NBC Sports All-Americans

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Villanova brought the Big East the national championship in 2016, ending critcism of the program’s shortcomings in March and providing the league with an added level of legitiamcy it yearned for since its relaunch in 2013.

So, what will the Big East do for an encore? The conference might send 70 percent of its members to the NCAA Tournament.

Like the previous three seasons, the league was dominated by Villanova, which won its fourth consecutive regular season championship. Butler finished second, and spent much of the year in the top-20. Creighton looked every part of a Final Four contender until Maurice Watson Jr. tore his ACL in mid-January. Xavier, which began the season ranked, has struggled since Edmond Sumner suffered the same season-ending injury. Marquette, Providence and Seton Hall have all made late pushes for at-large bids, resulting in a wild finish to the regular season. Four days in New York should be eventual, to say the least.

The Bracket

When: March 8-11

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City

Final: Saturday, March 11 5:30 p.m.

Favorite: Villanova

This should come as a surprise to no one. This reigning national champions enter the World’s Most Famous Arena as the top seed for the fourth straight season. Villanova has at its disposal the conference’s player of the year, another unanimous first-team selection, a national coach of the year candidate and the athleticism and versatility not many teams can brag about. Depth is a concern, with Phil Booth out for the season and Darryl Reynolds, the only true big man in the rotation, recently returning from injury. It’s also worth noting that two of three Big East losses came against the same opponent.

And if they lose?: Butler

The Bulldogs have twice defeated the Wildcats. They did so in Hinkle Fieldhouse on Jan. 4, handing Villanova its first loss of the season. Butler went for the sweep by knocking off the Cats on Feb. 22, the only time they lost at the Pavilion this season. In both contests, Butler made the key plays down the stretch for hard-fought victories. Butler has an improved defense from last season to compliment with its always-efficient offense. With a big like Andrew Chrabascz, the Bulldogs are more equipped to match up with Villanova. Also, Kelan Martin, since his move to a reserve role, has caught fire in the last five games of the regular season.

Kelan Martin (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Other Contenders:

  • Providence: The Friars have won six straight, with wins over Butler, Xavier, Creighton and Marquette. Kyron Cartwright and Rodney Bullock may not be Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, but they are anchoring a hot team that could give Providence its second postseason championship in four years.
  • Marquette: The Golden Eagles are the only Big East team team other than the Bulldogs to defeat Villanova. They have a nice balance with a deep roster. Five players average double-digits in points, and Andrew Rowsey, the Big East Sixth Man of the Year, and Katin Reinhardt have been huge in the second unit.

Sleeper: Seton Hall

The Pirates played strong basketball down the stretch last season to win the Big East Tournament championship. Isaiah Whitehead is playing in a different borough now, but Seton Hall is rolling, winners of seven of nine. The defense isn’t as strong as it was during last year’s run, but Angel Delgado, Khadeen Carrington and Desi Rodriguez are capable of a repeat performance.

The Bubble Dwellers:

  • Xavier: The Musketeers lost six of seven to close out the season. They have two wins in the past five weeks: both against DePaul. A loss to the Blue Demons on Wednesday night could burst Xavier’s bubble.
  • Marquette: The Golden Eagles should be safe at this point. Sure, they earned a come-from-behind win against Villanova, but that won’t stop critics from poking holes in their resume on Sunday, especially when four wins against Xavier and Creighton came after injuries to Edmond Sumner and Mo Watson.
  • Providence: A six-game winning streak and a third-place finish should mean the Friars are safe, but most bracket projections have them as one of the last at-large four bids.

Defining moment of the season: Marquette, down 17 points, comes back to stun No. 1 Villanova, starting a run for the NCAA Tournament.

CBT Prediction: Villanova

Hart, Jenkins lead way as No. 2 Villanova routs Georgetown

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WASHINGTON (AP) Josh Hart scored 21 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers with 7 minutes left that put the game out of reach, as No. 2 Villanova pulled away to beat Georgetown 81-55 on Saturday to roll into the postseason with momentum.

The senior guard from nearby Silver Spring, Maryland, was ice cold for stretches but came up big when it mattered. But Hart finished 8 of 15 from the field with six rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead the Wildcats (28-3, 15-3 Big East) to their fifth consecutive victory against the Hoyas (14-17, 5-13) – tying the longest streak in the history of the rivalry.

Kris Jenkins scored 19 points and Jalen Brunson had 17 on a day Villanova struggled to make shots from the field and even the free throw line until a late surge pushed its lead above 20. Jenkins, from Marlboro, Maryland, and Hart continued to plague Georgetown as they have for much of their college careers.

The defending national champions at one point in the second half were shooting 34 percent, which would have been worse than their season-low 37.3 Jan. 4 in a loss at Butler. They finished at 46.3 percent.

Despite 21 points from Rodney Pryor, Georgetown wrapped up a disappointing regular season with 20 turnovers in its fifth consecutive loss.

BIG PICTURE

Villanova: Has won two straight since losing at home to Butler on Feb. 22 and looks primed to make another long March run.

Georgetown: Embattled coach John Thompson III’s team will have the first back-to-back losing seasons since the 1970s unless it goes on a run in the Big East Tournament.

UP NEXT

Georgetown: As the No. 9 seed in the Big East Tournament, faces No. 8 seed St. John’s on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Villanova: Gets a bye as the top seed and faces the winner of Georgetown-St. John’s on Thursday afternoon.

More AP college basketball: http://www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

Georgetown junior Isaac Copeland set to transfer

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Isaac Copeland’s time at Georgetown is finished as head coach John Thompson III announced on Monday that the junior will transfer at semester break.

A former five-star recruit from the Class of 2014, the 6-foot-9 Copeland never materialized into the potential star that the Hoyas hoped he might become as he struggled to earn minutes the last few weeks. Copeland only played eight total minutes over the last five Georgetown games as injuries and poor play contributed to his declining playing time.

As a sophomore, Copeland put up 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in 32 minutes per game but he was only playing 19.6 minutes a contest this season. Copeland’s shooting percentages plummeted as a junior as he is shooting 27 percent from the field after being at 42 percent last season. Also 0-for-10 from three-point territory, Copeland just never seemed to find a rhythm this season as graduate transfer Rodney Pryor, Marcus Derrickson and Kaleb Johnson gobbled up most of the minutes.

Hopefully Copeland can find somewhere that rejuvenates his career because he still has plenty of tools to work with. As for Georgetown, Copeland is the second high-profile recruit from the Class of 2014 to transfer after Paul White left for Oregon this offseason.

Hart leads Villanova past Hoyas 81-67 in Big East quarters

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NEW YORK (AP) Josh Hart scored 25 points, Ryan Arcidiacono added 19 points and six assists, and third-ranked Villanova pulled away from Georgetown in the second half to open its bid for consecutive Big East Tournament titles with an 81-67 quarterfinal win Thursday.

Kris Jenkins added 15 points for the top-seeded Wildcats (28-4), who made 13 of their 21 3-point attempts.

The eighth-seeded Hoyas (15-18), whose first-round game ended about 15 hours earlier, led 47-46 midway through the second half before Arcidiacono and Hart led Villanova on a game-breaking run.

Georgetown had 16 offensive rebounds to just four for the Wildcats but converted them into only 12 second-chance points. Villanova, meanwhile, took full advantage of the Hoyas’ mistakes, turning 11 turnovers into 20 points.

The Wildcats had been 0-5 against Georgetown at the Big East Tournament.

L.J. Peak led the Hoyas with 19 points.

Villanova meets Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

With his team down a point with just over 10 minutes left, Hart knifed through the defense for a layup that put Villanova ahead for good. Arcidiacono hit two 3-pointers then dished to Hart in transition off a turnover for a three-point play that made it 60-48 with 7 1/2 minutes remaining.

Villanova big man Daniel Ochefu, playing on a sprained ankle, had no points and no rebounds in 13 minutes. But the taller Hoyas weren’t able to take advantage enough inside. Center Bradley Hayes, who returned Wednesday night with 10 points after missing six games with a broken left hand, wasn’t able to get many touches other than one stretch at the start of the second half.

Neither team scored for nearly five minutes late in the first half before Jenkins hit a 3-pointer with 8 seconds remaining to give Villanova a 28-27 lead at the break.

FOULS OUT

There were just eight fouls called and no free throws shot in the first half, with the referees allowing physical play more reminiscent of a 1980s Big East game. It was a complete reversal from the tournament’s previous game that ended about 12 hours earlier, when Marquette and St. John’s combined for 53 fouls and 66 free throws Wednesday night.

There were 27 fouls and 37 free throws in the second half, though many of those came when Georgetown was playing catch-up.

TIP-INS

Georgetown: Leading scorer D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was poked in the eye with just under four minutes left in the first half. He returned in the final seconds. Georgetown failed to score in his absence. Smith-Rivera finished with eight points on 4-of-11 shooting, missing all four 3-point tries. … Hayes had 13 points and nine rebounds.

Villanova: Arcidiacono twice went diving into the stands, once in each half. … Darryl Reynolds had four blocks and three steals.

UP NEXT

Villanova plays Butler or Providence in Friday’s semifinals.

Georgetown’s season likely ends with a 15-18 record.