After the Georgetown freshmen made a splash against Maryland Eastern-Shore, it took the veterans to close the show versus Central Connecticut. Freshmen Mac McClung, James Akinjo and Josh LeBlanc all took turns struggling a bit during today’s 85-78 win. When asked, Coach Patrick Ewing preached patience. “It’s a thin line. I’m learning. I have to give them room to grow.”
McClung was the one who struggled the most especially on defense. Central Connecticut’s freshman Ian Krishnan was giving McClung all he could handle. Krishnan would end with 28 points on an efficient 10-17 from the floor. Albeit all his points wasn’t scored on McClung but a lot of them were. McClung had problems getting caught up on the weakside screens being set by Central Connecticut. Once head coach, Donyell Marshall, saw that, it seemed as if he called a play for Krishnan every time down the floor.
Offensively, he wasn’t much better. At times he shot early in the shot clock with little to no success. Then on a fast break, McClung turned the ball over when he tried to inexplicably wrap the ball around his back. When asked about how to communicate with the freshmen after a mistake Ewing said “it’s a growing process. The things that they were able to get away with in high school, they’re not going to be able to get away with it at this level.”
Akinjo’s mistakes were more palatable. He had four turnovers but for the most part his decision making wasn’t all that bad. He dished out seven assists and was 8-8 from the free throw. Like McClung, his struggle came on shot selection. At times, he shot the ball early in the shot clock. “Sometimes the young players, they want to be the one to get the assists and sometimes you just have to move the ball and let the ball find the right man,” said Ewing.
Josh LeBlanc’s problems weren’t necessarily problems. The energy he brought against Maryland Eastern-Shore wasn’t there but that was probably the product of playing better competition. He couldn’t seem to coral rebounds the way he did opening night. Going forward it will be interesting to see how impactful LeBlanc can be in the paint against older, more mature players.
Georgetown’s next game will come at Illinois in the Gavitt Game. Not only will it be there first road game but also their first game against a school from one of the Power 5 conferences. As for the freshmen going forward, their coach was very blunt. “I have to give them room to grow but I also need to win.”