Patrick Ewing is making moves on the recruiting trail. The Hoyas announced a pair of signings on Monday morning that should set the program up well for the future.
James Akinjo, a four-star point guard and top-100 prospect in the class of 2018, committed to Georgetown over Arizona, Tennessee, and others. Omer Yurtsteven, a center who just finished his sophomore season with NC State, also announced he will transfer to Georgetown. Yurtsteven will sit out next season and have two years of eligibility left.
The Hoyas finished 15-15 this past season in Ewing’s first year on the job, but drew national criticism for scheduling many of the worst teams in DI during the non-conference portion of the schedule. Georgetown finished 5-13 in Big East play and clearly needed a talent boost. Now it looks like Georgetown has locked in both their point guard and center of the future.
These moves come as junior forward Marcus Derrickson announced he would enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent and junior center Jessie Govan announced he would test the NBA draft waters without an agent. Govan led Georgetown in scoring and rebounding last season at 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. Derrickson averaged 16 points and eight rebounds.
Even if Govan comes back, the Hoyas will be banking heavily on their recent talent influx. So what is Georgetown getting with its two latest signings?
James Akinjo could finally address Georgetown’s point guard problems
Akinjo originally committed to UConn in September 2017. The Huskies were on him early, and Akinjo pointed to his strong relationship with Kevin Ollie when he announced his decision.
That changed when Ollie was fired following another disappointing season. Akinjo reopened his recruitment, and Ewing immediately hopped on a plane to California to see him:
Akinjo is ranked as the No. 97 prospect in the class of 2018 by ESPN. He fills a major need at point guard for Georgetown and should stabilize the position for years to come.
Akinjo is undersized at 6-foot, 170 pounds, but he makes up for it by being a gutsy, score-first point guard who thrives creating separation off the dribble. He can shoot it with range and also score on layups and floaters. Georgetown fans can expect an aggressive lead guard who should be able to provide minutes from day one.
Going out and getting one of the top point guards from California is a big deal for Georgetown. Here’s Akinjo’s senior mixtape:
Omer Yurtseven could be a star at Georgetown
Yurtseven drew one-and-done buzz when he enrolled at NC State. The Turkish big man famously scored 91 points in a U18 game just before coming to the states, leading many to believe he’d be a scoring force from day one on a Wolfpack team that also included Dennis Smith Jr.
It never really happened. Yurtseven missed the first nine games of his freshman season to NCAA suspension for being a professional in Turkey before he decided to play college ball. He would average only six points per game that season, failing to live up to expectations for an NC State team that would fire head coach Mark Gottfried midway through the season.
Yurtseven was a lot better this past season as a sophomore. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, giving the Wolfpack the type of presence in the post they originally envisioned. Yurtseven considered turning pro, but instead decided to transfer to Georgetown. Why?
Omer Yurtseven to ESPN on why he chose to transfer to Georgetown: “I needed a big man coach and I don't think anybody is better than Patrick Ewing when it comes to the experience he has as a player."— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 16, 2018
Yurtseven is a classic low-post center with gifted scoring touch, just as Ewing was as a player. This should be a major addition for Georgetown following his transfer year.
You can make the case that Yurtseven was the best transfer available on the market. Ewing went out and got him.
Who else does Georgetown have coming in next year?
Patrick Ewing's 1st recruiting class (so far):— Casual Hoya (@CasualHoya) April 16, 2018
4-star PG James Akinjo (CA)
4-star F Josh LeBlanc (LA)
4-star F Grayson Carter (TX)
3-star G Mac McClung (VA)
Even without counting Yurtseven, this is shaping up to be one of the better Georgetown recruiting classes in some time. Georgetown’s incoming class is now ranked No. 29 in the country, per 247 Sports.
LeBlanc (ranked No. 112 in the class, per 247 Sports) and Akinjo should be instant contributors. McClung is also something of a cult hero for his incredible dunking ability:
Georgetown also looks to have a keeper in JaMorko Pickett, a 6’7 freshman forward last season who averaged nearly 10 points per game. He should be Georgetown’s co-star next year alongside Govan, assuming he comes back.
There’s still a long way back for Georgetown to be a consistent contender in the Big East, but Ewing is at least showing he can get players. His moves on Monday are a great starting point.