Before yesterday’s game I made a comment that I’d have to go back through games at some point and see how often Greg Whittington’s length either makes a play or saves a play. I assume it occurs at least two times a game and last night was no exception. Enough can not be said about how different this team looks when being able to put a 6’9 SG on the floor in place of a 6’4 guard who needed to play the 3 spot. Greg is a valuable asset now and will be even more so in the future.
Here’s one example of Greg’s length just being the difference in saving one possession in 40 minutes:
Shot goes up and it’s simple, it’s either going to be Greg’s or Rakeem Buckles, a 6’8 PF.
A dreaded inbounds pass (that’s another subject.) Otto is inbounding, Markel and Jason are in the back court and can’t break free. In comes Greg (would this have been Austin instead last year?)
Greg goes up in traffic, makes the catch and gets fouled. Possession saved.
Here’s a play where it’s just not Greg being 6’9 with a who knows what winggspan..Greg can play defense, really can play defense.
Greg quickly closes the gap and works over an attempted screen by Dieng:
Greg cuts Kuric off and due to another FR’s length (Otto) Kuric can’t kick it out to the wing:
Kuric has to kick it out to Russ Smith who Jason has covered for a contested three.
Again working on defense:
Greg is on Kuric again:
Kuric tries work off the ball and can’t shake Greg:
Kuric does cut back and manage to get the ball:
Again, Greg’s closing length and speed prevents an open look and even after a ball-fake and a dribble, he can’t shake Greg:
Kuric has to resort to a dribble hand off with Dieng but in the end it does not matter, Greg sticks with him and contests the shot, which comes up well short.
If you’re wondering, Kuric did not score in the last 5 minutes.
Next play Greg makes is off of a sideline out-of-bounds. Off the pass from Jason, Greg again goes up in traffic and makes the catch:
It’s simple, and easily taken for granted. But is that pass in that spot even an option for Jason if it’s a 6’4 guard there instead of Greg?
Here’s two more plays where Greg’s length simply makes a difference:
Siva works off the dribble and Kuric and Chris Smith are on the left side of the floor. Greg’s length and ability to cover ground essentially takes them both out of the play and Siva goes to the rim where he misses a contested drive and Greg comes in for the board:
Here, Greg is on Chris Smith and Markel cuts off Siva from going to the rim. Siva tries to kick it out to Smith and Greg arms get in the way slapping it out of bounds:
Not much to make of that play, but it does take away a quick three or drive to the rim by Smith and forces Louisville to take it out on the side-line.
Lastly, we see Greg’s ability to switch off from Chris Smith to Russ Smith seamlessly.
Louisville comes down the floor and Jason quickly tells Greg to switch as Russ Smith begins to work off of a screen to get free:
Here it looks like Greg has finally met his match with quickness and Smith gets some separation:
Yet, here comes Greg:
As seen in prior posts, effort alone was going to improve Georgetown’s defense by default. But the addition of athletes with serious length and understanding on the defense end has elevated this team’s ceiling.
I’d say it’s okay to stop worrying about what Greg’s offensive rating is or his three point percentage. Those things will come, as they always do under III. But what Greg currently is and what may continue to evolve into is an asset on the defensive end that III has never had.