That’s not an oversight, but by design — an expression of Coach John Thompson III’s offensive philosophy, with every player capable of playing multiple roles.
This season, it’s a philosophy that makes sense for the Hoyas given the versatility of Otto Porter Jr. and Greg Whittington, mirror-image 6-foot-8, 205-pound sophomores who can effectively bring the ball upcourt on one play, drive for a layup the next, step back for a long-range jumper or bang inside for a rebound and dish to the perimeter.
Such responsibilities are an easy sell to do-it-all players like Porter, who leads the Hoyas in five categories: points (13.2 per game), rebounds (7.7), assists (3.2), steals (2.2) and blocks (1.4), and Whittington, whose numbers are just a fraction off Porter’s.
Better still, it frustrates opponents, who never know whether Porter and Whittington will operate in a manner befitting their size or not. Rather than serving as basketball archetypes based on height, the Hoyas’ starters tend to slide into whatever role the situation warrants, like character actors with a limitless repertoire.
“For me and Greg, our coach wants us to be everywhere on the court, and do everything that we can do that we’re capable of doing, which is a lot,” Porter explained this week. “So we try to go out there and do it every night, whether rebounding, bringing the ball up the court or scoring.”
Adds Whittington: “It gives us so many options. If you cut one option off, we have another one to counter that.”
As No. 15 Georgetown (10-1) launches into Big East play Saturday at Marquette (10-3, 1-0), that versatility is the Hoyas’ chief offensive weapon.
Thompson bristles at a suggestion that he’s beholden to any particular system, however. He says he’s simply leveraging the skills of his players, which in the case of Porter and Whittington are bountiful.
“Greg Whittington can be a guard. Greg Whittington can be a small forward. Depending who we’re playing, Greg Whittington can be a big forward,” Thompson says. “The more you have guys that can play different positions, it’s harder to guard because who is the opposition’s [power forward] going to guard? Greg or Otto? We can play around with that matchup.”
American Coach Jeff Jones can testify to the consequences. Jones has grown accustomed to Georgetown’s versatility since Thompson arrived on the Hilltop. But he was struck by it anew following a 65-48 loss to Georgetown on Dec. 22, in which Porter levitated for rebounds, fired pinpoint passes and called plays in the rare moments when he wasn’t scoring.
“Otto Porter fits that mold perfectly,” Jones said. “You can’t pin him down as just a shooter or driver or just a post-man or just an offensive rebounder. He is all of those things.”