Hoyas Count on Egerson's Versatility

Sophomore forward Marc Egerson, right, is fouled by Hartford's David Bookman during the Hoyas' win on Saturday.
Sophomore forward Marc Egerson, right, is fouled by Hartford's David Bookman during the Hoyas' win on Saturday. (By John Mcdonnell -- The Washington Post)
By Camille Powell
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marc Egerson was never in this position a year ago -- out on the court, in the key moments of a tight game -- when he was a freshman on Georgetown's men's basketball team. He was on the bench, watching as the Hoyas' older and more experienced players made the timely three-pointer or grabbed the key rebound.

But Darrel Owens and Brandon Bowman have graduated. So Egerson found himself starting and playing 29 minutes in eighth-ranked Georgetown's season-opening 69-59 win over Hartford on Saturday. He was the one running down the loose ball following a blown alley-oop attempt and drawing a foul late in the game; he was the one taking the late three-point shot.

Egerson, who averaged 1.6 points in only seven minutes per game last season, finished with seven points -- all in the second half -- and three rebounds. He looked more comfortable on offense, and his play, particularly in the second half as the Hoyas finally put away the Hawks, was more assertive. He attacked the basket, and he got to the foul line.

"He has that ability," Coach John Thompson III said after the game. "Marc can do a lot of things on the floor; he has a pretty good feel. A couple of times we got it in there, he was able to get to the basket, matched up with their big guy, he was able to make things happen. We're going to need that from him."

Said Egerson: "Basically I saw that in order for us to win, everybody needed to play hard, including myself. We just had to step it up a notch."

The Hoyas, who play at Vanderbilt tonight, need Egerson to continue to show improvement. On a roster that has only three pure guards, the 6-foot-6 Egerson's ability to play on the perimeter is an advantage.

"With his size, he can play guard or forward, and he's got a soft touch so it's kind of hard for teams to guard him because he's a big guard," junior forward Jeff Green said. "I think he adds a plus to our offense."

That would be especially true if he can become a reliable three-point shooter. He worked on his shooting in the offseason, realizing that he would be more help to the Hoyas on the perimeter than inside, where they have a logjam of talented players. Egerson made 5 of 12 three-point attempts as a freshman, and he was 1 of 2 against Hartford (as a team, the Hoyas were 6 for 23, 26.1 percent). His three-pointer from the right side with 1 minute 17 seconds left in the game gave the Hoyas a nine-point edge.

Egerson, at 237 pounds, has a broader, thicker frame than both Owens (6-7, 215) and Bowman (6-8, 209), who were much rangier. Egerson is more physical.

"Marc's one of those guys, growing up he always played real tough, and he's a hard-nosed defender, just a hard-nosed player," guard Jonathan Wallace said. "That's what he's going to bring to this team, that hard-nosed mental mentality to the floor."

That's a quality that Egerson shares with juniors Patrick Ewing Jr. and Tyler Crawford. Ewing, who grabbed one rebound and committed two fouls in eight minutes against Hartford, is energetic and active. Crawford took a team-high 12 shots against Hartford, making only three, but he also led the Hoyas with nine rebounds and two steals.

"It's like a pickup [game], as far as the momentum goes in the game," Wallace said. "Marc, Tyler and Pat is another guy who's one of those real high-strung guys who's not afraid to get their nose bloody, per se. They'll step in at any time and do what you need them to do. Like the Bulls had Dennis Rodman, we've got Marc, Tyler and Pat, doing the dirty work."

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