The Georgetown men's basketball team has lost its most highly rated freshman player, center Wesley Wilson, for the season because he did not receive academic certification from the NCAA Clearinghouse. In addition, Coach Craig Esherick said yesterday a toe injury might keep sophomore center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje out of the Maui Invitational in late November.
"We knew [the Wilson] decision was a possibility," Esherick said, "but we wanted to exhaust all of our appeals. There was nothing else we could do on his behalf to make sure he was eligible."
Boumtje Boumtje has been troubled by injuries through much of his career at Georgetown. The worst was a broken bone in his left wrist early in his freshman season that eventually required two operations and hampered his development last season. A third player, 6-9 freshman power forward Courtland Freeman, has the same injury but is expected to be at full speed much earlier, probably by Nov. 1.
"Ruben should be 100 percent by the first week in December," Esherick said. "If he does play in Maui, it will be sparingly. Right now, I'd say more no than yes. If that changes, I'll be happy, and he'll be happy. But we want to make certain he's healthy for the majority of the season."
Georgetown plays Memphis Nov. 22 in the first round in Maui. Next up will be either North Carolina or Southern California.
The 6-foot-11, 250-pound Wilson is a native of California who averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks for Maine Central Institute last season and was the centerpiece of a recruiting class regarded as exceptional. Georgetown already knew one of the other front-court recruits, 6-11 Lee Scruggs, would not be able to transfer from Daytona Beach Community College and play before January.
Wilson is enrolled at Georgetown but will not be allowed to practice with the team.
"We will have to help him deal with it," Esherick said. "But if this is the worst thing that happens to Wesley, he's going to have a pretty nice life, I think."
Junior guard Anthony Perry will be one of the Hoyas helping Wilson the most, because he was unable to play as a freshman for similar reasons.
Perry said it was one of the reasons his performance last year, while earning him a spot on the Big East Conference all-rookie team, was not what he expected.
"It killed me, mentally and physically," Perry said. "I lost a lot of fundamentals. . . . It was really hard.
"What I will tell Wesley is keep working hard, keep lifting weights, try to stay focused mentally, don't slack off. Keep your academics up. . . . Keep doing the things that got him here."