Last season, Georgetown endured John Thompson's sudden resignation, its second consecutive season out of the NCAA tournament (something that had not occurred since 1977 and '78) and its first losing record since 1972-73, Thompson's first season at the school.

This season, when nearly all the parts are assembled and in working order, which ought to be in mid-December, Georgetown could be among the Big East Conference's top five teams and pushing for national recognition. That's when the smaller players, guards Kevin Braswell and Anthony Perry and forward Nat Burton, should be getting more help inside.

Center Ruben Boumtje Boumtje is not expected to have fully recovered from an injury to a bone in his left foot before the Dec. 6 game against Howard. Until then, Jameel Watkins will be playing more than usual.

Coach Craig Esherick is hoping 6-foot-9 freshman power forward Courtland Freeman, who suffered an injury similar to Boumtje Boumtje's, will be acclimated enough by the Maui Invitational to bolster a playing rotation that also will include senior Rhese Gibson and freshman Victor Samnick. Another impact player up front, 6-10 Lee Scruggs, is expected to transfer from Daytona Beach (Fla.) Community College in time to be eligible in January.

Inexperience and lack of back-court depth were the Hoyas' major problems last season, when they lost to Princeton in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament after the unsettling experience of Thompson's departure as coach Jan. 8.

But Georgetown was 8-10 under Esherick and, for the season, lost six games by six or fewer points. "We have a lot of good players, but we have to learn how to finish games," Watkins said. "We have to get smarter as a team."

Braswell, a point guard, and Perry, a shooting guard, were very effective at times last season and made the Big East's all-rookie team. But they barely made more than 30 percent of their shots during 18 conference games. Mostly, Esherick said, that was because of having to play too much. The addition of Demetrius Hunter will offer quality depth.

Data

Last season: 15-16, 6-12 in Big East Conference (NIT first round).

Coach: Craig Esherick (first full season, 8-10).

Top returning players: G Kevin Braswell, 6-2, Soph. (13.5 ppg, 4.6 apg, 2.7 spg); G Anthony Perry, 6-3, Jr. (14 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.9 spg); F Nat Burton, 6-4, Jr. (.457 FG pct., 4.9 rpg); C Ruben Boumtje Boumtje, 6-11, Jr. (8.5 ppg, 7 rpg, second in Big East with 2.65 bpg); F-C Jameel Watkins, 6-10, Grad. (7.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.9 bpg).

Key departures: F Trez Kilpatrick (5.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg); F Daymond Jackson (4.5 ppg, 41 steals).

New faces: F Courtland Freeman, 6-9, Fr. (Myrtle Beach, S.C.); G Demetrius Hunter, 6-1, Fr. (Las Vegas); F Victor Samnick, 6-8. Fr. (Newport Prep); C Lee Scruggs, 6-10, Jr. (Daytona Beach, Fla., Community College).

Schedule

November

19 Morgan State**, 7

22 vs Memphis*, 11:30

23 USC or North Carolina*, TBA

24 TBA*, TBA

28 at UNLV, 4:05

December

6 Howard, 7

8 Bethune-Cookman, 7

12 Marist, noon

18 Houston, 1

30 Coastal Carolina, noon

January

2 James Madison, noon

5 at Providence, 7:30

8 Seton Hall, noon

10 at St. John's, 7

15 Miami, noon

18 at Boston College, 7:30

22 Connecticut, 2

26 at West Virginia, TBA

29 Rutgers, noon

February

1 Louisville, 7:30

5 Villanova, noon

7 at Miami, 7

10 Southern**, 7

13 at Pittsburgh, noon

20 Pittsburgh, 2

22 at Rutgers, 7:30

27 at Syracuse, noon

March

1 West Virginia, 7

4 Notre Dame, noon

8-11 Big East tournament in New York

* Maui Invitational

**at McDonough Arena