NCAA BK

Georgetown: Young, inexperienced and unranked

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WASHINGTON (AP)

As if Georgetown's prospects weren't already daunting, forward Nate Lubick made them sound very stark indeed.

''We've got five freshmen, five sophomores,'' Lubick said. ''And looking at that on paper, the Big East is the wrong league to have that type of depth in.''

''I'm considered a veteran,'' he added. ''I'm a sophomore. So I don't really know anything, either.''

Technically, one of those sophomores is a redshirt freshman, but that's splitting hairs at this point. The loss of three starters and a pair of role players has left the Hoyas young and inexperienced. After being a regular entrant in The Associated Press Top 25 poll the last few years, Georgetown received nary a vote in this year's preseason edition.

''We're being doubted a lot from what we lost and our tournament losses,'' said guard Jason Clark, one of two seniors on the roster. ''We're really the underdogs, so we have nothing to lose.''

Austin Freeman, Chris Wright and Julian Vaughn accounted for 54 percent of the scoring and 61 percent of the assists as seniors on last year's team. Jerrelle Benimon and Vee Sanford were key reserves who opted to transfer, the latest in a stream of defections that has hindered the program since coach John Thompson III arrived in 2004 and installed his version of the highly structured Princeton offense.

That leaves Clark and senior forward Hollis Thompson as the regular starters returning from a 21-11 team that lost its opening NCAA tournament game to eventual Final Four school Virginia Commonwealth. The Hoyas haven't won a game in the NCAAs since beating UMBC in the first round in 2008.

Clark averaged 12 points per game last season, while Hollis Thompson added 8.6. Lubick averaged 4.0 and made 13 starts. When the Hoyas made a preseason tour to China in August, the other starters were senior center Henry Sims (3.6) and sophomore guard Markel Starks (1.5).

But that lineup could very well be temporary.

''Last year - good, bad, right or wrong, we can debate that `til the cows come home - the roles were pretty much set, even coming into the year,'' coach Thompson said. ''And the competition throughout year didn't change that. Whereas this year, it's open. And they know that. ... There is, without a doubt, a high level of competition at every spot.''

The China trip will be most remembered for a brawl in Beijing, when chairs went flying and the game ended early, but it also served to give the coach a jump on how a freshman class led by 6-foot-8 forward Otto Porter is going to mesh.

''They're going to get squeezed. And they're going to get squeezed early and often,'' Thompson said. ''That's going to happen. The key may be how they respond and how quickly they grow up and how quickly they get accustomed to performing at this level. We've already had a taste of performing under adverse conditions, but it's consistently performing at this level.''

The group will have to learn fast. The Hoyas have some intimidating early-season opponents - Kansas, Alabama, Memphis and Louisville - before starting play in the notoriously challenging Big East. Georgetown was to finish 10th in the conference in the coaches' preseason poll.

There's also the distraction of where the conference is headed. The Hoyas are synonymous with Big East basketball, but football is driving a shift that is breaking apart familiar alliances and rivalries and changing the landscape of big-time college sports.

''That's life,'' Thompson said. ''Sometimes you wake up in the morning and your dog is sick, and you hadn't expected that, and you've got to take the dog to the vet. It's just life. But what's going on with our conference, we knew change was coming, collegiate athletics is going to through change and evolution. ... You can't put your head in the sand and block it out.''

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AP Sports Writer Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

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Joseph White can be reached at http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP

Tagged: Georgetown, Jason Clark, Hollis Thompson, Nate Lubick

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