Trawick's passionate defense fuels Hoyas

Trawick's passionate defense fuels Hoyas
March 21, 2013, 7:30 pm
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PHILADELPHIA --Tangling with Jabril Trawick's defensive furor is a nightmarish proposition for Georgetown's opponents, be it dribblers, drivers or those simply looking for a piece of on-court real estate to call their own.

Try such close encounter battles on a daily basis. Markel Starks has - and is a better player for it. Collectively, so are the defensive-minded Hoyas.

"He's helped me become a better defender," Starks said of Trawick, the 6-foot-5 chiseled sophomore with a perpetual scowl. "He's helped me have that mindset of being nitty‑gritty when things get rough, especially late in games."

Speaking with the media on Thursday afternoon, John Thompson III had no issue confirming Starks' take.

"Good players make each other better, whether that's offensively, whether that's defensively," the coach said inside the Wells Fargo Center, site of Friday's second-round matchup. "So Markel has gone through two years now of Jabril guarding him most possessions in practice. And Jabril is a pretty good defender, but in his intensity is infectious. His intensity rubs off."

The No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament's South region, the Hoyas will need a focused effort to advance past No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast on Friday in Philadelphia, Trawick's hometown.

Thanks to Trawick's dogged approach turning infectious, Thompson believes these Hoyas have soared to new levels of tenacity.

"We've done a very good job of covering for each other, how we can get a stop this next possession, get a basket the following possession," "I think the stick-to-itiveness of this team is at a different level than the last couple of years."

Unlike recent edition of Hoyas basketball, this one comes loaded with extroverts in leading roles. Otto Porter does many things for Georgetown, but is more of the point-producing and silent type. Trawick, who entered the starting lineup when the Hoyas lost Greg Whittington due to an academic suspension before their third Big East game, brings the heat.

"He's not afraid to come to anybody and share his mind," Starks said of his fellow starting guard. "His intensity every single day is what makes us a better team, and he's helped all of us. He's helped all of us become better defensive players."

The Hoyas rank seventh in scoring defense, allowing 55.7 points per game. With Trawick's perimeter ball hawking, Georgetown held 15 of its last 18 opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field.

"I think with his mindset of stopping the guy in front of you has obviously rubbed off on everybody," Starks said. "So obviously having him on the team and having him come in, fill in that role is outstanding."

Trawick averages 5.7 points though he's tallied 8.6 over the last three games. Earlier this season, he said of his own relentless style, "I always played like that. It's always something that helped me out in my career since I was a little kid. I never let anybody push me around."

Nobody has this season. If anything, it's been quite the opposite.

"I feel that he's able to get into other guys head, get them off their game," said sophomore forward Mikael Hopkins. "It's funny to see how intense he is. It kind of makes you want to do the same, to have the same affect on other guys."

Earlier this month Georgetown lost to Villanova on the same court it will take to on Friday. Playing in front a crush of family and friends, Trawick, committed four of the Hoyas season-high 23 turnovers before fouling out.

"It was a tough game, but I was focused," Trawick said.

Both player and coach dismissed any notion about hometown distractions.

"Jabril gets amped up whether he goes home to Philly or whether he's going down to the No. 2 boys club to play," Thompson said. 'He doesn't care. He's a competitive kid. I don't think he can take it to another level because he brings it every day."

Thompson certainly has no interest in trying to micro-manage Trawick's intensity, not with upset-minded Florida Gulf Coast sporting guards playmaking guards Brett Comer and Sherwood Brown. The fast-paced Eagles (24-10) average 73.1 points.

"As long as he's smart, I don't want to reign that in at all. That's what makes him him and it adds a lot to our team," the coach said. "It's infectious so now, we're not trying to reign him in at all."

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