Making Their Mark; Seniors Hope to Leave a Legacy on the Hilltop
Feb. 25, 2011
By Mike "Mex" Carey
When you come in to school, you simply hope to fit it in.
As you go through the four years, you begin to hope to build something.
What you hope to build for yourself, and for your class, is a legacy, something which you can look back on fondly years later.
For the seniors on the Georgetown men's basketball team - tri-captains Ryan Dougherty, Austin Freeman and Chris Wright along with classmate Julian Vaughn - the 2010-11 college basketball season is their opportunity.
Through much of this season, that quartet has done their part to establish their legacy.
From the season-opening win at Old Dominion to the big road win at Missouri, which many pundits said was, perhaps, the best college basketball game of the season, to several impressive BIG EAST Conference wins, highlighted by a win at Syracuse, the first win for Head Coach John Thompson III at the Carrier Dome, they have put the Hoyas in the forefront of the chase for the BIG EAST title.
Wright and Freeman came to Georgetown with the accolades. They were both McDonald's All-Americans in high school and expectations on them were great from the moment they stepped foot on the Hilltop.
Dougherty transferred to Georgetown from the University of Rochester with little fanfare. And Vaughn came to the Hilltop after transferring from Florida State, but arrived at the same time another highly-touted Hoya big man - in this case, current Detroit Piston Greg Monroe - was getting settled on campus.
But each of them has found a way to carve his own niche, especially in their final year wearing the Blue & Gray.
Dougherty is a seldom-used reserve who is so highly thought of by his coaches and teammates that he was named a captain at the season-ending banquet following the 2009-10 season.
It was quite a statement for a kid who was named the IAC Player of the Year at St. Albans in D.C. as a scholastic and then appeared in seven games as a freshman at Rochester.
But Dougherty found his role and accepted it, even thrived in it.
"I've known since the day I came here that I wasn't going to be a headline guy like my classmates," Dougherty says matter-of-factly. "But I knew I could help the team behind closed doors, in practice or in the locker room. Being named a captain wasn't something I took lightly and I know we all have the same goal to finish our careers."
That goal is to help lead the Hoyas to a BIG EAST Championship and to the NCAA Tournament.
Freeman and Wright have both experienced the thrill of winning a BIG EAST title, as they were freshman on the Georgetown team that won the 2007-08 Regular Season title. That team advanced to the BIG EAST Tournament Championship game, but did not come away with prize.
"We all have the same goal," Wright said. "And we want to wear those hats that say Georgetown and BIG EAST Champion on them."
Those two will also leave their marks in other ways.
Freeman was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year this season and has done nothing to dispel that honor, leading the team in scoring and ranking among the most dangerous shooters in the league, and the country.
He lets his action on the floor do the talking. Freeman will leave Georgetown among the top 10 all-time in scoring and ranks among the school's top five all-time in free throw percentage, three-point field goals and three-point percentage.
Wright, meanwhile, has steadily emerged as the vocal leader of the team. He moved past former Georgetown All-American Jeff Green and into the top-20 all-time in scoring and also ranks among the top seven players all-time in assists.
But it has been his leadership on the floor this season that has stood out most. Wright is not afraid to speak and has become, in many ways, the vocal leader for the team.
Vaughn, like Freeman, has quietly done his thing. When Monroe was selected with the No. 7 overall pick in the NBA Draft in 2010, the weight of having to serve as the team's anchor in the middle fell to the senior from Reston, Va. And all he has done is gone about his business and put up numbers that have been impressive, averaging 9.0 points and ranking among the top 20 in the BIG EAST in rebounds (6.2 per game) and blocked shots (1.93 per game).
It has been a long road for the four seniors to make it to this point. Each of them went through a tough sophomore season when the Hoyas finished 16-15 and lost in the first round of the NIT. And they enjoyed a terrific 2009-10 season in which Georgetown reached the championship game of the BIG EAST Tournament and was the only team to beat the two teams that played in the NCAA title game (Duke and Butler), but left the season with a bitter taste after a first round loss in the NCAA Tournament.
Now it's their turn to make their mark.
"Every class wants to have something they can look back on say, `We did that," Wright said. "We try not to put too much pressure on ourselves, but we do want to leave our mark."