Georgetown Royals Boys Basketball '07-'08

Georgetown leading CAL Small thanks to underclassmen

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Friday, January, 18 By Dan Guttenplan
Sports editor

The Georgetown boys basketball team is off to a curious start when you consider the makeup of the 7-2 Royals. Youth, talent, and upside are not normally the adjectives one associates with a winning basketball team.

Just ask anyone that watched last year's Boston Celtics | a team that had one of the youngest rosters in the NBA | but finished with the second worst regular season record. In Georgetown though, Mike Rowinski and his young guns are making that combination work to great success.

Tied atop the Cape Ann League Small standings with North Reading, a freshmen and a pair of sophomores | Jaymie Spears, Julio Colon, and Mike Messman | have been the nucleus for the Royals' early-season surprise.

With Corey Wade, who averaged 20 points per game, lost to graduation and only two seniors on the roster | captains Brandon Wade and Tim Holland | the Spears, the Colons, and the Messmans of the Royal program are relied upon to do the heavy lifting upperclassmen usually handle.

"Heading into this season I knew the success of this team would depend on who would step up and score points because I had didn't know where it would come from," said Rowinski of Corey Wade's graduation. "That question was answered pretty early."

Called up to the varsity level midway through last season as an eighth grader, Spears was put under the magnifying glass right away and handled himself quite well.

After much offseason hype regarding where he would take his basketball talents, Spears seemed to be hard pressed to exceed the lofty expectations of most.

The freshmen phenom has done just that, leading the CAL in scoring at 20.7 points a night in addition to averaging five steals and three assists each game.

"I knew Jaymie would be an outstanding player, I just didn't think he would be this type of scorer this early," said Rowinski, adding he thinks Spears could be a top flight NCAA Division 1 prospect. "I figured 8-10 points a night would be good for him. In no way did I envision him averaging 20 a night.

"More than just his offense, he is a tremendous defensive presence the way he gets his hands on balls; tipping, stripping and making steals with an incredible instinct to get in the passing lanes," Rowinski continued. "I bet he averages somewhere in the neighborhood of 6-8 points a night off steals, which is amazing for any kid, especially a freshman."

As for the 6-1 Colon, the silky smooth forward was just what the doctor ordered for the severely undersized Royals. Especially after they lost Kyle Perry | a player Rowinski figured to start | to a high ankle sprain on the first night of practice. He recently returned from the injury after missing the first month of action.

"Before the season the coaches and myself got together, and in our discussions I said, 'You know we really need a surprise forward or a kid to transfer in,'" Rowinski said.

In Colon, the coach got his wish. Averaging 12 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, the school-choice transfer from Haverhill High teamed up with his long-time AAU teammate Spears to form a nice inside-outside game.

"Offensively he has been a big surprise. Defensively he needs to get stronger, but Julio is great rebounder with long, Kevin McHale like arms," said Rowinski. "What is remarkable about Julio is that we have asked him to do something he has never done before | play with his back to the basket. But because he has such natural basketball moves, he has done very well for himself and I think will only get better with time."

Although Rowinski may have been unaware of Colon's capabilities, Spears knew what his old buddy from the Mass. Rivals could bring to the Georgetown program | an added dimension at forward.

"I wasn't expecting another big guy. But when I heard Julio was coming, I knew it was huge because now we had the forward spot locked up," Spears said. "The chemistry we have been able to develop as a team feels like we have been together for a couple of years even though we have only been together for nine games."

Throw in the 6-3 Messman | a player Rowinski says has all the tools from his pure shot to size and athletic ability | and Rowinski believes he has the three or four scoring threats it takes to build a program up to the caliber that Ipswich attained over the last five years.

"I think if we continue to hit the weight room and naturally develop, then we could be a team like Ipswich has been over the last several years | a team that is a perennial contender for the Division 4 crown," Rowinski said. "The future looks pretty bright for these guys. It should be pretty fun around here, and I imagine we will have a few college coaches popping through these doors."

What might the scariest part about the up-and-coming Royals, with the young prospects already playing up to their potential, another boy wonder is on his way.

Johnny Spears | Jaymie's seventh-grade brother | has been dominating the freshmen ranks this season and figures to be a call-up some time next year. Should he stay at Georgetown like his brother, there may be no ceiling for Rowinski's ball club in the Spears squared era.

2 Story Comments

0         basketballFan

This is a lot of hype. We've been hearing this for a long time about certain players in our town. These are decent players, but not division 1 prospects. Corey Wade was a good player too, scoring 15-20 per night. But he is not playing in college. Every team in the CAL has 2 or 3 players that are equally as good as any Georgetown player. It is what it is, these are high school athletes. A few may or may not play D3 in college, but that's it. We saw it in North Andover. McManus and Boudreau were every bit as good (or better) than any Georgetown player. And there is no way either of them are playing high level college basketball.

Report! #1 01/26/2008 11:30 PM

0         basketballFan

Now here is some hype you can believe. Michael Carter-Williams from H-W HS is THE MAN. Helped his team beat Newburyport and Wilmington. Freshman sensation who is getting it done and winning games. Had 17 points in the 1st quarter last night vs. Newburyport. The Georgetown underclassmen struggled against both of those teams.

Report! #2 02/06/2008 02:22 PM