Georgetown opens the season Wednesday afternoon when it hosts Maryland-Baltimore County in Washington.
The Hoyas dropped seven games in a row to end last season en route to posting their fourth non-winning campaign in five years.
Georgetown finished with a 15-17 record overall and 5-13 mark in the Big East to end up in ninth place in what then was a 10-team conference. The Hoyas are pegged to finish 11th in the preseason poll, with Connecticut returning to the fold after spending seven seasons in the American Athletic Conference.
Coach Patrick Ewing's uphill climb grew steeper when leading scorer Mac McClung (15.7 points per game) transferred to Texas Tech and center Omer Yurtseven (team-best 9.8 rebounds) declared for the NBA draft.
This season, Ewing will rely on an infusion of talent from the freshman class and transfers Jalen Harris (Arkansas), fellow guard Donald Carey (Siena) and forward Chudier Bile (Northwestern State).
"The challenge of working with so many new faces is that they're new," Ewing said at the conference's media day. "So it's a process now in the environment we're living in to be able to gel, to be able to know each other, and to be able to combine them with the other guys coming back from last year."
Senior guard Jahvon Blair (10.8 ppg) is one of the "guys coming back from last year," and he's looking forward to the challenge.
"Most definitely leadership's everything. With me and (senior forward Jamorko Pickett) being here for four years now, we're the old cats," Blair said. "With these new guys coming in and the new transfers we've just gotta tell them the Georgetown way and try to get that done."
Pickett and Blair each had 15 points as the Hoyas got it done in a decisive 81-55 victory over UMBC last season.
L.J. Owens had a team-high 16 points in that game for the Retrievers, who posted a 16-17 record and a fifth-place finish in the America East. UMBC, however, is expected to finish in second place this season in the conference's preseason poll.
"We could have been picked any number, to be honest with you. We've still got to go out there and prove it every night," junior guard R.J. Eytle-Rock said, per the Baltimore Sun. "We know this conference is very tight. All the teams, I think from one to 10 now, any night could beat anyone. So to me, the preseason poll doesn't really mean that much. I feel like we've still got to go out and do what we need to do."
The Retrievers return seven of their top eight scorers from last year's club, save for captain K.J. Jackson (13.8 ppg). Eytle-Rock averaged 11.2 points per game while forward Brandon Horvath added 11.0 and a club-best 6.7 rebounds per contest.
--Field Level Media