Starks poised to be ‘even better’ as senior
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
WASHINGTON — The thing about Georgetown senior guard Markel Starks is that his development isn’t that unusual. It just feels that way sometimes.
“You hear so much about the people who have the opportunity to be one-and-done, two-and-done, that you forget the story of the guy who comes in as a freshman and doesn’t play that much, plays eight minutes a game,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III says. “As a sophomore, he’s put in the starting lineup. He has an OK year, goes through the normal growing pains that you go through. Junior year, he has a very good year, third-team all-conference. Now, senior year, he’s poised to be even better.
“There has been what I would call a natural progression with Markel.”
Starks, who averaged 12.8 points and a team-high three assists per game last season, was named to the preseason Big East first team, an honor Starks calls “surreal.”
“There’s a lot of added pressure, but I don’t look at it like that,” Starks says. “I look at it like this is just competition, just basketball. … Every year you have a different outlook. This year, it’s having fun. This is my senior year.”
Certainly, expectations are high for Starks, just as they are for the Hoyas this season. (Georgetown was picked to finish second in the new-look league and projected as the 25th best team in the nation in USA TODAY Sports’ college basketball countdown.) But the Hoyas will be without conference player of the year Otto Porter, who accounted for nearly 25% of Georgetown’s scoring and 22% of its rebounding before he declared for June’s NBA draft. The Washington Wizards took Porter with the No. 3 pick.
In the wake of Porter’s departure, Starks predicts that scoring will be spread out this season, considering how many experienced players he’ll have around him. But teammates expect the 6-2 guard to shoulder more of the scoring load himself.
“With Otto leaving, Markel’s going to have to be greedier,” says senior forward Nate Lubick, another of Georgetown’s veteran leaders. “He’s going to have to score more points for us to win, and he understands … [For more on Natural progression: Markel Starks poised to be 'even better' as senior, click here.]