GEORGETOWN — Georgetown plans to play in the fast lane when its men's basketball season tips off Tuesday night against visiting Miami-Hamilton.
The Tigers, who went 26-9 and reached the NAIA Elite Eight last March, are smaller and quicker this time around.
"We're an athletic group," said Chris Briggs, starting his second season as coach. "We're going to be a fun game to come watch play. Play an exciting style, get up-and-down the floor."
No. 3 in the NAIA pre-season rankings and No. 1 in the Mid-South Conference forecast, Georgetown has reached the national tournament 21 seasons in a row.
"I'm expecting it to be a lot different from last year," returning starter Garel Craig said. "New guys. New settings. (My) second year here. Got to the Elite Eight last year. The goal is to win it all."
Craig, Allan Thomas and Russ Middleton are the only holdovers from last season.
However, 6-foot-6 fifth-year senior Vic Moses returns after sitting out due to a torn Achilles' tendon. And Deondre McWhorter is ready after redshirting as a freshman.
"I think I bring athleticism in the post," said Moses, out of Henry Clay. "A good post defender. Crash the boards, offense and defense. And I can be a go-to guy at the end of the game."
Moses is a two-time honorable-mention All-American and a 2011 second-team selection, a three-time all-conference pick and the 2011 MSC Player of the Year. He averaged 14.1 points and 7.0 rebounds as a junior.
"He was strong anyway, but he's so much stronger now. He's done a great job of getting in the weight room and working," Briggs said. "He's improved his perimeter shot. He's improved his ball-handling. We've always known he could score on the block. He's a guy you can throw the ball to and depend on to get a bucket or get double- or triple-teamed and make the right pass to somebody out on the perimeter."
Moses had 15 points and seven rebounds Thursday as Georgetown prepared for its opener with an 89-87 exhibition loss at NCAA stronghold Kentucky Wesleyan.
Craig, McWhorter and 6-4 junior transfer Monty Wilson also scored 15 each, and Thomas had 12.
Craig, a 6-3 senior, will move from shooting guard to his natural position, point.
Moses and Craig were two of only seven fully ready Tigers in the exhibition.
When healthy, Craig and Moses likely will be joined in the lineup by either McWhorter or sophomore Corey Washburn, both 6-8. A combination of 6-4 senior Thomas, 6-3 junior Middleton and 6-6 junior transfer Mychal Parker will fill the other two spots. D.J. Townsend, a freshman from Rowan County, will back up Craig, and 6-9 junior transfer Montavious Marc will help.
Keys include ability to defend and rebound.
"We're not huge, but we're athletic enough to rebound. ... I think we can cause problems for people defensively," Briggs said. "When we work and when we're focused ... it should be an exciting group of guys to watch."
Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com