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Otto Porter and Georgetown looking to return to the Big Dance

Jul 12, 2012, 10:15 PM EDT

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Belmont v Georgetown Getty Images

Otto Porter entered college as an unknown player to some given the fact that he came from a small town in Missouri and didn’t go through the AAU ringer that so many kids participate in annually.

But by the end of his freshman campaign the Sikeston, Missouri native was a key figure in the Georgetown rotation and one of the best freshmen in the Big East.

With Jason Clark, Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson all moving on, Porter will have to be one of the leaders for John Thompson III’s team if they’re to remain an NCAA tournament team.

“It changes a lot but it’s not just me, it’s everybody,” said Porter in Las Vegas last weekend, where he took part in the LeBron James Skills Academy.

“Everybody has to step up and lead, and I [also] have to come in and work hard everyday.”

Despite starting just eight games last season Porter was third in minutes with an average of 29.7 minutes per game, while also leading the way in rebounds (6.8 rpg) and averaging 9.7 points per game.

And while he wasn’t involved in the same number of possessions as the three departed Hoyas, it was Porter who led the team in offensive rating (117.7 per statsheet.com).

Markel Starks returns and should have a better grasp of what’s expected of him at the point in the Georgetown system, and the same can be said for Mikael Hopkins and Jabril Trawick in regards to their comfort levels as well.

Add in talented newcomers such as forward Brandon Bolden and guards Stephen Domingo and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera, and the Hoyas will have a team that will have talent if not experience.

Where they’ll have to get it done is on the defensive end of the floor, and Georgetown was one of the best in the Big East last season in that regard.

Opponents shot 38.7% from the field and 27.9% from three, with the latter number being tops in the conference.

Many are pegging Georgetown to be a team in the middle of the pack in the Big East due to the lack of experience, but with players like Porter it’s possible for the Hoyas to be a pleasant surprise.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.