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Could Josh Smith be immediately eligible for Georgetown?

Sep 30, 2013, 8:20 PM EDT

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Georgetown is facing some questions about its frontcourt as they enter the 2013-14 season. Greg Whittingham is out with a torn ACL and Otto Porter is in a Washington Wizards uniform now, so the Hoyas will rely heavily on junior Mikael Hopkins and senior Nate Lubick to play the bulk of the interior minutes early in the season.

But what about UCLA transfer Josh Smith? The former highly-touted recruit was a freshman all-conference choice in the Pac-12 but had a disappointing sophomore season before transferring six games into his junior season at UCLA across the country to Georgetown.

Smith arrived at Georgetown around 350 pounds, but was down to 310 as of early August as he strives for a playing weight around 290.

His weight and motor are the biggest questions marks, but as ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil reported today from Georgetown’s practice, Smith’s return date is now a matter of speculation as well. Smith was scheduled to return second semester this season, but head coach John Thompson III told O’Neil that a decision from the NCAA is looming, which could mean Smith gets to play the entire 2013-14 season — or at least before the second semester begins depending on the ruling.

As of right now, Smith won’t be available until the second semester, but Thompson said he’s awaiting a decision from the NCAA, intimating there’s a chance Smith could play immediately.

Thompson declined to get into specifics to the nature of the request.

“We don’t know when or how long we’ll have him,’’ Thompson said. “But we think we should know pretty soon.’’

Having Smith for the entire season would certainly help Georgetown, as he could continue to play himself into shape and start to adapt to game speed and playing with new teammates in a new system.

But as mentioned before, the weight and dedication Smith puts into this season is still the overriding question. Even JT3 sounds as if he’s unsure what the final results for Smith will be saying to O’Neil, “He has to make a decision if he wants to be good or not. He has all the tools. He always has. When and if he commits, he’ll see the positive results. It’s a process.’’

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