Player Profile: D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera
Arrival/Background: DSR had a roller coaster recruitment before ending up on the Hilltop. He began his high school basketball career at North Central High School in Indianapolis, starring there and committing to Xavier University. But halfway through his junior year, citing a rushed decision, he decommitted from the Musketeers and reopened his recruitment. The next year, DSR moved to high school basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. While NC State was seen as the frontrunner to acquire DSR’s services after he rebuffed Xavier, in October of his senior year, DSR chose Georgetown over the Wolfpack, Louisville and Memphis.
DSR was the prize haul of Georgetown’s 2012 recruiting class, which included Stephen Domingo, Bradley Hayes and the now-departed Brandon Bolden. The Indianapolis native was a four-star prospect and a top-10 shooting guard in the class of 2012 according to ESPN, Rivals and Scout’s recruiting databases. He had a grade of 94 and was the 58th best player in his class on ESPN’s rankings, and was No. 32 nationally for Rivals, which raved about his passing and strength, calling both “outstanding”.
2012-13 (Career) Stats: 32 games, 815 minutes, 8.9 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 40% FG, 33.6 3P%, 71.1% FT
Best 2012-13 Game: 2/20/13 against DePaul. With Otto Porter playing just 20 minutes with a sore knee, DSR gladly stepped up and filled the scoring void, dropping 33 points in a blowout Hoyas victory. The Oak Hill alum went 10-of-12 from the field, including 5-of-6 from beyond the arc, and added eight points from the free throw line as a prelude to Porter’s dazzling display in the Carrier Dome the next game. DSR’s offensive explosion was the highest point total for a Georgetown freshman since 1996, and no Hoya topped 33 points in any other game last season.
Advanced Stats: DSR had an excellent debut season for the Blue and Gray, registering the 4th best offensive rating (104.1) on the team, and having very respectable true shooting and effective field goal percentages for such a high usage rate (20.1%). DSR also ranked No. 333 in the nation in turnover rate last campaign — just 14.5% of the possessions he “used” ended in a turnover. However, turnover rate is a misleading measure for a shooter like DSR because he was not heavily involved in running the offense like point guard Markel Starks or forward Otto Porter.
The freshman ranked 20th in the nation in fouls committed per forty minutes, committing a foul just 1.4 times per forty minutes. Combine that with DSR’s 10% defensive rebounding rate, and his performance on the defensive end shone just as brightly as his play on offense.
DSR was effective getting to the line last year — he saw around four fouls committed on him per forty minutes — but because of the high number of shots he attempted, he sported a light 36.1% free throw rate.
On Court: DSR is a dynamic, varied scorer, either pouring it in from long range or penetrating into the lane and using his strength to get places 6’3” guards with average athleticism shouldn’t be able to get to. He hit double figures in scoring twelve times last year, including 19 in his first collegiate game and the aforementioned show put on against DePaul. In essence, he was the third most reliable scorer on the Big East champs, behind starting point guard Markel Starks and Big East POY Otto Porter. This is mainly thanks to his phenomenal strength, which helps in him a multitude of ways, including barging his way into the lane, hitting the boards effectively and manning up against opposing players who think they can feast on the slower DSR.
DSR’s intangibles stand out too. Excluding Greg Whittington, he’s the 2013-14 Hoya most likely to average double digits in an NBA game, a player who could develop into a nice perimeter piece at the next level. He shows a willingness to do the little things, and he strikes me as a guy who lives for the big moments.
There a few areas of improvement for the sophomore, however. He’s as streaky of a shooter as they come, first off. This can be a huge asset — see the flurry of points he scored in games against DePaul and Duquesne, or Rutgers and Notre Dame — or a major detriment — see the six game mid-season stretch where he went 6-25 from deep. With so many question marks about Georgetown’s offense, some more consistency shooting the ball is required for the upcoming season.
Having seen DSR walk around campus, I have serious questions if he really is 6’3”/227. Don’t doubt for a second that he’s as ripped as college sophomore guards come, but I wonder if he really stands closer to 6’2” or 6’1.5”/215. Nitpicking, really, but how big he really is could play a huge part in settling the next question: what position does DSR play?
As this season plays out, we could see DSR grow into a two different roles. The first is a pure shooting guard, playing off the ball and scoring when called upon, which would be often on this year’s Hoyas. His involvement in the offense would be mainly scoring, not setting up others. The second position DSR could develop into is combo guard, a player with enough game to alternatively run the offense like a point guard and score like a shooting guard. This is the position that DSR was expected to grow into, but as of now, he lacks on the point guard front. With a meager 12.2% assist rate, DSR failed to facilitate the offense effectively. Of 2012-13 Hoyas players to get significant minutes, only Moses Ayegba and Aaron Bowen ranked behind him in assist rate. Granted, DSR wasn’t very often explicitly asked to run the offense, but he might be one day soon, and right now, he’s not up to speed.
Overall, though, DSR makes up for a lack of game-changing athleticism with a willingness to find his shot and great ability to put points on the board. He’ll be a critical member of the Hoyas this year based on his offense alone.
Hoyas Comparison: When he first committed to Georgetown, Casual Hoya referenced Austin Freeman’s wide frame and strength as analogous to DSR’s game. The similarities are certainly there offensively, especially as big guards who can get into the lane and use their superior size to bully opponents, with a lack of elite athleticism to boot. I’d also bring up Jason Clark (class of 2012) in any comparison, as both rely heavily on three pointers from the shooting/combo guard position.
Expectations: DSR will be in fierce competition with junior Jabril Trawick for the starting shooting guard position this year. With Markel Starks firmly in place as the starting point guard, and JTIII on record as saying he will not start any three-guard lineups, one of those two will start the year coming off the bench. Whichever player it is, though, will be the first reserve called on by Thompson, getting roughly 20 minutes a game at the 2 (shooting guard), as well as some looks at point guard. Right now, DSR’s electric scoring seems best used as a spark substitution, but if the Hoyas struggle to put points on the board, DRS will see his minutes ratcheted up big time, and he could plausibly slide into the starting lineup too.
Look for DSR to continue to score in bunches this year thanks to his stocky frame and nose for the hoop. He looks like a lock to finish in the top-three for scoring on the 2013-14 Hoyas. What I’ll be looking for this year from the sophomore will be consistency on his three-point shot and a declaration of his intentions to stay a scoring-only shooting guard or grow into a true combo guard who could inherit the starting point guard role from Starks next year.
DSR has left his class of 2012 comrades in the dust. He immediately provided a potent scoring option for the Hoyas, right from his very first game last year, and will continue that scoring this year. A shallow backcourt means the playing time will no doubt be there for DSR this campaign. What he does with these minutes will go a long way in determining his role on future Hoyas teams.