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Georgetown's youngsters grow up fast


LANDOVER -- There's no catchy nickname for Georgetown's three freshman starters.

No two-word handle with "Kids" as the second part. No "Thompson's Tots." No "Baby Hoyas" or "Little Rocks."

The closest thing Joey Brown, Charles Harrison and Robert Churchwell have to a nickname is "the three players with the two big guys."

Dikembe Mutombo and Alonzo Mourning are the other starters for the 18th-ranked Hoyas (13-5), and 14 feet of that much defensive talent can make up for a lot of freshman mistakes.

Those mistakes are fewer and farther between as the Big East season wears on.

"They're getting accustomed," Georgetown coach John Thompson said Wednesday night after a 59-53 victory over No. 5 St. John's. "Time's the only thing to help them. Time is what we need."

The playing time for the three members of the Class of '94 has increased as the conference season moves to the midway point with the Hoyas at 5-3, one-half game behind the Redmen.

Churchwell, the small forward of the group, and Harrison, the shooting guard, each played 35 minutes against St. John's, two less than Brown, the point guard and next defensive star from the Hoya system.

"Brown is looking a little more when he has the ball, and he needs to," Thompson, who compares the 5-foot-10 Brown to former Hoyas defensive whiz Gene Smith, says.

"Harrison has no conscience. Misses don't faze him one bit," Thompson added. "He's one of those shooters who knows how good he is. Churchwell has been playing well and improving."

Harrison, 6-2, has been in a shooting slump but remains the team's leading freshman scorer at 12.6 points per game. Mutombo and Mourning are the leading scorers, with the 6-6 Churchwell, averaging 10.2 points and 5.6 rebounds. Brown averages 8.6 points and four assists per game.

"Their young kids are not young kids at all. They play like 10-year veterans," St. John's coach Lou Carnesecca said.

Thompson, asked to assess his team's chances in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament if his young players continue to improve, said, "We have to be good now or there won't be a March for us."

There will be a March and there could be a march through the NCAA if Mourning continues to bounce back from a strained left arch which kept him out of nine games.

"Our leader was out and that was a negative too," Thompson said. "He was anxious to get back and the team was anxious to get him back."

Mourning, who says he needs a little more conditioning to return to his best form, sounded confident that the three freshmen will only get better.

"As time goes on, we'll improve," Mourning said. "The only thing stopping our half-court offense is us. With time and maturity, it will fall into place, and not many people will stop Dikembe and myself inside."

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