Jessie Govan: Hoyas Big Man Plans To Finish College Career on High Note

Photo courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics.

By David Cordova

Anyone that knows and follows the Georgetown Hoyas knows that their specialty is in developing big men, also known as forwards & centers, respectively. The guards may control the tempo, but it’s the post men that hold things down for the team from The Hilltop.

Beginning in the early days of the tenure of Hall of Fame coach John Thompson, Jr., the Hoyas have sent many of their post men to the professional ranks, such as their current head coach, Patrick Ewing, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, Othella Harrington, Michael Sweetney, Roy Hibbert and Greg Monroe.

In this present day, one Hoya that has made their presence felt on the college scene is Jessie Govan. The 6-foot-10 senior center has been a force for Georgetown has been a force for his team the last couple of years and has many skills outside of making power moves in the paint. He can also handle the ball and is also capable of stepping out of the low block and making a shot from 15 feet.

When asked about how it feels to be a senior, Govan replied, “You know, it’s great. I know the things that it takes to win in the Big East, and it’s something I take pride in, in being the leader of this team. You know, hopefully, I can lead them into the NCAA Tournament this year.”

On expectations for this year’s team, he added: “We want to win, that’s our biggest thing. We definitely want to be one of those teams that’s playing in March, playing late in March. That’s our biggest thing, we just want to win this year.”

Govan modeling for a Media Day photo shoot at Georgetown. (Photo courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics)

Last season, Govan averaged 17.9 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior for the Hoyas, and was the team’s leading scorer and most potent offensive weapon. He was also anchored by power forward Marcus Derrickson, who is now playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the NBA G-League affiliate of the Golden State Warriors. Govan could have made the move to go to the League, too, but he decided to come back as a senior for one final run.

When asked how much coming back to school helped him, Govan replied, “You know, I get to have another year under Coach Ewing, [who is] obviously one of the greatest big men of all-time, so I can keep on picking his brain, keep on learning new tricks, keep on getting myself better.”

This season, throughout the first seven games, he has averaged 19.9 points & 7.3 rebounds per game for the Hoyas.

On playing for a legendary figure like Ewing, who led the Hoyas to four NCAA Tournament appearances, three Big East Tournament championships & one national championship as a junior in 1984, Govan replied, “It’s great, he’s a player’s coach. It’s a lot of freedom [in the system]. Obviously, he has his sets he wants us to run, and you know, patterns and stuff like that, but you know, it’s a lot of freedom, and he just wants you to play hard. He wants you to play with a lot of effort.”

Govan throws down a dunk against Xavier. (Photo courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics)

After not seeing the NCAA Tournament since 2015, Georgetown is eager to get back into the Big Dance, and this year, has the talent to do so. So far, they’re 6-1 on the season and have been playing well. Along with Govan in the starting lineup is graduate student and forward Trey Mourning, sophomore forward Jamorko Pickett and freshmen guards Mac McClung and James Akinjo. On this year’s team, Govan said, “I think this year, we have a really, really talented team, This year, all of the guys are hungry. The guys are ready to make some noise, get Georgetown back on the map, so I think this year, we’re ready to take the next step and get back to March Madness.”

Although the program had been on the decline the last few seasons, Govan remains optimistic that things will change for the better. “It just didn’t work out the way that I wanted to the last three years, but every year, I go in with the same mindset, trying to win, trying to be successful. I feel that we can get to the Tournament. A lot of people are sleeping on us, you know, that’s fine, that’s cool.”

Every year, Govan, a native of Queens Village, gets to come back to Madison Square Garden multiple times, whether it is to play St. John’s in the regular season and during the Big East Tournament. When asked about being from New York and getting the chance to play there, he said, “It’s exciting, playing in the Big East, obviously you get to come back to the Garden, you know, twice a year. You get to play St. John’s and play in the Big East Tournament. Any time I come back home, I love coming back home, it’s a great atmosphere. Anytime I’m here, it’s a great atmosphere.”

In his high school days, Govan was the one true center that New York City had, and he showcased his talents very well. As a senior in 2014-15, he led Wings Academy to a 30-2 record, a PSAL championship, a New York State Federation championship and an appearance in the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Tournament, while averaging 22.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.

The past and present Georgetown Hoyas: Jessie Govan and Patrick Ewing. Mentee and mentor. (Photo courtesy of Georgetown University Athletics)

When asked about winning the PSAL championship on the Garden floor, Govan replied, “It was some of the finest times of my life, playing with Wings and going on that run, the first championship they got in school history, you know, and to be a part of that team, and to be one of the leaders on that team, along with Desure [Buie] and Randy [Corporan], you know, being one of the leader on that team, and being able to give them a championship. I hold that very high on my list of basketball accomplishments.”

Now, that Govan has won a PSAL title on that court, the next goal for him would be to win a Big East title on that same court. “Oh, it’d be great. Not a lot of people can say they won both a PSAL & a Big East championship here, so if I’m able to do that this year, that would be amazing.”

With one final season, this can be the chance for Govan to help the Hoyas get to the promised land named the NCAA Tournament. And after that, he will ride off into the sunset, graduating in May, and then to a possible pro career, whether in the NBA, or overseas.

It’s very simple. For Jessie Govan, there is no “next year.” His time, the time to make things happen, is now. With the cast that Georgetown has this year, there is definitely a chance that what they’re hoping for is on the horizon.

Highlights of Jessie Govan:

Courtesy of Big East Conference.

Courtesy of Next Ones.

Courtesy of Next Ones.

Courtesy of FOX Sports.

Courtesy of FOX Sports.

Courtesy of Gotham Hoops.

Courtesy of Gotham Hoops.

Courtesy of Max Preps.

Courtesy of NYC Sports Network.

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