A capable scorer and defender, Gerald Riley could post tremendous numbers in one game and be susceptible to deep scoring droughts soon thereafter. This was a player that could shoot 8 for 11 from the field one game (and did), than come back the next game and shoot 3 for 17 (and did). Despite the peaks and valleys, his overall career numbers hold up with many of the great small forwards at the University.
A 28 point per game recruit from Milledgeville, GA, Riley started at small forward from his first game and never left the starting lineup. The fifth scoring option on a NCAA-bound lineup that featured Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Mike Sweetney, Kevin Braswell, and Demetrius Hunter, Riley averaged 6.7 points per game in is debut year.
Riley showed improvement in his sophomore season, increasing his minutes per game from 17 to 27 and his points average to 10.3. Riley picked up his scoring in Big East play, including 21 against West Virginia, 18 against Syracuse, and 15 against Miami in the Big East tournament. No less valuable was his emerging accuracy from the foul line. Shooting 81% from the line, Riley was perfect in 13 games from the line.
For 2002-03, defenses keyed on Mike Sweetney and opened the door from Riley to be a factor. He scored a season high 31 over Virginia Tech and posted double figures in 26 of 34 games, with 42% shooting from two and 41% from three. His free throw shooting increased to 84.3, with 14 perfect games: a combined 43-43 from the line in those games. In fact, he missed only seven free throws in 16 Big East games.
While Riley was a capable second option for Mike Sweetney, such would not be the case in 2003-04. With Sweetney's departure for the NBA, Riley was the the go-to player, averaging over 33 minutes a game. A strong presence in the first half of the season which saw the Hoyas open 10-0, the Hoyas' numbers dropped as Riley's did. He caught a second wind midway during the season, with two games against Miami that remain among the great individual efforts of the decade. Riley scored 35 points to lead the Hoyas to an overtime win at Miami, and a week later topped it with a 37 point effort against the
Hurricanes at MCI Center, the most points in a game by any Georgetown forward since 1965.
The combined box score for the two games (25 for 32 from the field, 16 for 16 from the foul line) was a highlight of the season, but a brief one. Riley's numbers began to fall as the Hoyas entered an eight game losing streak. The team's nadir came on Feb. 28, 2004, as Riley missed all 11 shots against Seton Hall as the team shot 3 for 22 in the first half, losing by 25 at game's end. By season's end, Riley rebounded somewhat to lead the team with a 17 point average, shooting 41% from the field and 84% from the line for third team all-conference honors, but few paid attention amidst the gloom
of the losing streak.
Three years removed, it remains difficult to judge Gerald Riley's career among the top players in Georgetown history. A top 15 finish by career scoring and steals, he is second all time in three pointers (165) and ended his career as the preeminent free throw shooter in school history (82.2%). Yet, his game by game play proved visibly inconsistent.
In some ways, Gerald Riley's impact patterns that of Roy White of the New York Yankees. White, a well respected and capable outfielder during the lean years of the Yankees in the late 1960's and early 1970's, compiled statistics that rank among the franchise's all-time leaders, but his name remains a step behind those names who excelled during the Yankees' title runs.
So it is with Gerald Riley. His 1,485 points is a noteworthy achievement, but such numbers are viewed among teams generally found to be underperforming for the modern era. Nonetheless, his overall contributions were considerable to the teams of that era, and are recognized thusly.