#55 George Washington Men's Basketball 2015-2016 Preview

George Washington Colonials

2015-2016 Overall Rank: #55
Conference Rank: #5 Atlantic 10

George Washington Team Page#55 George Washington Men's Basketball 2015-2016 PreviewBuy George Washington Basketball Tickets

At one point, George Washington was 16-4. They looked like a team that could compete for an A-10 title and possibly even make some noise in the NCAA Tournament. However, a tough stretch of games in late January and February, where they lost six of seven, put an end to any at-large hopes. The Colonials had to settle for the NIT, where they knocked off Pitt on the road before falling to Temple in the second round. It was a bit of a disappointing season, but Coach Mike Lonergan has another shot this year at competing with the top teams in the conference.

2014-15 Record: 22-13, 10-8
2014-15 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Mike Lonergan
Coach Record: 69-60 at George Washington, 195-128 overall

Who’s Out:
However, there are a couple of significant losses, most notably Kethan Savage and John Kopriva. Savage opted to transfer after averaging 11.7 points per game as a junior. When healthy, Savage was a very dangerous all-around scorer. Kopriva stepped into the starting lineup during his senior season and responded by averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds. He was the tough guy in the paint who could do the dirty work. Nick Griffin, Darian Bryant and Ryan McCoy all averaged fewer than eight minutes per game, but did play in just about every game.

Who’s In:
Forward Collin Goss and shooting guard Jordan Roland are the lone incoming freshmen, but George Washington will rely more on some transfers. Matt Hart comes from Division III Hamilton College. He can shoot, but the Colonials are much more excited about Tyler Cavanaugh and Alex Mitola. Cavanaugh, a 6-9 forward, spent two years at Wake Forest. Two years ago with the Demon Deacons, Cavanaugh averaged 8.8 points and 3.9 rebounds. He can score inside and out and should step right into the starting lineup. Mitola, a graduate transfer from Dartmouth, was a big part of the Big Green’s program over the last three years. He averaged double digits in scoring every season, maxing out at a team high 12.4 points per game last season. At the least Mitola should be an experienced shooter off of the bench.

Who to Watch:
George Washington does return three players who started all 35 games last season. Kevin Larsen was poised for a breakout season, but it really did not happen. The 6-10, 260 pound senior still averaged 10.9 points and a team high 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. He is capable of more and did finish last season strong, so this could be the year he turns into an elite A-10 player. The star of the backcourt is Patricio Garino. The 6-6 wing is a tough matchup since he is so physical attacking the basket. That is especially true when his outside shot is falling. Last year Garino led the team with 12.4 points per game and added 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals. While Garino may be the star of the backcourt, Joe McDonald may be the most important player on the team. The senior point guard is a versatile defender and dished out 3.1 assists per game. He also averaged 9.9 points per game and 5.8 rebounds, which is quite impressive for a point guard.

Final Projection:
Coach Lonergan will have the option to play very big with this team. He can start Cavanaugh, Larsen and Yuta Watanabe in the frontcourt. By the end of his freshman campaign, Watanabe was playing very good basketball. On the year, the 6-8, 193 pound forward averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds. He can shoot too. Another sophomore, Paul Jorgensen, could earn more minutes in the backcourt after averaging 10.2 in 2014-2015. He is a tough guard, but will have to battle with the newcomers for minutes. Overall, this could be the team we thought George Washington was going to have last year; one that can compete for an A-10 title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Joe McDonald, Senior, Guard, 9.9 points per game
Patricio Garino, Senior, Guard, 12.4 points per game
Yuta Watanabe, Sophomore, Forward, 7.4 points per game
Tyler Cavanaugh, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Kevin Larsen, Senior, Forward, 10.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 67.3 (179th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 62.0 (56, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.8 (149, 6)
Field-Goal Defense: 40.4 (67, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (257, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.2 (130, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.4 (239, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.7 (65, 2)
Assists Per Game: 11.7 (246, 13)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (122, 5)


See All Top 144 Basketball Previews