#63 George Washington Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

George Washington Colonials

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #63
Conference Rank: #6 Atlantic 10

George Washington Team Page#63 George Washington Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy George Washington Basketball Tickets

Year three proved to be a great one for Coach Mike Lonergan at George Washington. The Colonials had won just 23 games in Coach Lonergan’s first two seasons at the helm and they ended up winning 24 games in 2013-2014. That resulted in a trip to the NCAA Tournament as a nine seed, where they lost a close game to Memphis. The expectations are quickly growing for this program, but it will be tough to live up to last year’s success. The good news is that there is just one senior on the roster, so a trip to the NIT this season would be a great building block towards better things in 2015-2016.

2013-14 Record: 24-9, 11-5
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Lonergan
Coach Record: 47-47 at George Washington, 173-115 overall

Who’s Out:
Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood both took full advantage of their second chance at GW. Creek, who spent most of his collegiate career at Indiana, led the Colonials with 14.1 points per game and connected on 40.0 percent of his 200 three-point attempts. Armwood averaged 12.7 points and a team high 8.4 rebounds. Nemanja Mikic stepped up his shooting a little bit during his senior season and averaged 4.8 points per game. The 6-8 forward was at least always a threat to stretch out the defense with his shooting ability. Miguel Caragena and Paris Maragkos are the other two departures.

Who’s In:
Coach Lonergan has plenty of new options in the frontcourt. Ryan McCoy is eligible after transferring in from Manhattan. McCoy did not see much action for the Jaspers, but he does have some experience. The expectations are higher for the star of the recruiting class, Matt Cimino. The 6-10 power forward may not be strong enough to make a huge impact offensively right away, but he is a solid rebounder and shot blocker. Yuta Watanabe is an interesting prospect with a lot of potential. The 6-8 forward from Kita, Japan will need some time to develop his overall game, but he does have some raw talent. Anthony Swan, a 6-8 wing, will have the opportunity to add size and depth to the squad. The backcourt adds Darian Bryant and Paul Jorgensen. Bryant is a decent slasher, while Jorgensen could turn into a decent shooter off of the bench as a freshman.

Who to Watch:
George Washington will build around three guards who were at least part-time starters during last year’s run to the NCAA Tournament. Kethan Savage played in just 19 games last season, but made a huge impact as a sophomore, averaging 12.7 points and 2.6 assists. The 6-3 Fairfax, Virginia native is a superb slasher and is a jump shot away from developing into one of the most potent scorers in the A-10. Patricio Garino will start beside Savage on the wing. The big 6-6 wing is another good slasher who can also help out on the glass and uses his length well on the defensive end. The point guard duties will be handled by Joe McDonald. He dished out 4.1 assists per game in 2013-2014 and nearly had a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. But McDonald is more than just a passer. He is emerging as a leader, a solid all-around scorer and one of the best rebounding point guards in the country. The problem in the backcourt is outside shooting. That is where George Washington hopes the newcomers and Nick Griffin can make a difference. Griffin averaged a mere 4.8 minutes as a freshman, but proved that he can knock down shots.

Final Projection:
The frontcourt has high hopes for Kevin Larsen. The 6-10 junior is a very good interior scorer and a solid rebounder, but now he will be the focus of the frontcourt. Without Armwood by his side, it remains to be seen how Larsen will respond. If Larsen gets help from John Kopriva, he could average 15 points per game after totaling 11.4 in 2013-2014. Kopriva is a far less proven commodity. It is unlikely he will put up big numbers, but he does need to be a threat to score in the paint and help relieve some of the pressure from Larsen on both ends of the floor. Overall, George Washington has some talent here, but a freshman or two will have to be ready to crack the regular rotation. Replacing Creek’s 80 three-pointers and Mikic’s 40 is the bigger concern. This team does not need to hoist up long ball after long ball, but they do need to open up space for Larsen in the paint and the slashers on the perimeter.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Joe McDonald, Junior, Guard, 8.3 ponits per game
Kethan Savage, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Patricio Garino, Junior, Guard, 12.1 points per game
John Kopriva, Senior, Forward, 1.8 points per game
Kevin Larsen, Junior, Forward, 11.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 73.2 (99th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 67.0 (92, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.3 (67, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (80, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (228, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.4 (81, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 46.3 (67, 3)
Rebound Margin: 3.5 (61, 2)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (83, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (239, 10)


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