GW Men’s Basketball 2016-2017 Season Preview
By: Harry Falber
For the George Washington University Men’s Basketball Team, this upcoming season can almost be best described as bridge year. The team is an influx of new talent after losing three of their five starters (Patricio Garino, Joe McDonald and Kevin Larsen) from a year ago, as well as the first two men who came off the bench (Paul Jorgensen and Alex Mitola). However the Colonials brought in a stellar recruiting class with 7 new players with significant contributions expected out of them.
GW will also have a new coach. Mike Lonergan was fired earlier this year after an investigation detailed abuse allegations. Assistant Maurice Joseph will take over this year as Interim Head Coach, before a full coaching search after the season.
The Colonials will face some tough tests in non-conference play, with games at Harvard and Miami, as well as neutral site games vs Florida State and potentially Kansas. Tough A10 games will include a home and home with VCU, Davidson, and Richmond. The road trip to #23 Rhode Island also stands to be a tough one.
This season will be about developing the new players while trying to stay competitive in the A-10.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Tyler Cavanaugh, Forward
- Cavanaugh is the star of the team and will get a bulk of the minutes as well as a bulk of the shot attempts. He can score from anywhere on the court. Look to Cavanaugh to take a leadership role as one of the few Seniors on this team. GW will go as far as Cavanaugh will take them. Potential A10 Player of the Year.
Yuta Watanabe, Guard
- The Junior guard of Japan will need to take a huge step forward with Garino and McDonald leaving the program. A strong defensive player, Yuta will now be leaned on heavily to score a little more than he has in his first two seasons on Foggy Bottom. He showed growth in Japan and against Bowie State so we will see.
Jaren Sina, Guard
- Sina is a transfer guard out of Seton Hall. After sitting out last season due to eligibility restrictions, look for Sina to take over Point Guard duties. He will be the x-factor for this year’s team. Gained experience playing for Kosovo National Team over summer.
Colin Smith, Forward
- The freshman is expected to start at the center position for GW. Smith scored 16 points in the exhibition game against Bowie State. A big year from him could go a long way for the Colonials. Did not play much in Japan so this was BIG surprise.
Matt Hart, Guard
- Hart provided a spark plug at offense at times for the Colonials last year. A very good shooter, but a streaky defender, Hart could see a rise in his scoring total form last year.
Names to Know Off the Bench:
Patrick Steeves, Forward
- Steeves is another transfer making his Colonial debut. He is a graduate student from Harvard with two years of eligibility left. Steeves is a very good and could take over the bench shooter role from Alex Mitola. As a graduate student, look for Steeves to take on a leadership role as well.
Jordan Roland, Guard
- Roland didn’t get many minutes as a freshman last year in Lonergan’s system, however when he did he showed that he could be an athletic scorer. Roland will have to take a step up this year as a role player on this team.
Kevin Marfo, Forward
- Marfo turned down offers from schools in bigger conferences for a chance to play at GW. Look for Marfo to be one of the first big men off of the bench for Coach Joseph.
Colin Goss, Forward
- Goss is 6’10, which is an asset for this Colonials team. Goss’ size could lead him to play big minutes off of the bench for the Colonials.
The Verdict is Still Out On These Guys:
Jair Bolden, Guard
Justin Williams, Guard
Adam Mitola, Guard
Arnaldo Toro, Forward
Who is Gone?:
Patricio Garino, Guard (Now with the Austin Spurs/NBA D-League)
Kevin Larsen, Forward (Now with Lille Métropole/France-Pro B)
Joe McDonald, Guard (Now Director of Player Development at GW)
Alex Mitola, Guard (Now Grad Student at GW)
Paul Jorgensen, Guard (Transferred to Butler, sitting out season)
Anthony Swan, Guard/Forward (Transferred to Cal State Northridge, sitting out season)
Matt Cimino, Forward (Transferred to American, sitting out season)
I’m predicting GW to go 22-14 (11-7 in A-10 play). This is a drop off from last years 28-10 record, however they were 11-7 last year in A-10 play as well. Like last season, the Colonials will play in the NIT but lose in the second round.