Top 68 Team Previews: #62 George Washington Colonials
Tony Taylor is one of the best returning players in the A-10. (Icon SMI)
By Ryan Feldman
Thursday, July 14, 2011
George Washington Colonials
Last Season: 17-14 (10-6)
Key Losses: Joseph Katuka
Head Coach: Mike Lonergan
Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Tony Taylor 6-1 Sr.
SG: Lasan Kromah 6-5 Jr.
SF: Dwayne Smith 6-6 Jr.
PF: Nemanja Mikic 6-8 So.
C: Jabari Edwards 6-10 Sr.
Key Reserves: Bryan Bynes 6-3 Jr. SG, David Pellom 6-8 Jr. PF, Aaron Ware 6-5 Sr. SG
Out with the old, in with the new. Mike Lonergan has taken over at George Washington after the Colonials fired Karl Hobbs, who coached the team for the last 10 years. Lonergan has inherited a solid group of returning players that can compete near the top of the Atlantic 10 in Lonergan's first year.
Lonergan comes to GW after coaching Catholic University of America to the 2001 Division III National Championship and spending the last six years at Vermont.
The Colonials finished fourth in the A-10 last season before losing in the first round of the A-10 tournament to St. Joseph's. The Colonials lost only one senior from last year's squad.
Tony Taylor will be the center of attention for George Washington. Taylor, a 6-foot-1 senior point guard, led the team in points (15.0), assists (4.6) and steals (1.3) per game last season. Taylor is a great ball handler that can use his quickness and athleticism to get into the lane.
Lasan Kromah, who sat out last season with a foot injury, is likely to start in the backcourt alongside Taylor. Kromah, a 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore, averaged 11.8 points per game as a freshman. Bryan Bynes and Aaron Ware will also get significant playing time in the backcourt. Bynes, a 6-foot-3 junior, averaged 6.1 points per game last season. Ware, a 6-foot-5 senior, averaged 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds per game last season. Bynes and Ware are below-average shooters, but both are athletic guards that can attack the rim.
The GW frontcourt is led by athletic forwards Dwayne Smith and David Pellom. Smith, a 6-foot-6 junior, was second on the team in scoring (9.3 ppg) and rebounding (5.1 rpg), while Pellom, a 6-foot-8 junior, led the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) and averaged 6.7 points per game.
Nemanja Mikic gives the Colonials some added size in the frontcourt. The 6-foot-8 sophomore is GW’s best 3-point shooter. Mikic shot 43.6 percent from 3-point range last year and more than 80 percent of his field goal attempts came from beyond the arc.
The Colonials are lacking size down low and may have to rely on fifth-year senior Jabari Edwards to fill in at center. Edwards played 16 games last year before suffering a knee injury. If Edwards’ knee isn’t fully healed, Lonergan may start 6-foot-7 freshman Jonathan Davis in a smaller lineup. Either way, the Colonials will have trouble down low against some of their bigger opponents. They'll have to rely on athleticism and speed.
If the Colonials quickly buy into Lonergan's system and Taylor proves to be one of the best players in the Atlantic 10, GW will have a chance to finish in the top three or four in the conference and possibly make a run at an NCAA tournament berth. But with a new head coach and a lack of size down low, it may be a tall task.