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2011-12 College Basketball Season Preview: George Washington

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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George Washington Colonials (Last Year: 17-14, 10-6 in A-10)

2011-12 Projected Depth Chart:

F/C: David Pellom (Jr)/Jabari Edwards (Sr)/Daymon Warren (So)

F: Nemanja Mikic (So)/Jonathan Davis (Fr)/John Kopriva (Fr)

SF: Dwayne Smith (Jr)/Aaron Ware (Sr)

SG: Lasan Kromah (So)/Bryan Bynes (Jr)

PG: Tony Taylor (Sr)/Dan Guest (So)

Gone: C-Joseph Katuka, F-Chris Fitzgerald (transfer-Columbia), SG-Tim Johnson (transfer)

2011-12 Outlook:
Every team in the Atlantic-10 will be chasing Xavier and Temple this season. If there is one sleeper team that could catch either the Musketeers or Owls, it will be the George Washington Colonials and their new head coach Mike Lonergan.

Lonergan comes in from Vermont to replace Karl Hobbs, who was let go after ten years at George Washington. Lonergan inherits a talented and experienced roster that will vie for the school's first trip to the NCAA Tournament since they capped off a three-year run to the Big Dance in 2007.

Leading the charge for the Colonials will be point guard Tony Taylor. The 6-1 senior emerged as the team's go-to scorer last season and will once again assume that role. He will likely be joined in the backcourt by Lasan Kromah who missed all of last season due to a foot injury, but had an extremely productive freshman year in 2009-2010. Brian Bynes started sixteen games last season with Kromah sidelined and will play a major role off the bench. Dan Guest will see minutes at the point behind Taylor.

The only senior George Washington loses is starting center Joseph Katuka. The likely candidate to replace Katuka is David Pellom. Pellom was a part-time starter last season and actually led the team in rebounds. Jabari Edwards has battled knee injuries throughout his collegiate career but provides a shot blocker, rebounding, defensive specialist-type presence off the bench. Daymon Warren adds physicality and even more depth inside.

Nemanja Mikic, 6-8, started every game last season as a freshman and play a major role in the frontcourt. He is more of a perimeter-based forward who shot an impressive 43.6 percent from distance. Dwayne Smith is the favorite to be the fifth starter. He is a physical wing and rebounds well for his position. Aaron Ware has been a valuable wing reserve the past three years, and will once again be counted on to be a solid contributor off the bench. Freshmen Jonathan Davis and Jon Kopriva will try to compete for minutes.

Lonergan also picked up an important prospect for their future when forward Isaiah Armwood transferred in from Villanova. Armwood will sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but will be able to practice with the Colonials, which should only make the other players better.

A tough non-conference slate will test George Washington before Atlantic-10 play tips off. They may not have the talent that Xavier or Temple does, but the potential is there for the Colonials to make some noise and possibly earn a spot in the Big Dance.

Player to Watch: Lasan Kromah, SG
A pre-season Atlantic-10 third-team selection last year, Kromah suffered a foot injury in a scrimmage and was forced to sit out the entire year. As a freshman, he led the Colonials in three-pointers and steals. His return to the roster will take some of the scoring load off Taylor's shoulder and could give George Washington one of the more dynamic backcourts in the Atlantic-10.

Key Non-Conference Games:
  • 11/13 at California (CBE Classic)
  • 11/21 vs. Detroit (CBE Classic)
  • 12/1 at Kansas State
  • 12/4 vs. VCU
  • 12/10 at Syracuse
  • 12/28 vs. UAB
  • 1/14 at Harvard

    Predicted Atlantic-10 Finish: 3rd

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