2007-2008 George Washington Colonials Basketball Preview
George Washington Colonials - A10
2006-07: 23-9, 11-5, 3rd (t)
2006-07 postseason: none
With Maureece Rice opting not to enter the NBA, George Washington will be competitive once again in a deep and talented Atlantic 10. Rice, who led the team with 15.8 points per game, is the next in line of talented guards to suit up for the Colonials. This year it is his team, but the talent level around him has taken a hit compared to the last few years.
George Washington and Coach Karl Hobbs only lose three players, but they are three important players. Carl Elliott averaged 12.9 points, 4.8 assists and 5.0 rebounds during his senior campaign. He was the leader on the floor and now that role will be taken over by Rice. Finding a perimeter scorer to compliment Rice is now the big concern. Regis Koundjia and Dokun Akingbade were often overshadowed by their perimeter counterparts, but the forwards were important to the success of the team. Koundjia was a decent scorer and could step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. Akingbade was the best rebounder on the team and a quality scoring option in the paint.
GW has very little experienced depth heading into 2007-2008. The addition of Wynton Witherspoon certainly helps. The lanky forward started ten games for Virginia Tech in 2005-2006 and averaged 6.3 points per game. He is truly a small forward, but with a wealth of talent on the wings, Witherspoon could end up spending some time at the four spot. Center Jabari Edwards can contribute on the defensive end this year. His shot blocking skills are well developed, but his 6-10 frame could use a little more meat. The offense will need some time to come around, but Edwards should supply some solid numbers before his collegiate career comes to an end. Small forward Xavier Alexander could develop into a recruiting steal for the Colonials. The 6-6 wing is a great athlete and a consistent scorer. He most likely will not start a game as a freshman, but will be a spark off the bench. Miles Beatty might just be the best incoming freshman of the class. The 6-2 combo guard is a smart player and, on a mental level, is ready to play in the A-10. His physical tools are not far behind and he will be a good option off the bench.
Who to Watch:
It is due to players like Travis King, Damian Hollis and Noel Wilmore that will keep the talented perimeter newcomers on the bench. King played an important role last year running the point behind Elliott. This year, he will be the main option. The 6-2 sophomore showed plenty of potential as a freshman and will do a little bit of scoring. Yet, compared to the man he is replacing, King will appear to be a disappointment. Noel Wilmore has been relegated to the bench due to the talent in front of him and that will not change this year. However, Wilmore, now a junior, still has the potential to develop into a more effective scorer. At 6-8, Damian Hollis adds some size to the perimeter. He was a little reluctant to shoot during his freshman season, but the team did not need him to do much scoring either. That may change now and Hollis can utilize his size and speed to become a prolific scorer.
Final George Washington Projection:
Rob Diggs is really a power forward, but he will have to play at the five spot. The 6-8 junior is a little slim to battle in the paint, but George Washington has dealt with that problem for a while and will still be effective. With a little more strength Diggs, who averaged 10.5 points in 2006-2007, could become a more effective rebounder. Without Koundjia and Akingbade, it will be imperative that Diggs picks up some of the slack on the glass. Cheyenne Moore, a 6-5 small forward, is a quality player when healthy. However, he will not help much on the glass, where GW could use it most. Moore, who spent some time at Clemson, was a top 100 recruit by many services coming out of high school, but has yet to come close to living up to his potential. Coach Hobbs continues to bring in talent, but this year’s group lacks experience and depth. In a drastically improved conference, that spells trouble for GW…but it will not last too long.
Projected Postseason Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Travis King, Sophomore, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Maureece Rice, Senior, Guard, 15.8 points per game
Damian Hollis, Sophomore, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Wynton Witherspoon, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Rob Diggs, Junior, Forward, 10.5 points per game
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