Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nick Griffin, Darian Bryant to transfer


It's always too bad when this kind of news comes up, but it's also not rare: freshman Darian Bryant and sophomore Nick Griffin are transferring, according to articles in the Hatchet.

Griffin was a pure shooter who didn't see a ton of time, but also had a 12-point game earlier in the year. He averaged 2.6 points in 7.9 minutes a game, shooting 24/66 (.364) from three and only .326 from the floor overall. He had a great shooting stroke, but as some mentioned on GWHoops.com, he didn't seem to be able to get his own shot and I didn't get a good sense of any other facet of his game. That said, I liked watching him and wish him the best.

Darian Bryant was a tough, big guard who played aggressively, but also didn't see much time. He averaged 1.2 points in 5.4 minutes per game. I liked his high energy play but he would sometimes be a bit out of control -- that said, I definitely hoped to see more of him.

That means all of Coach Lonergan's 2013-14 class has left, as Miguel Cartagena and Skyler White have already transfered. Then again, as the Hatchet noted, the team was able to add Maurice Creek instead, so that worked out well.

That means the team now has two open scholarships, so I look forward to seeing if they sign new freshmen, snag some transfers, or hold onto them (I hope not the latter.) The team is alerady adding transfer Tyler Cavanaugh from Wake, who can play this coming season, and freshmen Jordan Roland and Collin Goss.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

No sleep till Brooklyn: a look at GW's A-10 tourney

The Colonials crushed UMass and have rolled into the Atlantic 10 tournament on a positive note: winning three of their last four. The good guys finished the regular season at 20-11 and 10-8 in the A-10, good enough for the #6 seed in the conference tourney. The team would have to win 4 to make the NCAA tourney -- not impossible, but certainly not easy.

The first game is against the winner of the 11 and 14 seeds on Thursday at 9 pm -- that's either Duquesne or St. Louis, respectively. That game to decide the matchup is Wednesday at 9 on the A-10 Network/SNY.

A pretty solid draw, considering the swoon for most of the conference season, although those potential matchups are not as good as you might think: GW beat SLU by only 3 in the one game they had early in conference play and split the season series with the Dukes, losing the second game by 14 in Pittsburgh.

If the good guys triumph Thursday, they'd face Rhode Island on Friday, also at 9 pm -- the Colonials lost a close one at Rhode Island earlier in the season due largely to 21 turnovers and poor free throw shooting.

I don't want to look to far ahead, but after that, it's the winner of #2 seed Dayton and St. Bonaventure or St. Joe's, and then the conference title. Here's the full bracket article.


So, do the good guys have a shot? It's difficult, of course, but like someone said on GWHoops.com (I can't find the link now) GW has surged to a surprise conference tourney title before -- and they were certainly hot enough during that UMass game. If the team can play their solid defense from the first part of the season, can knock down open shots and free throws, and can get some good production out of the bench, things will look up. And in the last two games, the team has had 55 points off the bench. Of course, George Mason is not a good team, but the much better game statistically was against a tougher UMass squad -- aside from bench play, the team looked much more focused, crisper on offense and all-around solid.

We'll see. I plan to go up Friday, fingers crossed, and am feeling a lot better about things than a few days ago.

There's some other good news too: Kangy the Kangaroo is back from Parts Unknown. Kangy, you may recall, was the good luck charm from the great 2006-2007 season where GW went 26-3 and was 16-0 in A-10 play. Last year, he showed up again and gave some bar recommendations near the Barclay's Center. (Here's more about Kangy.) I consider him GW's Quetzalcoatl, appearing from the mists when we need him most.



And if you're going to Brooklyn, let me know. Let's hang.

Monday, March 9, 2015

GW (the mascot) in awesome ESPN SportsCenter ad

This is pretty great. The mascot (no longer Little George, right?) is in a ESPN ad featuring friend of GW Scott Van Pelt, plus other mascots. Good stuff.


If you recall, Van Pelt used to always mention GW and Pops Mensah-Bonsu on SportsCenter during the team's great run in 2006, sat in the student section at a game at the Smith Center, and even wore a yellow tricorner hat on ESPN (to toot my own horn, that was my suggestion, though they might have come up with it at the same time.) Here's him at the Smith Center:


Thursday, March 5, 2015

I made a GW snowman


What did you do on your day off? (or, telework day in some cases.)

Amazingly, I teleworked, but made this fellow after I was finished. Not the greatest snowman, but the snow wasn't quite wet enough to make into big rolls. I used an old school Regis Koundjia jersey and some other paraphernalia.

Maybe it was the happiness from the win over George Mason in the Revolutionary Rivalry (nee Battle of the Orange Line) that inspired me.



Monday, March 2, 2015

The season's not over yet: why you should keep watching


Not since DJ's Fastbreak closed has there been this much disappointment at 22nd and H Streets. DJ's, pictured above in 2007, served awesome and cheap Korean bibimbap, rice bowls, pancakes and "bagel" to many a hungover or all-nighter-pulling student (e.g., myself.)
They occupied the building catty-corner from the Smith Center, and then one day they were no more, and an atmosphere of sadness descended on the corner, flushing away the aroma of grease.

And much like that, a promising season has descended into ennui. The good guys beat then #11 Wichita State plus a passel of big-conference teams with killer defense and tough offense, then suffered the dreaded swoon and went on 2-7 slide, dropping from 16-4 to 18-11, groaning to 8-8 in conference play. Those early big conference wins looked rusty as the season went on, too, with many of them faltering badly.

Fans and GWHoops.com netizens can't agree on why the team has slumped so much -- is it the coach? Tired players? A lack of confidence? The curse of Larry Lembo?


I dunno. But I'm still paying attention, though resigned to the fact that I probably won't need to take off those days in late March that I hoped to. I'm going to keep watching, and here's why (aside from the obvious that I am a GW fan and thus slightly brain damaged.)
  • Simple reason, but I like watching these guys. When they're on, they're fun -- KevLar's big post moves, Joe being tough as hell, and so on. I remain optimistic that fun will occur.

  • John Kopriva: the team's lone senior deserves a big sendoff for his last game on Saturday. He improved a great deal on the court this season and served as team captain, all while studying to be a doctor. No small feat.

  • What seed will GW get in the A-10 tourney? Who will they face? Perennial (almost) questions that make for some interesting theoretical banter.

  • Pauly Jorgensen and Yuta Watanabe: how will they be used going forward? More two, three or four guard sets?

  • The youngsters: will Anthony Swan get more playing time after his three against Bona? How about Nick Griffin with 12 points against Davidson? Will we see more of Cimino and McCoy?

  • Did you know that Patricio Garino is the team's leading scorer? When he chooses to, he drives better than Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez, combined. (Yes, I apologize for the Fast and Furious joke.)

  • Will someone other than a little baby win the Pita Pit dance contest? Who knows!

  • George Mason kind of stinks, so the good guys have a shot there. 

  • The George Mason band is pretty awesome and their band director is famous for being super excited and wearing Bernie Mac suits. Bill Murray likes them. (Also they don't have a band member who lets loose a blood curdling scream all the goddamn time, which I appreciate.)

  • It's always fun to see exactly how the Tonic trivia question is rigged.

  • Along those lines, Brooklyn is pretty awesome. Just watch out for hipsters. (The crazy thing is that this video came out in 2007, before the word selfie was even invented -- I think.)
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You can get college basketball tickets here.