- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
George Washington’s hot pursuit of Joe McDonald paid off
Question of the Day
Before he got on with the business of his senior year in the Landon School’s backcourt, Joe McDonald had something else to occupy his time besides figuring out where he would play point guard at the college level.
Namely, there was a football season to attend to. And George Washington, one of his suitors, had its eyes on him nearly every step of the way.
“There’d be times — cold days — [assistant] coach [Kevin] Sutton would be at the top of the bleachers watching me in practice,” McDonald said. “Not in a game. Practice. I’m like, ‘They’re real about it.’”
All those frigid afternoons for Sutton and coach Mike Lonergan proved sound investments for the Colonials. George Washington was 10-21 in Lonergan’s first season, and the former Catholic University guard and coach was intent on casting a recruiting net locally as he rebuilt the Colonials.
“I don’t consider Joe a true point guard,” Lonergan said. “I just think he’s a guard and a basketball player. He’s mentally tough, which you have to be to play that position, especially as a freshman.”
He’ll have the opportunity on an overhauled roster. Tony Taylor, last year’s starting point guard, graduated. George Washington could start as many as four newcomers (three freshmen and Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood), especially as forward David Pellom continues to recover from offseason wrist surgery and is not expected back until late November at the earliest.
Yet there was little doubt who coveted the 6-foot-1 McDonald the most. Lonergan would attend out-of-town games to emphasize the Colonials’ interest. When asked if he was receiving a letter a day from George Washington coaches, McDonald simply chuckled.
“They let me know that they really wanted me,” McDonald said. “That was something when I was talking with my mom about it, because she helped me with the whole process, [she said to] make sure I go somewhere I’m not only needed and wanted. I think the combination of both was perfect here.”
The Colonials received an early look at McDonald over the summer, taking advantage of a trip to Italy and 10 practices preceding it to better fit together their new pieces.
“On the court, he’s just good,” freshman forward Kevin Larsen said. “Everything he does is solid. He’s strong, a good ball-handler, can shoot and find an open teammate. You never see him yell at people if they make a mistake. He always tries to get the best out of every teammate he has.”
Not to mention himself. Lonergan is especially impressed with McDonald’s knowledge and has found him to be a slightly better scorer than he anticipated. That could prove crucial even this season for the Colonials, who averaged only 62 points a game last season.
The overseas trip provided some hope to McDonald the adjustment to college could be seamless. There were times, like a game against a team intent on applying full-court pressure on the Colonials, when George Washington looked as young as it is. There were other instances when McDonald efficiently followed Lonergan’s play call out of a timeout.
“We would execute it to perfection and get a quick bucket exactly the way he drew it up,” McDonald said. “I could tell in certain situations like that it could be this easy. I hope it will be.”
It probably won’t be too smooth this season. The Colonials were picked 13th in the 16-team Atlantic 10, and any team so reliant on freshmen is bound to experience fluctuations.
Yet there could also be moments when McDonald’s play warms a staff that experienced more than a few icy days in its attempt to lure him to Foggy Bottom.
“It was so darn cold,” Lonergan said, recalling a Landon football game he watched last fall. “We saw him a lot — and definitely needed him to come.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
By Steve King
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq