- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2014

The George Washington men’s basketball program is off to its best start since the 2006-07 season, and senior forward Isaiah Armwood is a big reason why.

Armwood, who attended Montrose Christian, is having a stellar season with averages of 10.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest. One of three seniors on this year’s Colonials squad, Armwood has led with his defensive play, tenacious effort on the glass and high basketball IQ.

“He plays with reckless abandon,” said coach  Mike Lonergan. “He makes every practice better. He’s so competitive in every drill and he’s really matured during his time here. He’s really helped us since he’s gotten here, even the year he sat out.”

Armwood will look to continue his strong play as he and the Colonials, winners of three straight, square off in a Saturday showdown with local rival George Mason (7-12, 0-5) at the Patriot Center in Fairfax.

Armwood is in his second full season at GW after transferring from Villanova University in 2010. Forced to sit out the 2011-2012 season due to the NCAA transfer rules, he used this time to learn the game and improve as much as he could while still staying involved with his teammates.

“He did a really good job working hard,” said Lonergan. “His basketball IQ has increased a lot since he first got here. Our assistant coaches did a good job helping him expand his game and he’s become a better scorer and has a better feel for the game. He’s always played hard, and that’s a credit to him.”

Scoring isn’t quite his role; Armwood is known for his defense and takes great pride in his ability to protect the rim and set the tone on the defensive end for the Colonials.

“That’s my responsibility,” said Armwood. “I put that on myself, it’s my job to get everybody else going [on defense].”

Armwood points out that the improvement from the team in the summer, and the addition of guard Maurice Creek in the offseason has really made a difference in their play this season. The hot start — GW is 15-3 overall and 3-1 in the Atlantic 10 — is no surprise to Armwood, however.

“I expected us to be exactly where we’re at,” said Armwood. “Our team has gotten better because everyone has gotten a little bit better, not just one person individually. If you’re watching us every day it might be a surprise, but not to me.”

Armwood pointed out the strong play of the sophomore class, specifically guards Joe McDonald, Patricio Garino, Kethen Savage and forward Kevin Larsen, for the team’s drastic improvement from a season ago.

“I see them work every single day,” said Armwood. “Those four guys have made a jump, and as a whole I think we’ve gotten a lot better because of that.”

Armwood’s strong locker-room presence, work ethic and knack for altering shots at the rim has helped the Colonials grow on the court and off the court.

“It’s really helped our confidence,” said McDonald. “We know we can pressure as much as we want, knowing that Isaiah is going to alter shots, if not block them. It’s a big bonus for us as guards, and he’s making the game easier for us.”