To complement today’s dead-tree edition look at George Washington forward Isaiah Armwood, here’s ten more tidbits from the Colonials’ offseason and the year to come.
1. The Colonials will visit Italy from Aug. 15-26, playing five games during the trip.
“It’s going to be very important because half our team is new,” Armwood said. “We’re going to have to learn how to work together and [the five freshmen are] going to have to get used to coach Lonergan as much as we’re going to have to get used to playing with them. That’s going to be a big trip.”
2. George Washington might not have forward David Pellom available until around the start of the season. The senior underwent surgery on his left wrist on July 9 and is expected to miss between four and five months.
The 6-foot-8 Pellom averaged 10.4 points and a team-high 6.1 rebounds last season and is the Colonials’ second-leading returning scorer.
“It’s tough because we have so many new guys and I was hoping Isaiah and Dave would get used to played with each other,” said coach Mike Lonergan, whose team went 10-21 last season. “Italy would have helped. It’s definitely a setback. I just hope he comes back closer to four months rather than five.”
3. Guard Bryan Bynes underwent shoulder surgery shortly after the season and has not participated in offseason workouts. It’s uncertain whether he will be available for the Colonials’ overseas trip next month.
“I think so, but he hasn’t done anything yet,” Lonergan said. “That probably won’t be decided for a couple more weeks.”
Bynes averaged 4.4 points last season while averaging 20 minutes, mostly in a reserve role.
4. One more injury note: Freshman wing Patricio Garino is limited at the moment with a knee injury. The 6-foot-5 Garino is a product of the Montverde Academy, where he played for current GW assistant Kevin Sutton.
“I actually thought he’d play a major role this year,” Lonergan said. “He’s not playing in Kenner League. We’re hoping it’s not serious.”
5. Lonergan is seeking improvement from senior forward Dwayne Smith, whose scoring average dipped from 9.3 points to 5.5 points last season.
“When I got here last year, he had the concussion symptoms through the fall and the start of the season and that really hurt him,” Lonergan said. “If we can just keep him healthy through the workouts and the summer, we need him to make a big step.”
6. So, who will start for the Colonials when they’re in Italy? In the long term, it probably doesn’t matter much.
But for now, it’s a curious question —- not just because of the injuries, but also with an influx of five freshmen.
“Isaiah would be the only guy I know would be a starter for right now,” Lonergan said. “That’s the truth. Dwayne Smith has had a really good offseason for us. After that, it’s up in the air.”
7. That short list notably does not include guard Lasan Kromah, who is GW’s top returning scorer after averaging 11.1 points as a sophomore.
Kromah will be two years removed from foot surgery that cost him a full season later this year, and Lonergan is optimistic the Colonials will see more out of the local product.
“I told him it’s not going to be handed to him this year,” Lonergan said. “He has to produce at both ends. He has to shoot at a high percentage, and he’s up for that challenge. We have to get a lot more out of him than we did last season.”
8. Expect some progress from sophomore forward John Kopriva, who has added strength after being thrown into action earlier than expected last season.
“I think John just wore out,” Lonergan said. “He was very thin last year, physically weak compared to the guys he was going against. At a post position, that’s tough. I’m not sure he’ll be a starter or anything, but statistically he’ll be better.”
Kopriva started 18 games last year, but averaged only 12.7 minutes, 2.7 points and 2.0 rebounds.
9. Freshman Joe McDonald will be in the mix for the starting point guard job.
“He’s a hard worker and he’s a leader,” Lonergan said. “It’s just whether he can pick up the system and plays and all that. He’s a smart kid and hopefully he will.”
Look for Bynes (when healthy) and freshman Kethan Savage to also contend at time at the point for the Colonials after the departure of Tony Taylor.
10. George Washington opens Lonergan’s second season on Nov. 10 against Youngstown State, the first of six nonconference home games.
The Colonials also play four power conference teams —- Notre Dame (Nov. 21), Rutgers (Dec. 11) and Georgia (Jan. 4) on the road and at the Smith Center against Kansas State (Dec. 8). In A-10 play, GW faces La Salle twice and the league’s other 14 teams once each.
—- Patrick Stevens