- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 21, 2002

As he begins his second season as coach at George Washington, Karl Hobbs has much more size and versatility to work with than he did last year.

But more importantly, he still has Chris Monroe.

Monroe, whose 21.1-point average last season is the best among returning Atlantic 10 players, already is sixth on GW's all-time scoring list with 1,661 points. He's also the only fourth-year player on the roster.

"I'm just a player that has a lot of experience," Monroe said. "I'm the man with a lot of experience. I have more to share, more to teach. With more experience, it's expected of me to do more things."

GW (12-16 last season) also returns junior guard Greg Collucci, a dangerous outside threat, and T.J. Thompson, a guard who started every game as a freshman.

However, the Colonials crumbled in the second half last season, partially because of their small lineup. Hobbs attempted to fix that problem in the offseason, recruiting six freshmen at least 6-foot-8. Three of the newcomers forwards Mike Hall and Omar Williams and center Alexander Kireev started in two exhibition games.

"We have a lot of versatile players who can play two or three different positions," Hobbs said. "They all are skilled guys and I think that's going help us a great deal and I think it's going to create some matchup difficulties for our opponents."

Elsewhere around the region:

George Mason

Three starters, including preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association pick Jesse Young, are back as the Patriots look to return to the NCAA tournament after a one-year hiatus.

Young, a 6-10 senior forward, averaged team-highs in both points (14.6) and rebounds (8.4) as the Patriots went 19-10 and earned an NIT bid. Forward Jon Larranaga (11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds) also is back.

Point guard Raoul Heinen also returns for the Patriots, who were picked to finish second in the CAA and open their season tomorrow night at Central Michigan. Shooting guard Lamar Butler, a starter last season, will be out until January because of a groin injury.

Navy

The Midshipmen, who open tomorrow at Alumni Hall against Central Florida, are coming off their first losing season since 1992-93.

Picked in the preseason to finish fifth in the Patriot League, Navy has one of the league's most imposing front lines. Senior forwards Francis Ebong and Scott Long and center Mitch Moore spent much of last season as starters, and Ebong's 7.7 rebounds led the Patriot.

Senior guard Jason Jeanpierre (10.9 points) enters the season as the Midshipmen's top backcourt threat.

Howard

The Bison will rely on three returning seniors Ron Williamson, Kyle Williams and Jonathan Stokes to improve on last season's 18-13 record and third-place finish in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference under coach Frankie Allen.

Williams, who averaged 18.7, was selected MEAC preseason Player of the Year. Williamson averaged 14.7 points and led the conference in free throw accuracy.

Catholic

The Cardinals return four starters from a squad that went 26-3. Catholic's top weapon is 6-foot-6 forward Matt Hilleary, who averaged 17.4 points and 9.2 rebounds as a junior last season.

Senior guards Kevin Wise (14.5 points) and Craig Avallone (13.4) and junior forward Will Morley (12.2) also return from a team that reached the Division III Sweet 16 for a fifth straight season.


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