- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lasan Kromah isn’t quite where he was two years ago, when he was one of George Washington’s top scorers.

He isn’t where he was this time last season, when he missed an entire year with a Lisfranc sprain in his left foot.

It leaves the guard somewhere in between, grateful to be back on the floor but not quite yet the same guy who emerged as a potent weapon in Atlantic 10 play as a freshman.

“Just getting timing back — instincts and things just have to come back,” Kromah said. “That all takes time. It’s just how many reps you get in.”

There’s little question he’s receiving plenty with the scuffling Colonials (6-11, 1-2 Atlantic 10), who play host to Richmond (11-7, 2-1) on Wednesday at the Smith Center.

The last time he saw the Spiders, he scored a career-high 25 points in a tight road loss. It also was more than 23 months ago.

The new Kromah — a bit less explosive, perhaps, and certainly still finding his way — remains a valuable player. He’s averaging 9.9 points, second on the team behind senior guard Tony Taylor, and he’s reached double figures in eight of his past 10 games.

He’s also the Colonials’ top rebounder (5.3 per game) and has more assists than anyone on the roster besides Taylor.

“He’s really important,” coach Mike Lonergan said. “It’s not just his scoring, because a lot of games he’s 4-for-14. But when he’s playing well, he’s the only other guy besides Tony who gets assists. … He can do a lot of things. I don’t even think he realizes how much he can help without scoring.”

It goes beyond his assists and rebounds, too. Kromah set a school record with nine steals in a loss last month to UAB, a feat achieved while the Colonials dropped into a zone and allowed the 6-foot-5 sophomore to disrupt the Blazers’ offense.

Lonergan also is impressed with Kromah’s commitment and willingness to invest time in the evenings to improving his all-around game. As one of two local players on scholarship (Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood, who is sitting out this season, is the other), the Greenbelt native also is a significant player as Lonergan tries to attract other D.C.-area prospects to Foggy Bottom.

Nonetheless, Kromah has faced some understandable struggles as he adjusts to an offense that is less frenetic than it was under former coach Karl Hobbs. His shooting percentage dipped from 45.7 percent two seasons ago to 35.4 percent entering Wednesday. For now, though, Kromah is concentrating on improving his defense with the hopes it helps ignite his offense.

There is the obvious change of having to re-adjust to playing almost 30 minutes a night after sitting out a season, a process that rarely is completely smooth.

“There’s times in my mind where there are certain things I would have seen before or my body would have naturally just go with the flow, but it’s kind of different now adjusting to game speed,” Kromah said. “Everything’s different.”

One thing, though, remains the same from Kromah’s freshman year: He’s still a valuable part of both the present and future of George Washington’s program.

“He has had some really good games,” Lonergan said. “Usually when he plays well, we’re a good team. When he plays poorly, we’re a poor team.”

NOTE:Lonergan said Monday junior forward David Pellom, who started the Colonials’ past two games, will come off the bench against Richmond. Pellom ranks third on the team in scoring with 9.6 points per game. Lonergan said he was uncertain who would start in Pellom’s place.

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