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Return to the 2006-07 Top 144 Preview

September 23rd, 2006

By Joel Welser

Broadcast Basketball

 

George Washington Colonials

 

Overall Rank: #47

Conference Rank: #2 A-10

 

2005-06: 27-3, 16-0, 1st

2005-06 postseason: NCAA

 

It’s not going to be easy for George Washington to follow up on their perfect 16-0 season in the Atlantic 10.  Despite the loss of quality players, it is the system that has proven to be successful.  The Colonials won’t go 16-0 again, or maybe even make the NCAAs, but the winning won’t end at GW just because of a few key players departing.

 

Who’s Out: This a painful list for GW fans to read.  Danilo Pinnock led the squad with 14.5 points and added 5.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals.  Pops Mensah-Bonsu averaged 12.6 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and was a solid shot blocker and defender.  Mike Hall was the underappreciated hustle man under the basket, averaging 11.0 points and a team high 7.6 rebounds.  Omar Williams tacked on 8.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists.  As if losing four of their top six scorers wasn’t enough, Montrell McDonald has opted to transfer after seeing significant minutes off the bench last year.

 

Who’s In: Forward Dokun Akingbade didn’t take DC by storm during his first three seasons for George Washington before redshirting last year.  However, at 6-9 and 200 pounds, Akingbade has the size and experience to make a big impact for the Colonials.  Cheyenne Moore, a transfer from Clemson, will add some quality depth to the wings.  Moore has a nice shot and will immediately bring some experience to a squad that lacks it compared to last season.  Incoming freshmen Damian Hollis and Hermann Opoku will provide depth at the forward spots.  Hollis has the skills of a guard, but at 6-7 and 215 pounds, can battle on the inside, which is exactly where Coach Karl Hobbs needs him to be.  Opoku, a native of Austria, is a great athlete.  The 6-8 forward hasn’t been playing the game too long and will need some time to adjust to life in the A-10, but once he finds his comfort zone, Opoku will be a solid player for GW.  Travis King will backup the point guard spot.  He’s a solid defender and has the quickness to run from end to end. 

 

Who to Watch: The backcourt duo of Carl Elliott and Maureece Rice are the best in the conference.  Elliott averaged 11.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a junior.  George Washington fans were all relieved when Elliott opted to return to the nation’s capital instead of joining the large group of NBA hopefuls.  Maureece was a superb sixth man last year and should be even a better start this year.  After averaging 12.6 points per game as a sophomore, Rice is ready to break onto the national scene this year as an upperclassman. 

 

Final Projection: The perimeter is solid.  It is the frontcourt that may end George Washington’s little run of NCAA Tournament bids.  Alongside of Akingbade, Regis Koundjia will need to live up to at least part of his hype.  The 6-8 forward started 20 games as a freshman at LSU, saw little action the following year in Baton Rogue and failed to meet expectations his first season suiting up for the Colonials.  He seems to lack the hustle to stay on the floor, but with a year of playing time at GW, Koundjia might be able to turn it around.  Beside the newcomers, sophomore Rob Diggs will have to hold down the frontcourt off the bench.  George Washington isn’t the most talented squad in the conference, or even the second most talented.  However, they are proven winners and will be in the mix for the highly touted second place in the A-10.

 

Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA

 

Projected Starting Five:

Carl Elliott, Senior, Guard, 11.5 points per game

Maureece Rice, Senior, Guard, 12.6 points per game

Cheyenne Moore, Junior, Forward, DNP last season

Regis Koundjia, Senior, Forward, 4.8 points per game

Dokun Akingbade, Senior, Forward, DNP last season

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