George Washington posted a 24-win record this season and made the NCAA tournament, the first time the program has accomplished both feats (a 20-plus win season and a postseason appearance) since 2006-07, and while Mike Lonergan’s resuscitation of George Washington is impressive, what is more interesting is that the team reached both goals with significant injury concerns. Kethan Savage was lost for more than a month with a foot injury — though he returned for GW’s games against VCU and Memphis, he played just one minute in both tilts — and Patricio Garino missed time at the beginning of the season, not to mention the lingering hip injury that plagued guard Joe McDonald.
According to the school, McDonald underwent surgery on his hip today and is expected to be fully recovered for the start of the 2014-15 season. Even with what must have undoubtedly been a painful Atlantic 10 slate, McDonald still managed to average roughly nine points per game and post an assist rate that hovered near 30 percent.
I spoke to Lonergan earlier this year, and he mentioned that the team couldn’t truly practice during conference play: fear of another Colonial stepping on a foot, or tweaking some body part, kept the team from fully practicing. There simply weren’t enough bodies for the coaching staff to lose another player. Even though GW loses both Maurice Creek and Isaiah Armwood next season, a completely healthy team, along with a celebrated recruiting class, could guarantee GW remains near, or atop, the A10 preseason rankings this October.
The Big South is moving its 2016 men’s basketball tournament out of Coastal Carolina and a new site will be figured out by November. According to a release from the conference the Big South is using a league bylaw that stipulates that members leaving with less than two years of notice are not eligible to host championships. Coastal Carolina announced this summer that it would be leaving for the Sun Belt as of July 2016, so the Big South wants to find a new location that benefits teams staying in the league.
The Big South men’s and women’s conference tournaments are now also going to be split into two unique events, with the men’s championships being held Thursday-Sunday, March 3-6. The women’s event comes the next week from March 10-13. Bids for both events will come into the league and a new location will be selected in the next few months.
It will be interesting to see if the site of the conference tournament is moved to a campus site or placed at a neutral venue. That type of thing could alter how the NCAA tournament autobid gets played out. With Coastal Carolina coming off of back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, this obviously changes their approach to the postseason now that they have to leave their city.
Virginia Tech is trying to decide what to do with injury sophomore guard Ahmed Hill, who had surgery this summer to deal with a tear in his patella tendon in his left knee.
The 6-foot-5 Hill has still not been released to work out with the team, but he is about a week to 10 days ahead of schedule in his rehab. But the injury is still nagging enough that Hill might not be healthy enough to really contritbute this season. Head coach Buzz Williams is deciding soon whether he wants to redshirt Hill or not.
Hill started a team-high 30 games for the Hokies last season, averaging 8.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
“I don’t have a decision on (Hill),” Williams said to reporters on Monday. “I will make the final decision. I’ll let (him) and his mom be a part of it, but I want to make a decision using the wisdom of doing this for a long period of time. If you let a kid make the decision, they always want to play.
“Right now, I don’t feel comfortable that I would want to play him. It’s just too early to be able to have much more of an answer than that.”
It’s still a rebuilding year for Virginia Tech, but they do get Maryland transfer Seth Allen, who is a talented guard who can score. The Hokies were hoping to have Hill and Allen as complimentary perimeter scorers, but now the plans might have to be altered. Williams went on to say that he would like to make a decision on Hill’s status by Halloween.