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My Perspective on ML
Created: 7/24/2014 11:38:31 AMReplies: 17
7/24/2014 11:38:31 AM - NewGWFan - 391 posts (#56)

Mike Lonergan - Hired 2011, 47-47 (.500) at GW, One Postseason Appearances (2013-14 NCAA Second Round)

Analysis of Recruiting:

Since being hired:

  • Recruited Players: 18
  • Four-Year Recruits: 14
  • Junior College Recruits: 0
  • Collegiate Transfers: 3 (Dominique Bull, Tyler Cavanaugh, Isaiah Armwood)
  • Graduate Transfers: 1 (Maurice Creek)
  • Departed Recruits: 4 (Jonathan Davis, Kyprianos Maragkos, Dominique Bull, Miguel Cartagena)
  • Departed Inherited Players (left before exhausting eligibility): 2 (David Pellom, Lasan Kromah)
  • Retained Inherited Players (stayed/staying through graduation): 6 (Tony Taylor, Aaron Ware, Jabari Edwards, Bryan Bynes, Dwayne Smith, Nemanja Mikic)
  • Walk-Ons: 3 (Skyler White, Ryan McCoy, Matt Hart)


Lonergan has relied heavily on four-year recruits with an emphasis on the DMV while supplementing the talent with players from the Mid-Atlantic Region, and International players with ties to the area.  His best recruit to date is likely to be considered the transfer of Armwood to GW who had many other options at BCS level schools.  Outside of Armwood it’s difficult to pinpoint any one player who stands above the others, but the current crop of Juniors (McDonald, Savage, Larsen, Garino) seem to be the backbone of the program and have shared the limelight as a group.  The recruiting class of 2013 can largely be considered a miss at this point.  The much discussed decommitment of Nigel Johnson coupled with the swings and misses on Miguel Cartagena and Dominique Bull left a whole in the program that manifested itself last season in a very short bench that often times held the team back.  These misses accompanied by the departure of Paris Maragkos afforded the coaching staff a number of scholarships for 2014 which early indications from the Kenner League seem promising.

The coaching staff seems to have been able to identify and forge relationships with talented players early.  Unfortunately some of these players often get swallowed up by larger programs but these relationships have started to proven more fruitful in the form of boomerang recruits like Tyler Cavanaugh who many are excited to see play in 2015-16.  The staff has also done a good job in player development.  The majority of recruits that the staff has brought in have seemed to improve since coming to campus with a very few exceptions.  Probably the biggest knock against the staff to date would be that the initial crop of inherited players did not seem to mesh well with the staff.  Out of the 8 players the staff inherited, it’s probably fair to say that only Pellom demonstrated significant improvement during his time, but ultimately decided to forgo his Senior season and transferred to Memphis.

It seems at this point in time that the future in Foggy Bottom is bright.  Last year certainly was a magical season.  The program vaulted from a 13-17 record to 24-9 and an NCAA birth all while playing against a very solid schedule.  There’s no question that the transfer of Maurice Creek played a big role in the large leap forward the team made from 2012 to 2013.  His leadership and shot making ability will be missed sorely.  The 2014 season will be difficult to replicate with the loss of Armwood, Creek, and Mikic but at the same time, it would be shocking to see the Colonials take a large step backwards to where the program was in 2012 when they finished (13-17).  The team will likely start four juniors and one senior so they will be an experienced team and likely have a deeper bench to rely upon.  The program seems headed in the right direction and should remain competitive for the foreseeable future in the top half of the A-10 and challenge for Post-Season appearances. 

The AD rewarded Mike Lonergan with a generous and deserved extension until I believe 2021-22 so it’s likely we will see coach roaming the sidelines for a long time to come, barring any openings in College Park Maryland.  The question at this point seems to be that with the program set up for sustainable success, can the Colonials put together a season where they are able to win the A-10 or make a run in the NCAA tournament.  I think the infrastructure is in place, but like in everything in life a little luck is necessary. 

7/24/2014 12:12:52 PM - SHOFAZ +1 - 76 posts (#175)

good analysis!


i wish SHOFAZ would take a few minutes of his summber and would share his thoughts on the offseason so far

7/24/2014 12:27:44 PM - Mentzinger - 3,358 posts (#7)

I think you underplayed Creek's importance to last year's success. Hit a wall but no underestimating the intangibles of a guy who hit
the big shot to avoid a comeback loss on a big stage at BBT, plus having plated at Indiana. Also underplayed how Kromah could be so bad at GW under ML but sixth-man quality for a national champion continues to perplex. The recruiting looks great and last year sold me on "the ML way" but we can't really claim depth until we see how this freshman class looks. Also really looking forward to the development of Griffin as a serious sniper. Watanabe looks like a golden get and I think Cimino will be a really nice fit for his system.

7/24/2014 12:37:05 PM - Mike K - 972 posts (#30)

I think that the Core Four and others learned leadership and character from Zeke and Creek.  I don't think this can be underestimated as we play bigger schools and we move into the A-10 and NCAA Tourneys. 

7/24/2014 12:41:26 PM - G-72 - 81 posts (#170)

I think there are many reasons to anticipate a positive direction in the program.  Yuta looks like a great get.  the jury is out on Cimino in particular.  There is a fine line in this business for success.  I'm not ready to annoint ML yet but don't want to start the shit storm posts that we had previously.   The marketing machine for this program is just too strong on this board.

7/24/2014 1:32:36 PM - pops - 291 posts (#76)

taking nothing away from zeke and mo, i believe the Core Four came as winners and with their character firmly in place.

7/24/2014 2:23:38 PM - Free Quebec - 5,713 posts (#2)

Mentz, onhttp://gwhoops.com/ Creek hitting the big shot - it's easy to forget that even before that, Joe hit what was arguably the biggest shot of the season, the one that sent the game into OT against your Miami Hurricanes.  If we don't win that game, we probably lose some confidence and we obviously don't get to play Creighton (or Marquette, both of which had a big impact on our SOS).    Yes, Creek hit the high profile one against Maryland, but Joe has hit game winners in both seasons.


Mike K - I totally agree, especially about Zeek.  Not only character, but his relentless drive was infectious.   The intensity with which he went after the ball on every possession is going to be hard for anyone to replcate, but let's hope it rubbed off enough on Pato/Kethan/Joe (it seemed to last year, for sure), but keeping that going withtou the team's emotional leader is going to be key.

Pops - One of my favorite things about the way ML has recruited is that he seems to be recruiting really good team players who love to win/hate to lose.  Joe McDonald in particular has that Mike Hall-esque mentality where he can be fairly quiet for stretches while deferring to his teammates, but with the game on the line, he seems to find another gear.  I also love the way ML coached KevLar on that front -- he had the bad early january game against LaSalle, but came back from that with a consistent focus and really stepped up his game.  The ability to get our players to play with that kind of mentality game in, game out is one of the reasons to be so excited about the future.

Lastly, I'm also realistic about our expectations.  I think we can be a consistent top 50 team under ML and make the NCAAs about half the time (which is basically the same rate we made it from 93-07). Hell, if this recruiting class is as good as advertised, we could make the NCAAs more often than not over the next 4 years, and we could even have a really special year mixed in there. But if anyone is expecting us to be the new Gonzaga (a constitent top 25 team that frequently is in the top 10) that's not realistic at this time. 




7/24/2014 4:11:33 PM - GWSB'11 - 147 posts (#126)

FQ, great point of Joe Mac's shot vs. Miami. Also, let's not forget that againts Memphis he had that layup in the last minute where he scored was litreally knocked off and the ref didn't call the foul. Layup brought us to -1, and we could've possibly tied with a free throw and not fouled after.

7/24/2014 4:33:29 PM - Hugh - 66 posts (#184)

A couple of minor edits: I'd put Jonathan Davis in the Departed Inherited Players category, as he was a Hobbs recruit. Don't think ML had much of a plan or hope for contributions from him. Also, forgot two Hobbs recruits who left, Daymon Warren and Dan Guest. Great work though putting this together.

I also find the Lasan thing to be interesting. At GW he was a skilled scorer and who was subpar/lazy/takes to many risks defensively. Then he goes to Uconn and becomes a great defender without much of an offensive game.


7/24/2014 4:44:51 PM - DEA - 1,432 posts (#22)

Lasan was always a good defender at GW. It didn't work out because Lonergan needed him to be a shooter and he isn't. He has pro length and quickness, just fairly limited offensively. Always plays hard and was a great asset in his time here. 

7/24/2014 5:08:33 PM - Free Quebec - 5,713 posts (#2)

Always plays hard?   I'm not sure about that.  I think that may have been the main issue in their not getting along (that ML didn't feel like he always hustled, didn't dive for loose balls, etc. - and Lasan really didn't like being told that or didn't agree).  

I think when he got to UCONN, he accepted his role.  He played with a (ridiculously) good ball-hog guard, so there was no question that Lasan was out there to do anything but defend, get out in transition, and try to score when left wide open.  At GW, he didn't have that kind of talent around him to let him play the role he was best suited for, and particularly when forced to handle the ball a lot, he just couldn't do it.  

Also think UCONN's defensive style suited him quite well, just like Hobbs' style.  When Lasan was first here, there was considerable debate over what kind of defender he was. Some pointed to steals numbers and occasional strong isolaton defense, others said the steal numbers were misleading because he gambled for steals, had trouble with screens, and was inconsistent defensively.  There was even debate about why Hobbs loved Bynes D when some thought Lasan was the better defender.    When ML took over, Lasan was asked not to gamble, but to play more position defense and that wasn't always the best fit for him - so he went to UCONN, where they had other guards to pressure the ball, bigs to guard the paint, and they wanted a wing who's job was to jump passing lanes and gamble on steals.  

Sometimes a transfer is just a better fit, and not anyone's fault - just like Armwood succeeding under ML is not a knock on Jay Wright.  Our style just fit his game better.

Anyway, back to our own players instead of debating Lasan again - one thing I love is that like Hobbs when he was first here, ML is currently recruiting players that fit his system.  He likes guys who are a different style from those that he inhereited and you can see now why that is.  That isn't to say that Hobbs style players can't succeed - they can - but we should be happy we have a coach with a clear vision, and an eye for players who fit that vision.  That's something not a lot of programs can say.


7/24/2014 5:41:01 PM - Boston Colonial - 294 posts (#74)

Trying not to be redundant so I'll just make 4 points

1. Armwood and Creek came to GW and were impact players.  They will be missed more than we might expect and I don't mean that as a slight to the "Core Four"(love that nickname!). Credit Mike Lonergan for getting them to come to GW.

2. Kromah and Pellom left to play complimentary roles on higher echelon teams.  It worked out much better for Kromah than Pellom.  Credit Kromah for accepting  the role of providing solid minutes off the bench.

3.  With the tough road schedule we have, I would consider a 19 or 20 win season a great achievement, even though I think we have superior depth and talent in comparison to last year.

4. This is a great thread, solid, insightful posts and no bickering!


7/24/2014 6:05:49 PM - Tennessee Colonial - 1,033 posts (#28)

With the type of players ML is bringing in I see consistency over the future years. With Hobbs type of players there seemed to be a great high, then when those players graduated, a long time bust. I just see more stability with this program.

7/24/2014 6:38:46 PM - pops - 291 posts (#76)


I liked Lasan's defense too but i don't think ML did.  mostly because he gambled too much and was often leaving his man.  but he had great anticipation and would come up with some really big steals when he was focused.  i don't want to rehash the whole discussion but seeing him at Kenner last week sparked some good memories.  What I thought he did best was get to the rim and score.

FQ, our guys may not be the best atheletes in the world but they are pretty good and I just love to watch them play.  Their passing and unselfishness and recognition is just the best.  they play a team game that is fun to watch.  Even two years ago, before they were winning, they would go through stretches where you just sit back and say this is how the game was meant to be played.

You are right to manage expectations.  Consistent top 25, Frequent top10?  i don't think anyone, even me expects that.  On the other hand why dismiss the possibility?  There's no reason ML can't be as good a coach as Shaka or Brad Stevens.  Gonzaga has produced consistently for many years now.  Its not likely we would ever be them.  but its possible.  its also possible we have embarked on a run that could prove better than the '93-07 run when all is said and done.  I think we could well find this years class is even better than the junior class.  if so, we've got 2 years with them together, then another 2 years where it looks like this could easily keep going. 

Its true we could lose ML to Maryland 2 yrs from now and lose a couple of guys to transfers and the fuse just burns out.  but unless your LSF, why expect the worst.  ML could also spend the rest of his career here and what he has begun could continue for 20 yrs.  Either way I plan to enjoy the next 4 years.  Even if they dissapoint, there will be enough good basketball mixed in to enjoy this stretch.


7/24/2014 9:39:48 PM - NewGWFan - 391 posts (#56)

I'm glad some of you enjoyed this thread. I enjoyed doing a little research and writing it.  Summer can be slow on board but it has generated some nice discussion.  


It's a little off topic, but in looking at how the program made a big jump from year 2 to year 3, I could really see both URI and Duquense making similar strides, likely not quite as drastic as GW. I think both programs have hired good young coaches who have recruited really well and paid there dues with young teams the past few seasons.

7/24/2014 10:06:08 PM - Bo Knows - 387 posts (#58)

Not to be a downer because I think ML is doing a fantastic job but I've been around long enough to remember the things that were said following the 2004-05 season. There were pronouncements that we were set up for success for years that would eclipse that found under Jarvis. Of course, we did have unprecedented success for a time but that quickly dissipated at the end. I am encouraged by what I see and where I think we are going. I believe in ML and the program he has established. But in true LSF mode, as a GW fan, you are keenly aware that the other shoe can drop at any time. For example, Turgeon gets canned and ML goes to Maryland. As the weather channel show says "It Can Happen Tomorrow". So to look out over the horizon too far has its risks at GW.

7/25/2014 1:08:36 AM - Long Suffering Fan - 3,494 posts (#6)

If you want to attribute the lack of depth this past season to ML's inability to keep Pellom and/or Kromah, I will give you that argument (especially Kromah).  However I do not attribute the lack of debth last year to a poor recruiting year the year before.  What was lacking on last year's team was the quality seniors from KH's last frosh class (before Copes, Davis, etc) that would have been the core of last year's bench.  The seniors we inherited (or would have inheritted) who were ML's last frosh class were Mikic, Dan Guest and Tim Fitzgerald.   Do not underestimate the value of one or more decent seniors coming off the bench on an already good team.   The one holdover recruit of ML's that hung around was Jonathan Davis, who would have been a bench warming junior on last year's team.

7/25/2014 1:44:21 AM - Tuna Can - 1,449 posts (#20)

I see the Turgeon canned and ML to Maryland repeated over and over. I lean more into the Pops thinking that a coach has to see the Gonzaga model (as I have mentioned before (too many times)) where a whole program hangs together. Maryland is a threat to be a coaching death trap for years to come. COULD BE, that is. 

A bit more bad luck and Turgeon's career is buried for a good while. Say hello to West Texas State.

The possibility that ML's life at GW could go "all Hobbs" is there, too. I have long felt that Hobbs was a recruiting and team management disaster, but there are those there who suggest that he had all sorts of talent visiting the school, but we are just not quite there to close... paint that how you wish. I will say that with everyone other than your massively talented group surrounding Mike Hall, we never had the individual talent development that one would expect. Seniors rarely had crowning glory in their final season. At best, we were getting by.

You can blame the school, the previous AD, or whomever, but one has to accept that we were on a train ride to nowhere fast. 

At the same time, I had mixed feelings with Hobbs because I always felt that he had an "if I need to win one game with the guys that I have" brain that was way good. There were some brilliantly coached games in the final few years where Hobbs' tactics were wonderful and I can't help but feel that he played a big role in UCONN's successful run. I think that GW actually ended up doing Hobbs a huge favor by getting him into a Natl Champ. situation where he comes out smelling like a rose. In other words, moving on can be a wonderful opportunity for some--even if it REALLY HURTS at the time.

BTW, that's not to say that, if Turgeon gets axed, ML doesn't take a cab ride over to CP. That will be a very expensive cab ride for GW. All he has to do is drop an offer letter on Knapp.... Everybody loves a stalking horse deal!

Some food for thought
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