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Looks like GW had a successful trip to Italy, going 4-1 against a variety of teams. Of course, for a team with so many newcomers, what's important is not the results - or even the level of competition - but the extra time to practice and to bond as a team.

David Pellom is hurt and did not play (he averaged a double-double over the last few games last year so that's a big loss). However, the newcomers really shined.

Some standouts, from what I can tell off boxscores and official blog updates:

- Patricio Garino started over Lasan Kromah in I think every game. Apparently played very well, leading the team in scoring 2 or 3 times, and showing his excellent passing skills. He will be an impact freshman. I think the league will be surprised by him.

As for Kromah, he keyed the offense in a couple of wins, but was overshadowed by the play of the newcomers.

- Kevin Larsen is a legitimate post scorer. Picking up on where his strong summer league left off, Kevin Larsen looks poised to give GW a dangerous low-post scorer. From the highlights, it looks like he is very skilled - can pass and even put the ball on the floor a little. His defense and rebounding will need work at the A-10 level, but at 6'10, 250 with good skills, he is going to be a load for a lot of A-10 teams to handle.

Probably a favorite for the all-rookie team, and maybe a darkhorse for Roookie of the Year because he'll get plenty of opportunity and will probably average double figures.

- Isiah Armwood played a key role. Not surprising, the Villanova transfer (and Nova's team captain) started up front, was GW's top rebounder and scored some, averaging in double figures. He did hit a could of long shots, but he is primarily a Josh Benson type of 6'8" athletic forward with some skills, who gets most of his points around the basket.

- Joe McDonald started at PG and had some decent games. I guess there is some question about whether McDonald can seize the starting PG spot from shaky Brian Bynes. He did, at least in Italy. I guess he had some games with very big stat-sheet stuffer outings because he can rebound the ball and got some steals. He probably becomes the key to GW's season because much will depend on whether GW can create good shots within the offense.

- Paris Maragkos was better than expected. GW fans expect big man Paris Maragkos to ride the pine as a freshman. After a quiet first game, he showed fairly well, scoring in double figures a couple of times and showing nice athleticism. still probably needs time, but I think it was an encouraging outing for the least known of GW's newcomers.

- Savage was inconsistent with his scoring. Probably reflecting how his freshman year will go, Kethan Savage had a couple of really nice scoring games, and a couple of duds. Based off the highlights (and what's expected of him), he seems to get almost all his points attacking the basket and/or getting to the line. He is highly athletic and will probably have a typical freshman guard-off-the-bench year where he hits double figures at times, and goose eggs at others, but he's definitely an upgrade over what GW has had off the bench the last couple of years.

- Mikic shot it well. Mikic shot well, and from the highlights seemed to put it on the deck a little. He's expected to come off the bench this year, and hopefully he'll continue to be a dangerous weapon, albeit one GW relies on less.

- Dwayne Smith started most games. Didn't score a ton, but coaches have a lot of confidence in him.

- John Kopriva is stronger. Last year, Kopriva was surprisingly solid early in his freshman year, but lost weight, wore down and became ineffective as the A-10 season wore on. He seems to have bulked back up and is ready for the rigors of a full season. He also seems to be a well-respected leader on the team.

- Jonathan Davis scored well when he got playing time. He has some talent, but it still may be tough for him to find playing team on this team as a sophmore. He'll have to excel early in the season to get the chance.

- Still don't know what to make of Bryan Bynes . from the boxscores and highlights, Bynes seemed to be aggressive with his passing and shot selection. Not clear if he shot it well, but he did score a bit.


Overall the scoring, like the minutes was very spread out. No single player scored more than 18 in any game, but most games featured 4-5 players in double figures and almost everyone getting on the board.

Of course, the competition was weak. The best team we faced beat us by about 17 (a 2nd Division Italian Pro team that has the American who led the NCAA in shot blocking 2 years ago with 4.9 Blocks per game). Apparently we had trouble scoring that game. But we also crushed all the teams we played, including a 27 point beat-down of a stronger, more physical B-Division team, a 43 point win over a C-Division team (almost the exact same score Iowa St. beat them by last year), and two large wins over military base teams (one of which was rumored to have beaten West Virginia last year, though I'm not sure I buy that).

All in all, I think it was a very successful trip and should pay dividends for the young Colonials as they adapt to Lonergan's system.
 

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Good stuff. I wish the Bonnies would make one of these trips as they seem to help teams gel and get the freshmen involved.
 

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I have to give Kudos to the sports info dept for keeping evryone informed through frequent Tweets, blog posts and game video clips.

Larsen will be a player. Watched him a few times in the Kenner league over the summer and the only players who slowed him down were Alex Len (UMD), Will Thomas (GMU final 4) and Jeff Green (Celtics).

The coaches seem to be fawning over Garino (who was injured during Kenner play)
 

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I think GW, along with the Bonnies and the Spiders, are going to be tougher than most people think this year. Road wins are going to be like needles in haystacks.
 

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Sounds eerily similar to Charlotte's trip to the Bahamas. Braswell is injured, so he didn't play. The freshmen all got a chance to play and score some points. Thompson (PF/C), the transfer from VT, looked to be in decent shape. Thorne (C), who redshirted last year, got a bunch of rebounds and scored some points. And the sophomores returning scored a lot of points, while the guy scoring more from last year (sg/sf Mayfield) didn't do much. Won both games by 20+.

Major himself said the competition should be "taken with a grain of salt". I think the defense in these exhibitions is usually pitiful. Be wary of the reports leaking from the practices. Your sources might be less biased, but Charlotte fans heard all about the leaked practice exploits of many different players, only to see them underwhelm once the season started.

When is Pellom expected back?
 

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VCU went 4-0 in Italy and won by 54.5 ppg including beating a team by 38 that beat Georgia by 4, Purdue by 3, and lost to Tennessee and Arkansas by significantly less margins than they lost to VCU.

At the end of the day, the trip is just a bonding exercise and very little can be taken from the competition there. A ton of guys who won't play many minutes can look like stars against the kind of competition out there.

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sport...ks-on-several-things-during-trip--ar-2152739/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebas...in-shaka-smarts-vcu-rams-wreak-havoc-on-italy
 

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Discussion Starter #10
VCU went 4-0 in Italy and won by 54.5 ppg including beating a team by 38 that beat Georgia by 4, Purdue by 3, and lost to Tennessee and Arkansas by significantly less margins than they lost to VCU.

At the end of the day, the trip is just a bonding exercise and very little can be taken from the competition there. A ton of guys who won't play many minutes can look like stars against the kind of competition out there.

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/sport...ks-on-several-things-during-trip--ar-2152739/

http://www.cbssports.com/collegebas...in-shaka-smarts-vcu-rams-wreak-havoc-on-italy

GW also visited the Colliseum, the David, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Lake Como. Wonder if any of the opponents are similar? Two of the teams GW played were military base teams after a clinic for the children of American Servicemen and Women serving overseas.

I have to see - GW's young backcourt of McDonald and Savage might really struggle against the Havoc team, but they are very physical so I would imagine in a year or two they could become a very tough matchup for VCU. Looking forward to many good battles as GW gets back to its former perch among the A-10's elite.
 

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These trips are all about extra practice, comraderie and team building. The wins or losses are inconsequential.

But they sure are fun to boast about.
 

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No doubt, going on the Purdue message boards after their loss to Atletas and reading the parts of thread where someone says 'VCU beat these guys by 38' and the ensuing responses was awesome. LOL
 

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Free Quebec, these Euro trips are really hard to make judgments on players and how they will translate playing against D1 and A10 competition. We are doing the same thing over on the Spiders message board, though I think most realize you cannot take much from these games. I watched some of the GW clips and the competition looked in the same god awful realm as the Spiders' comp on these trips. Four years ago Conor Smith was a star player for Richmond on a Spain trip - unfortunately I think he only played in about 10 games his senior year. I do think Lonegran is bringing in some nice talent and he seems like a good coach so the future is bright. I just don't think these exhibitions can prove too much.
 

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Sounds like Rick Steves makes up these schedules. Hope they had their cameras with them. Nice to get a Euro vacation in while matriculating.
 

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The combination of the freshmen playing together in the DC summer league against tough competition, the pre-trip practices and the team-building in Italy is just what the doctor ordered for this team with six newcomers.

On the game results, I don't think you can take much away from the blowout wins, but the 54 points scored in the loss against pressure defense should be a cause for concern. We're likely to see lots of that kind of defense with an out-of-position SG and a freshman as our main options at point.

Trip wrap-up article
 
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