During the summer of 2007, a few of our players suffered injuries that impacted our season before it started. Travis King hurt his knee playing in a summer league game at home in Connecticut. He was expected to miss the first six weeks of the season. I thought this would set us back a little but believed Maureece Rice could make the transition to running the team while Travis was sidelined. Travis's injury was more severe than anticipated and he missed the entire season. Jabari Edwards, one of our talented freshmen who hurt his knee in the Kenner League, had arthroscopic surgery and was scheduled to be sidelined for the first 6-to-8 weeks of the season. However, Jabari ended up missing the entire season due to the knee injury. As a coach, you don't realize the impact that preseason injuries have on your rotations until you start practicing and are limited by the things you can do.Our non-conference schedule was the toughest since I have been coaching at GW. We played UCLA, Auburn, Virginia Tech and Alabama (all on the road except for Auburn which was in the BB&T Classic at Washington's Verizon Center). We wanted to play a tough non-conference schedule to get battle-tested and, hopefully, help us down the stretch in a tough and much improved Atlantic 10 Conference. In 2008, Xavier, Saint Joseph's and Temple all made the NCAA Tournament and UMass advanced to the championship game of the NIT. We started the season 2-0 with wins against Mount Saint Mary's (an NCAA Tournament team) and Boston University. Although we won those games, it was evident we missed Travis King, our point guard, because we struggled to run our offense effectively. This would be a theme that plagued us all year long. Next, we traveled to the west coast to play UCLA at legendary Pauley Pavilion. What a historic venue with all of those NCAA Championship banners hanging from the rafters. I thought this would be a statement game for our program to see how GW would do against a great program and Final Four-caliber team. We started the game extremely tentatively and trailed early by double digits. I called a timeout to settle down our team and remind them to run our offense, be patient and take good shots. We battled back to within two points before UCLA went on a run and we ended up losing, 83-60. I was not upset we lost to the No. 1-ranked team in the country; I was disappointed we didn't execute our game plan to take advantage of our speed and quickness to negate their size and strength. We returned home to play Auburn in the annual BB&T Classic at Verizon Center. Both teams were plagued with injuries and limited rosters to put on the court. The game went back and forth with both teams making runs. During the last three minutes, mentally and physically we wore down and could not sustain any momentum, and lost 74-70. After Christmas we went to Alabama to play a big and physical University of Alabama team. We lost, 93-57, and we were physically overmatched by a deeply talented and much more experienced team. Based upon our performances during the non-conference schedule, I was quite concerned with our team heading into conference play. As a young and inexperienced squad, we did not gel and develop quickly. Injuries really affected our lineup and rotation. Travis and Jabari were out for the entire season and Damian Hollis played from December on with torn ligaments in his shooting hand. As a result of these key injuries, we had to constantly reinvent ourselves during the season. We struggled with chemistry as people were playing out of position all season. The A-10 Conference had a great non-conference record, among the best in the country, and I thought, going into conference play, every game in the league would be a dogfight. Winning on the road would be at a premium. As a result of our past successes, we had probably the toughest league schedule. We played Xavier twice (which ended the season ranked in the Top 10 in the country), Rhode Island twice (which had a great non-conference record and was nationally ranked early in the season), and Saint Louis twice (which recently hired Rick Majerus, one of the top basketball minds in the country). I thought our team was good enough to take care of business at home and be solid enough to steal a few games on the road. We opened the conference schedule at home against Saint Louis. We set an NCAA modern era record by holding the Billikens to the fewest points scored in a half (7) and a total of 20 points for the game. Saint Louis missed a lot of open shots and I'm not sure they were prepared for us to play a match-up zone for most of the game. The final score was 49-20 and, despite allowing only 20 points, we could generate only 49 points. Our lack of offensive production would plague us all season. Our inexperience on the court and key injuries to individuals played a big part in our season. As with all programs, certain expectations and demands are placed upon student-athletes. When they violated these principals, I had to take the necessary steps to remove them from the team, which impacted our program last season. Our goal for next season is to have our players stay healthy and gain valuable experience in dealing with adversity from last year. We also need our incoming freshmen to contribute and give us the much-needed depth which we lacked last season.