March 21, 2013
101 Images from the 2012-13 GW Men's Basketball Campaign
George Washington men's basketball head coach Mike Lonergan asks his student-athletes the same question again and again. "Do you want to be good, or do you want to be great?"
The 2012-13 campaign - the 99th season in program history - was a good one for George Washington men's basketball, and it all started four months before even playing its first game.
In July, the GW men's basketball program got to witness firsthand the greatest basketball team in the world when USA Basketball's Gold Medal winning Men's National Team practiced in the Charles E. Smith Center.
A month later, the Colonials traveled half-way around the world to Italy, where they toured a country, experienced a culture and played together for the first time against international competition and some of the finest from America's military.
Then in October, GW again showed its military appreciation and tipped off its basketball activities with a special Colonials Invasion at its former home of Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Va.
Those three events served as unique bonding experiences for a program searching for a new identity during its second season under Coach Lonergan and his staff - an important step for a team with six new players who had never donned a Buff and Blue jersey with George Washington across the front.
While a 13-17 record won't qualify as great, there's plenty of good that can be extracted from the 3.5-game improvement from 2011-12:
GW faced 15 teams a total of 17 times that would reach postseason play, including playing within a possession of three NCAA Tournament teams
Four of the Colonials' top five scorers were in their first season with the program, including three in their first season of collegiate basketball
GW started four freshmen for more than half the season and was one of only two teams in the nation to start at least four rookies
Isaiah Armwood had one of the best individual season's since Yinka Dare in the mid-1990's, with blocks and rebound totals the highest since Dare, while adding 11.9 points per game
Patricio Garino set a new single-season rookie steals record with 68, eclipsing Carl Elliott's previous mark of 60 set in 2003-04
There were also good singular moments in between Armwood's alley-oop slam four seconds into the season opener and his thunderous put-back dunk to beat Dayton in overtime in the regular-season finale:
The late run keyed by freshmen Joe McDonald, Patricio Garino and Kevin Larsen in a victory over eventual CAA champion James Madison
Armwood's 23-point, nine-rebound, six-block effort in a victory over MAAC finalist Manhattan that garnered Top Performer of the Day attention from ESPN
A deafening and spirited Buff Out crowd that received attention on a national CBS Sports Network broadcast in a three-point loss to Big XII finalist Kansas State
A thrilling sweep through New England with victories at Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the latter on McDonald's game-winning jumper and Larsen's game-saving block
The Charles E. Smith Center's first sell-out since 2006 in a near upset of #14 Butler during Homecoming
A 68-60 victory over Fordham in the program's 500th game played at the Smith Center
Another near upset of a Top 20 team at home in an eight-point loss to #18/19 Saint Louis
Bryan Bynes' comeback and Senior Day game with Dwayne Smith, Lasan Kromah's 1,000th career point to force overtime, and Armwood's ESPN Top 10 play to defeat Dayton, to clinch a berth in the 2013 Atlantic 10 Championship and give Coach Lonergan his 400th career victory
Nemanja Mikic's selection to the CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District First Team and Atlantic 10 All-Academic Team, making GW the most decorated academic program in A-10 history
The full fan section at the Barclays Center that received numerous mentions on national NBC Sports Network and trended on Twitter during 11th-seeded GW's near upset of #6 seed Massachusetts at the A-10 Championship
The Colonials are set to return all five starters and more for next season, with an exciting schedule that already includes games against Kansas State, Georgia, Rutgers, Maryland and the 2013 DirecTV Classic in Anaheim, Calif., consisting of Arizona State, College of Charleston, Creighton, Marquette, Miami (Fla.) and San Diego State.
Yes, 2012-13 was good to GW men's basketball. Its 100th season in 2013-14 could be great. Raise High the Buff and Blue.