Watanabe Hard at Work Preparing for Senior Season
The 6-foot-9 guard stayed in Washington to train this summer
After the GW men's basketball team's season ended in March, junior Yuta Watanabe had an important decision to make.
The past two summers, Watanabe returned home to Japan to see family and compete for the Japanese National Team, and he had that opportunity again in the months before his senior season. But Watanabe, who has worked tirelessly since arriving in Foggy Bottom to improve his body, made the sacrifice to give up seeing his family -- and compete for his country -- in order to fully dedicate himself to a summer in the weight room.
Under the tutelage of Director of Strength and Conditioning Matt Johnson and Director of Sports Nutrition Lauren Trocchio, Watanabe has achieved impressive results. Since ending the season at 188 pounds, his 6-foot-9 frame has surpassed the 200-pound mark for the first time, up to 203 in late June. Ahead of testing in early July, he's lifting far heavier than his prescribed weight workloads.
A workhorse for GW on and off the court, Watanabe averaged a team-high 35.1 minutes per game last season -- often while guarding the opposing team's best player -- and figures to see similar time as the Colonials' offensive focal point in 2017-18. As head coach Maurice Joseph says, he needs Watanabe "to be Batman and not Robin."
That's a role he's ready to embrace, having made steady improvement throughout his career in Foggy Bottom. Now in the best physical condition of his basketball career, Watanabe is primed to have his best season yet.
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