GW Hoops

You are not logged in. Would you like to login or register?

11/08/2022 2:57 pm  #1

GW vs Howard Game Thread

GW,1-0, seeks the first win streak of The CC Era, vs Howard.

GW and Howard have a similar KenPom so this should be a good one

Does GW make it 2-0?


11/10/2022 1:20 pm  #2

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Howard Bison

Date/Time: Friday November 11th @ 6:00 PM ET at The Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, DC.
Preseason Ranks: 239th (KenPom), 284th (Bart Torvik), 212th (Sports Illustrated)
2021-22 Record: 16-13, 9-5 (2nd in MEAC)
2022-23 Projected Record: 14-15, 7-7 (T-4th in MEAC)

Head-to-Head: 10-1. The Buff and Blue have won the last eight meetings, and have defeated the Bison by an average of 19.3 points in these 11 matchups. It's interesting (although probably not surprising) that we've played Howard only once at their place. It's tough to find a reason to do so when the games actually count, but I wouldn't be opposed to seeing us play at their place as a future exhibition match. That would also give us some early practice of playing on the road.

Our last matchup against them was in 2019 BC (before COVID). GW won that game 76-62 behind 22 points and 18 rebounds from Arnaldo Toro (remember when we got that kind of production from a big?). Toro's 18 rebounds was the most by any GW player in over 13 years at the time. He would break his own record three days later against another local rival in American, where he came down with 24 rebounds (let's not talk about how that game ended - I'll probably be mentioning it anyways in a couple weeks). It's a shame AT got hurt after that - he was never really himself after he came back from injury outside of a brief moment in that 4OT classic against Davidson. I believe he's playing professionally in Puerto Rico after a forgettable year at St. John's. Anyways, Jamison (14 points), Mezie (11 points), and Juice Williams (11 points off the bench) also finished in double figures. Battle had foot surgery in the offseason but is expected back soon for Minnesota. Mezie is starting for a James Madison team that definitely seems improved from last year. He is averaging 8.5 ppg. Juice I believe was our last scholarship player to begin and finish his career at GW which is crazy to me.

We didn't shoot well from deep against Howard (just 28%) but more importantly we finished with 17 assists to 9 turnovers. JNJ (who is a preseason CAA first team player at Delaware this year) had 11 assists. With the way CC wants us to play, I think this should be the assist to turnover ratio that we aim for in tomorrow's game.

Preseason Offensive Efficiency: 236th (both KenPom and Bart Torvik)
Preseason Defensive Efficiency: 222nd (KenPom), 307th (Bart Torvik)
Pace: 36th (KenPom), 21st (Bart Torvik) - maybe I'm basing this after watching WBB get gassed in the fourth quarter against Virginia, but we may want to run "selectively" against Howard given our lack of depth and guys starting to round into shape playing games against actual competition. Pace may be a big "factor" that may get overlooked in this contest.
Offensive Shot Quality Rank: 169th
Defensive Shot Quality Rank: 272nd
Rim & 3 Rate: 83% (279th)

Turnovers Forced (6th)
Turnover Margin (27th)
Steals Per Game (34th)
Scoring Offense (47th)
Scoring Margin (69th)
Total Steals (77th)
3-PT Field Goals Per Game (78th)
Free Throw Percentage (78th)
Free Throws Made (T-88th)
Assists Per Game (90th)

Defensive Rebounds Per Game (270th)
Personal Fouls Per Game (T-282nd)
Rebound Margin (291st)
Total Rebounds (T-291st)
Turnovers Per Game (318th)

Key Returning Players:
Steve Settle III (RS Junior; Glenarden, MD) 13.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.6 apg, 1.4 spg; 49% FG, 35% 3-PT, 77% FT
Elijah Hawkins (Sophomore; Washington, DC) 13 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.3 spg; 38% FG, 30% 3-PT, 79% FT

Key Losses:
Kyle Foster (Graduated; Hampton, VA) 15.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.1 spg; 45% FG, 46% 3-PT, 79% FT
Randall Brumant (Graduated; Houston, TX) 9.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.3 bpg; 63% FG, 67% 3-PT, 73% FT
Tai Bibbs (Graduated; Chicago, IL) 8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.7 apg; 39% FG, 31% 3-PT, 78% FT

It feels like the only time that Howard has made the news on the CBB front in recent years was when they signed a 5-star two seasons ago in Makur Maker, the cousin of former NBA player Thon Maker who chose the Bison over some big time schools in UCLA, Kentucky, and Memphis. That placed more eyes on Howard, but unfortunately it was short-lived as Maker got injured after playing just two games with Howard. He did average 11.5 ppg in those two games, but given how rare it is for heralded prospects to play in the MEAC, it's a shame we weren't able to see Maker develop during that year and potentially watch Howard in the NCAA tournament, something that hasn't been seen since 1992. Makur is now with Capital City Go-Go, Washington's G-League squad.

Although not nearly as notable as the Maker signing, the season that Kenny Blakeney had last year certainly deserved a bit more attention than it got. Howard had their second highest finish ever in the KenPom era (234th), and it was just the fourth time in the past 20 years they ranked inside the top 300. Howard notched wins over perennial MVC contender Bradley, defeated crosstown foe American by 34(!), and minus an understandable blowout to Villanova, played fairly competitively against every team they faced OOC. That was nice to see after Blakeney had a rough first year taking over for Kevin Nickelberry, where Howard finished just 4-29 and followed it up by playing just 5 games in 2020-21 before shutting everything down due to COVID. The Nickelberry firing came as a surprise as he had just taken Howard to the CBI with a .500 record. By all accounts, that was a highly successful season for Howard. I'm not saying Nickelberry's tenure was a resounding success or anything, but he did have 2 .500 seasons in 10 years there. That might not sound like a lot, but it was somehow more than they had the previous decade. The firing was probably still justified, but I personally wouldn't have done it after one of Howard's best ever seasons.

So what led to Howard's 80 spot improvement from 2021 to 2022? Having actual practice time on the court certainly led to better team chemistry. While Howard was significantly better on both sides of the ball, the biggest improvement was on defense, where the Bison had previously been a fixture at the very bottom of D1. Blakeney finally had the personnel to ramp up the pressure defensively, a style that many teams in the MEAC and SWAC like to employ to offset deficiencies in size at certain positions. Howard ranked in the top 40 in both turnovers forced and steals per game, which also enabled them to get out in transition and get their points on the fast break, where they put up the 47th most points in D1.

The key cog that led that effort on both sides of the ball was Elijah Hawkins, the MEAC rookie of the year (joining former Bison player Wayne Bristol Jr. who is now at Georgetown as a Howard player that won that award in recent years) who also took home all-second team honors as well. Hawkins returns for his sophomore season having already made his mark nationally - he ranked in the top 20 nationally in both assists per game (16th) and steals per game (15th). The fact that his name is Hawkins is very apt - he is quite literally a ballhawk, having had a game where he swiped the ball 7 times against NC Central. There is certainly room for improvement with Hawkins - he averaged 4 turnovers a game (top 5 nationally in turnovers) and shot under 40% from the field - but Blakeney has to be thrilled to be having this guy in his backcourt for potentially the next few years. Hawkins also rebounds well for his size, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he finished with a triple-double at some point. It's worth noting that Hawkins did not play against UDC on Wednesday. Howard needs him in order to stay competitive this season.

Howard certainly has one of the best guard-big tandems in the league with Steve Settle III returning. Settle, another DeMatha product, is a versatile three level scorer. He can hit the three ball, having knocked down 30 last year at a 35% (a 10% improvement from his freshman year), but his best attribute is that he doesn't settle (pun intended) for jumpers, which certainly played a role in Howard's respectable 169th ranked offensive shot quality rank.

Speaking of threes, Howard will certainly miss Kyle Foster, a first team MEAC selection who was absolutely lethal from distance. Foster was single-handedly responsible for Howard ranking in the top 100 in 3-pointers made last year, as he shot a ridiculous 46% from distance on a high volume of attempts. In fact, he was #1 in the country in three point field goal percentage, 5th in threes made per game, and 12th in threes made overall. It's next to impossible to find a single guy that can replace that, especially at the MEAC level. Taking Foster out of the equation, the rest of Howard's team shot just 30.8% from distance. With Foster, that number was 35.9%. I'm not sure I've ever seen one guy make such a huge difference to a team's efficiency stats. That's not to say the former Columbia duo of Randall Brumant (very efficient post scorer who made third team last year) and Tai Bibbs aren't big losses either, but Foster in particular is a void that Howard needs to replace this year.

The Bison do bring back some other returning pieces in senior Khalil Robinson, juniors Jordan Wood and Thomas Weaver, sophomore Bryce Harris, and freshman Miles Stewart. Robinson was a 3-star prospect out of high school. He showed potential as a solid role player earlier in his career but took a step back in production with the emergence of Hawkins and other transfers coming in. Robinson averaged nearly 7 points and 4 assists a game his first two years before taking a backseat to Hawkins. He has yet to play this season, which I'm assuming is injury-related. Wood averaged just under 10 a game in the shortened COVID season two seasons ago but is very much a "high volume" scorer. With more playing time available, the San Antonio native has a good chance to put up numbers but will need to work on his efficiency. Weaver (Riverdale Baptist) is one of several walk-ons that will likely see the court tomorrow as Blakeney tends to go deep into the bench in order to play faster/keep guys fresh. He likely won't be a focal part on offense. Harris might have the best chance of the bunch to break out this season. He finished the season averaging over 7 a game in the final three games of last season. He'll look to improve his shooting from distance as he prefers to get to the hoop/free throw line at this point in his career (although that too needs an improvement as he shot below 60% from the charity stripe - one of the worst marks on a team that otherwise shot fairly well from the FT line). Stewart redshirted last year and is another walk-on who will likely see minutes. He is a solid rebounder/defensive piece with a developing offensive game.

After getting good production from the Columbia transfer duo of Bibbs and Brumant last season, Blakeney decided to pick up some more Ivy league guys to help a young team out this year. Kobe Dickson (Cornell) was a solid role player for the Big Red. While he's at his best operating near the rim and scoring when asked, he developed into a decent passer from the post (2.7 apg), something which he can bring to Howard to allow Blakeney to run plays through him. Jelani Williams (Penn) is a Sidwell guy who returns home after just having the worst luck with injuries. He missed three straight seasons due to injury and when he was finally able to come back Penn and the rest of the Ivy League canceled their season. I'm really rooting for him to have a great year, as he was a touted prospect out of HS (who I believe also had a GW offer) but has just never really had the chance to showcase his skillset. He averaged 6 ppg for the Quakers last year, which maybe you could consider to be his freshman year. A breakout isn't out of the realm of possibilities if he can stay healthy.

Three other transfers could make an impact for Howard this year. Marcus Dockery (Maryland) comes in looking for more playing time. When he gets the chance, Dockery is a strong shooter with playmaking capabilities. I'm a bit surprised he hasn't been impactful through two games so far. He scored just 2 points in 21 minutes against UDC after not playing the opener against Kentucky. Reese Brown (UNLV) and walk-on Talin Lewis (USC, or U$C as GWAA puts it) transfer from schools in the west but neither figures to be a featured player in the offense.

Finally, there are a three freshman that enter the fold for Howard. Shyheim "Shy" Odom returned to the East Coast after playing HS ball at Sierra Canyon. Odom was anything but shy in his first collegiate game, attempting 9 shots against Kentucky. He is a solid rebounder with great potential as a scorer from the wing - I wouldn't be surprised if the 3-star prospect truly breaks out next year if not during MEAC play. He had offers from Georgetown, USC, and Penn State. Ose Okojie is a Canadian who fills the role of "glue guy" when on the court. Finally, Freedom Rhames, yet another walk-on, will come into the game and be given the freedom to let it fly from three.

This feels like another game where there will be stretches where we struggle to stay fully engaged/go into an offensive lull but eventually win the game by about 12-15 points. Given this is the first game against D1 competition in the Caputo era, there will likely be some frustrations here and there. Howard's guards aren't bad, but this feels like a game where Adams and Bishop put up points and more importantly take care of the ball, preventing Howard from generating turnovers and getting out in transition. Hopefully we can get Max and EJ going early as well.

Projected Score: GW 82, Howard 70. 85% chance to win (Bart Torvik). ESPN gives us a 70% chance to move to 2-0 on the year. I figure we will open as around 8 point home favorites. Howard had great success covering the spread OOC last year, but with that line I'm hoping we do cover, even if it's only barely. Howard was losing to D2 UDC at halftime yesterday.


11/10/2022 3:06 pm  #3

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

At 16-13, Howard was the only D1 DC Metro area men's program to have an overall winning record last year.  Not Maryland, Georgetown, AU, Mason, or us.  (Excluding Navy which is not considered DC area.)  Kenny Blakeney, the former Dookie, is upgrading this program.  Not at all a gimmee on Friday night.


11/11/2022 8:36 am  #4

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Morning line at GW -4.5.  With the add for the home court that is pretty close to a toss up as far as the Sportsbooks are concerned


11/11/2022 9:26 am  #5

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Hoping to see Max become more actively involved earlier in the game.  Hint:  this would involve passing the ball to him, at least every so often.

Hoping to see Ricky calm down and play his game without pressing.

Hoping to see Qwanzi play better and give the team energy off the bench.

Hoping to see Brendan continue to get and take good looks from 3, and take better care of the ball.

Hoping to see James continue to play within himself, make sound decisions, and effectively contribute on both ends.

Hoping to see if EJ can drive and dish, or drive and score, in addition to being a very capable outside shooter.

Hoping to see Amir contribute on offense, and Keegan contribute on defense.

Hoping to see if Hunter Dean Noel Brown can continue to shoot 100% from the floor.

Hoping to see more of Daniel to help determine how he fits within the rotation.


11/11/2022 10:28 am  #6

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

PKGW wrote:

Morning line at GW -4.5. With the add for the home court that is pretty close to a toss up as far as the Sportsbooks are concerned

Makes sense.  Howard's Kenpom is only 8 spots lower than ours.  


11/11/2022 12:01 pm  #7

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

We are going to need Ricky to play a big role on the defensive side today. I'd say the matchup to watch is Ricky on Steve Settle. 


11/11/2022 2:07 pm  #8

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Gotta take better care of the ball today if we want to win.  This team will defense our guards better than VSU, so we have to play solidly and find ways to get some easy buckets at the rim.

In the VSU game, the ball stagnated at the start of the second half (old habits die hard) and we had one of our 9 points in 9 minute stretches.  Need to keep that ball moving today to unsettle the defense and find open shots, and as I said, do it without turning it over.


11/11/2022 2:24 pm  #9

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

I didn't know that Makur Maker was playing for the Wizards G-League team. It would have been interesting if Makur Maker returned to Howard for at least one more season and played with last season's Howard team which had a lot more talent. When you see Howard's strong guard play and shooters, a player like Makur could have thrived and improved his NBA opportunities. 

An interesting note about Howard is, freshman Freedom Rhames is the son of actor Ving Rhames! V.Rhames was at Rupp Arena watching his son play Kentucky a few days ago. The announcers mentioned V.Rhames had just flown in from London where he wrapped up shooting a movie.  


11/11/2022 5:05 pm  #10

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

GW starting 5:
Brendan Adams
James Bishop
Max Edwards
Ricky Lindo
Noel Brown

Hunter Dean is still on a minutes restriction as he works his way back to 100%.


11/11/2022 6:10 pm  #11

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Audio on ESPN awful


11/11/2022 6:10 pm  #12

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

10 of 12 points in game scored on dunks


11/11/2022 6:12 pm  #13

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Adams can’t  handle pressure 


11/11/2022 6:13 pm  #14

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread



11/11/2022 6:21 pm  #15

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Another great turnout from the student section.  Bravo

GW up early 16-8

     Thread Starter

11/11/2022 6:34 pm  #16

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

13-2 run.  Not rotating quick enough on defense


11/11/2022 6:35 pm  #17

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

6 turnovers killing us for sure


11/11/2022 6:36 pm  #18

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Only positive thing I can think of right now is that the players are lucky our coach isn't Frank Martin. 


11/11/2022 6:44 pm  #19

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Bishop struggling - if he is hitting his normal short range jumper, we would have more breathing room


11/11/2022 6:47 pm  #20

Re: GW vs Howard Game Thread

Think both sets of coaches are talking about interior defense at halftime? Looking like a Kenner League game at times...


Board footera


Powered by Boardhost. Create a Free Forum