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8/29/2023 2:43 pm  #1

Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

There is no shortage to choose from.  I'll attempt to rank my top 6:

6) Zamoku Weluche-Ume:  I might have had Zam higher on this list if I thought he was going to be receiving lots of minutes as a first-year college player.  Nevertheless, Zam's size and professional experience as a teenager certainly qualify as intriguing.

5) Benny Scrroeder.  Reports are that Benny was sensational playing European youth ball.  Then, injuries derailed him a bit while at Oklahoma.  Then this summer, he played in the European U20 tournament and it appeared as if he, let's just say, enjoyed shooting the ball.  Will he be a big time scorer at GW?  Can he be along with James and Max (and perhaps others)?  Is he interested and willing to play defense?  Lots of intriguing questions.

4) Darren Buchanan, Jr.  This is the only player who I watched at Kenner who made my list which is another way of saying that I've seen him play multiple times and remain VERY intrigued.  (Put another way, I have also seen Christian and Trey play multiple times and while I have high hopes for each, am less intrigued as a result.)  In the case of Darren, we have a player who can do some very unique things for a player his size.  When he's rolling downhill taking the ball to the hole, it's tough to fathom attempting to take the charge on him.  He has a nice touch.  Will he be able to use his size to his advantage at this level?  Will he be an easy target for foul calls?

3) Jacoi Hutchinson.  I've seen him play on tv in games where the overall talent level may arguably have been higher than what he'll be seeing this season.  He is a pass-first point guard who should be able to complement JB quite nicely.  Can he be counted on to make open outside shots?  Can he be a disruptor defensively?  As  aside note, I love it when we land players who played at national high school programs, as Jacoi did at IMG Academy.  Pato and Kevin were two great examples of supportive role players in high school who flourished at GW. 

2) Garrett Johnson.  At first glance, there would have been no way that Garrett would have made this list.  Then, you learn more about his journey, how he hasn't played competitively in over 2 years.  And you review the offers he received prior to committing to Princeton and they were not bad at all.  Then, Jon Rothstein attends a practice about a month ago and predicts Garrett to be a starter.  It's a great story all the way around but given this progression, an incredibly intriguing one as well.

1) Babatunde Akingbola.  Will Stretch turn out to be a true rim protector for this team?  Will he consistently stay out of foul trouble and play 28+ minutes per game?  Or, will he be less skilled than perceived (I am perceiving a lot), and/or will he be in ongoing foul trouble?  A difference maker at the center position can make all of the difference in the world for this team.  Bonus Intrigue:  Will he be eligible to play a second season at GW?



8/29/2023 3:00 pm  #2

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

To be completely transparent, I am intrigued by all of them. Having had the opportunity to observe and meet most of them this Summer (not at Kenner lol - you know how I feel about that), they all bring something to the table. As Bart Scott once famously said "can't wait!" However, the "can't wait" is really to see who steps up because we know it will be very hard for all of them to do so. However, a fly on the wall said someone you didn't mention is going to be pretty good eventually - Trey Autry.


8/29/2023 3:52 pm  #3

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

Again, I am referring to my own personal intrigue, not who I feel the best players will be.  And by intrigue, I am referring to the unknown... what should we expect from this player, how much or how little will he produce, etc.   What I really liked about Trey's game (besides being a big guard which is almost always a good thing) were two things.  First, he displays a level of fearlessness which comes from knowing you're a good player.  Confident but not cocky as they say.  Second, and I may have referenced this last month, but after several consecutive misses from outside, Trey then started taking the ball to the hoop.  Scored some easy baskets.  Watched the ball fall through the hoop.  The psychology behind that can not be overstated.  Once you've done it a few times, guess what usually happens?  The outside shots start to fall as well, which was exactly what happened with Trey.
So because I have already developed a sense for what Trey and Christian will bring to the table, I am less intrigued by those guys.  However, I am no less excited.

     Thread Starter

8/29/2023 4:34 pm  #4

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

1. Benny Schroeder
2. Jacoi Hutchinson
3. Garrett Johnson
4. Babatunde Akingbola
5. Darren Buchanan


8/29/2023 5:21 pm  #5

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

Jacoi and Garrett would be my most "intriguing" players.

Very intrigued to see if Jacoi's skills at a major high school level translate to running a Div 1 team as a freshman.  Considering the small number of star freshman PGs in my tenure as a GW fan, I lean towards caution.

Garrett is intriguing because of the unknown factor of the year off and the Rothstein post naming him as an early favorite for a starting spot.  Big solid kid with a great outside shot would be a huge asset if he an hold his own on D.

(Trey early comp for me is Carl Elliott who showed the same stat-stuffing skills as I expect from him)


8/30/2023 9:46 am  #6

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

BM wrote:

Garrett is intriguing because of the unknown factor of the year off and the Rothstein post naming him as an early favorite for a starting spot.  Big solid kid with a great outside shot would be a huge asset if he an hold his own on D.

My hope is that Garrett or Darren Buchanan, Jr. will prove to create points in the paint without having to get all the way to the rim. These guys may balance off with our threat from the arc.From what I have seen, both men are able to bring teammates into the attack. As we have see what Ricky offered, both guys could make the other team pay if they don't follow them out to the 3.

Last edited by russianthistle (8/30/2023 9:47 am)


8/30/2023 9:53 am  #7

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

I feel like I'm going to end up choosing all the guys between 6'7" and 6'10" for this question haha.

1) Benny Schroeder - may end up being among the most productive of the newcomers, but I'm just really intrigued by his potential ability to play a number of positions on the court. He probably won't need to play the 1 (or bring the ball up) but theoretically he can play 1-4 and possibly small-ball 5 on the court. I can't remember the last player who was that versatile with his height at GW. Given the number of newcomers and the potential versatility, you could throw out a number of lineup combinations and pick which ones are the most intriguing (maybe a follow up to this thread at some point). If I had to guess, Benny would find his way into a lot lineups because of his versatility.

2) Garrett Johnson - feels like the potential x-factor of the team. It's good to see him make his way back to the court but there is question about rust since he hasn't played in a minute. I originally saw him as a "nice to have" depth piece going into this year (with bigger contributions down the road) but his ability to be more of a factor in year 1 would be a huge boost for the team. If his defense translates by conference play, watch out.

3) Babatunde Akingbola - for pretty much the same reasons as others have alluded to above. When he got more minutes his sophomore year, he did produce. He seems willing to shoot threes (as his nickname suggests) but for us he just needs to do the little things down low as a guy who contests shots defensively, rebounds, and finishes lobs near the hoop. This feels like an answer by default because we don't really have anyone else to play at the 5 (despite Keegan's Kenner performances, I'm not still buying him to be a true backup to Stretch). Still, Akingbola is a guy who posted 5 blocks in one game against Missouri where he didn't even play that much. Even if he only plays half the game due to foul trouble, that kind of rim protection has been absent for years.

4) Christian Jones - I've watched him play and know he's got the skills to contribute, but I'm more intrigued about his role this season. Perhaps I'm incorrect in my perception of the freshman backcourt, but somehow it's seemed that Jacoi (passing) and Trey (shooting) have more firm roles/designations and Christian is the third guy in the equation as a guy who does a bit of both but maybe doesn't have a specialty. It would make sense to naturally pair him with Max in lineups, but as I mentioned earlier in the offseason CC isn't going 10 deep by conference play, so someone is going to be left out even if they have what it takes to see the floor.

5) Antoine Smith/Zamoku Weluche-Ume (tie) - putting them in the same category because the only times I've watched them they've played on absolutely atrocious teams which may be underselling their ability to contribute and I'm intrigued watching them play on a team that looks competent. Antoine played at UIW and Evansville at the D1 level. I think it's safe to say regardless of how GW performs this year, this will probably be the best team he's played on at the highest level of college. He may be flying under the radar as a guy who may be a lower-ceiling version of Garrett but has the experience to bury big shots when we need it.

Zam's FIBA team this summer was similarly not very good and in pretty much any of his games that I've watched him play big minutes he's been far and away one of the most impactful guys on the team. I don't expect him to play a ton this year, but I'm in general a fan of his game and interested to watch him in the games he does appear in during OOC play. His potential ceiling is tremendous. While Weluche-Ume's game does not jump out quite like Tafara's did when he first committed here, I feel similarly about what their games can be down the road.

It was tough leaving Darren Buchanan off the list, because there are some intriguing aspects to his game. At first glance, you would think he's most comfortable operating out of the post but he handles the ball quite well for someone his size and I can see how CC would compare him to a Draymond Green. Maybe it's because they both came from the same HS in DC, but I'm just seeing a replacement for Ricky on the floor (which is probably unfair to both players). Buchanan isn't afraid to shoot threes but the consistency isn't there yet which also reminds me of Lindo. I also see Jacoi similar to Brayon Freeman as a guy who is probably not as good of a scorer but a better passer. They both were the starting PG on good prep teams and I think that Jacoi will similarly be able to quarterback the team come conference play given his experiences. I'm looking forward to watching Hutchinson and Autry play, but not intrigued to the same degree as the versatile forwards, partly because of the question marks in the frontcourt this year - I'm less worried about the backcourt.


8/30/2023 10:43 am  #8

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

This topic is very intriguing and I’m going to go small and choose Amir Arrington.  I haven’t seen anyone play besides JB4, Max, and Keegan, so everyone else is intriguing. 

The reason I chose Arrington is based on my intrigue with Coach Caputo.  I was fascinated by his implementation of EJ Clark last year - a quick, pressing, crafty shooting guard who was sadly forgotten after his injury. He impacted games with few but meaningful minutes.

According to what I could dig up from his senior year in high school, he averaged 7 rebounds and 2 steals per game. If those are accurate - wow.

I wouldn’t be fixated on the bigs for rebounding.  Don’t get me wrong - we do need rim protectors and physical presence in the middle. But Trey and Jacoi have size that could mix it up inside.

I’m looking for speed and playmaking a la Alex Mitola, or rebounding a la Joe McDonald.


8/30/2023 10:48 am  #9

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

A few comments on dmv's post:

* The big hole in Schroeder's game is outside shooting.  21.7% from 3 at the U20.  He could be versatile at some point but was more of a one-trick pony with drives to the basket (very good at that trick) in his games.  Reminds me of Pato who was also a poor 3pt shooter when he was a freshman, but his defense was a couple of notches better.

* I think Jones' advantage over the other two guards is his defense.  The kind of long, annoying guard that VCU seems to have every year.


8/30/2023 2:04 pm  #10

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

BM wrote:

A few comments on dmv's post:

* The big hole in Schroeder's game is outside shooting.  21.7% from 3 at the U20.  He could be versatile at some point but was more of a one-trick pony with drives to the basket (very good at that trick) in his games.  Reminds me of Pato who was also a poor 3pt shooter when he was a freshman, but his defense was a couple of notches better.

I agree with your assessment offensively. A lineup of Schroeder-Buchanan-Akingbola could potentially be a poor lineup in terms of floor spacing and maybe not one seen very often. Benny would need to have good spacing around him to succeed.

I was definitely not clear enough when I used the word "versatile" earlier. I meant more along the lines of Benny's potential impact defensively rather than his inside-out game. During U20 he didn't really stand out defensively either from a pure steals/blocks perspective, but the potential for him to play multiple positions/switch on that end is exciting. I don't think there was a single player on last year's team who could play/defend more than two positions on the court so it's certainly refreshing.

It's unclear where the three point shooting/offense is going to come from on the team in terms of production but I'm overall not worried about that end based on what CC was able to do in year 1. The defense is pretty much guaranteed to improve next year given the pieces, but I'm watching to see what strides can be made there/how we improve. That end has pretty much been the weak point for teams at GW for a long time. The last time we allowed less than 100 points per 100 possessions was 2015 via KenPom. A top 200 finish on that end would be a major step forward.


8/30/2023 3:11 pm  #11

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

We should not lose sight of the fact that last season, our three-player bench (after EJ and Keegan were lost) consisted of two players who I'm guessing CC would rather have not played if he had that luxury, plus Amir who was playing his heart out after having undergone multiple injuries.  Starters could not afford to get into foul trouble which I'm convinced had much to do with why the defense was so soft.

CC did coach the defense at Miami.  After last season, I would have to believe he will be emphasizing defense.  Aside from arguably Stretch and JB, it does not appear as if we would be at a tremendous deficit should any of our other players get into foul trouble.  That in and of itself is a recipe for far greater defensive intensity.

     Thread Starter

8/30/2023 6:27 pm  #12

Re: Which Newcomer Are You Most Intrigued By?

Very excited for this season. Can’t wait for the team photo lol.  The intrigue for me isn’t for any one newcomer but the blend of freshmen, grads, and transfers all coming from different programs and cultures. 

Last year was encouraging in that JB blossomed offensively but his defense was noticeably improved. Both he and BA stopped sliding under that top of the key pick and instead fought over the top and stopped getting burned every time.  They put in the work. The whole team put in the work. Cudos to the coaching staff.

Now with all the roster anxiety behind us, there is an intriguing bunch headed to the gym for the next 8 weeks with a head coach who has a plan. Can’t wait to see what he rolls out in November, as well as who emerges as a knockdown shooter or freaky athletic defender. It’s always a surprise and unpredictable.  GO REVS!!


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