Feb 8, 2013, 2:12 PM EST
Vin Parise is a former assistant college coach and the college basketball insider for NBC Sports. He caught up today with George Washington’s Mike Lonergan. The Colonials host #14 Butler tomorrow.
VP: Coach, your young team has five Atlantic-10 wins so far. What’s the reason things have been going right at GW and how challenging has this rebuilding process been?
ML: Our kids have truly bought in and are really defending and rebounding the ball recently. We’re not the greatest perimeter shooting team in the world, but we’ve made up for it by scrapping and hustling. Early on, I thought we had a chance to be good — we lost to K-State at home by three and even in our other other losses, we weren’t getting blown out and we were showing progress. But we’ve matured ahead of schedule and I’m proud of our guys. Last year’s 10-21 season was the hardest year of my coaching life, but I put it in perspective as year 1. But my staff and I worked our butts off and recruited nearly every night to make sure it never happens again.
VP: You start four freshmen. Coming into the season, was your mindset to ease them into playing time or did you know early they’d be this much of a factor?
ML: To be honest, our freshmen just beat out the guys that were older than them for starting spots. Patricio Garino is our best wing, Kevin Larsen is our best center and Joe McDonald is our best point guard. Joe is also the best rebounding guard I’ve ever coached. I’m really excited about what the future holds for my young guys.
VP: What has Villanova transfer Isaiah Armwood meant to your program?
ML: He’s completely changed the culture of our basketball program. His work ethic is contagious and he just makes guys play harder every single day. And he’s such a tough match-up in our league. He’s not a true face-up 4-man and he’s not a true back to the basket guy either. He’s our leading scorer and rebounder and he’s been a dream to coach.
VP: Word on the street is that your Butler game tomorrow is the talk of the town?
ML: It’s crazy down here this weekend. Since we don’t have football, this is our Homecoming Weekend so it’s a sell-out and our fan base is really excited right now. And I’m sure the fact that we’re playing well helps. It’s the first sell-out we’ve had here in years. Our Board of Trustees will be here for a few events, so it’s a busy weekend all over the place. I hope we come out and play well. It’s not every day that a Top 15 team like Butler comes into your gym.
VP: What are your thoughts on this Butler match-up tomorrow and the rest of the A-10?
ML: It’s a very tough match-up for sure. They have experience, they are well coached and they play so hard on both ends of the floor. How often do you play a team that has five starters in double figures? I don’t want our guys to think too much. It will be a great atmosphere and I know we’ll play hard. If we could have some fun and make some shots who knows? But at the end of the day, I just hope we’re one of the 12 teams that’s playing in Brooklyn for the A-10 tourney. Our conference is great and it often seems anyone can beat anyone on any given night.
*George Washington hosts Butler tomorrow at 2:00 pm at the Smith Center in Washington, DC.
Follow Vin on Twitter @VinParise and check him out in studio for NBC Sports Network and SNY.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:49 PM EST
A recap of the nine craziest finishes from your college hoops weekend.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:16 PM EST
DePaul may have to reschedule their trip to Providence.
Jan 26, 2015, 10:28 AM EST
Frankamp spent a little more than a year at Kansas before transferring.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
The best players and most impressive teams from the last week of college hoops.
Jan 26, 2015, 6:54 AM EST
We have a new member in our Top Ten.
Jan 25, 2015, 10:35 PM EST
Northwestern has lost its last three games by a total of five points.
Jan 25, 2015, 9:36 PM EST
Lucas Siewert joins small forward Brendan Bailey as Arizona State’s second four-star verbal commitment in the 2016 class.
Jan 25, 2015, 7:00 PM EST
Eight days after attempting 25 three-pointers in their loss to No. 5 Duke, the Cardinals attempted just 12 and scored 40 points in the paint against Pittsburgh.
Three-pointer with 5.2 seconds remaining completes second-half rally for No. 20 Northern Iowa (VIDEO)
Jan 25, 2015, 6:24 PM EST
UNI erased a 12-point second half deficit to win at Illinois State, and they remain a game behind No. 14 Wichita State in the Missouri Valley standings.
Jan 25, 2015, 5:38 PM EST
Chris Perry leads the Bulls in rebounding, and chest pains suffered during the team’s workout Saturday resulted in his having to be hospitalized.
Jan 25, 2015, 5:09 PM EST
Also of note on Sunday was Ohio State picking up its first RPI Top 50 win of the season, and both No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 13 Maryland coming back from double-digit deficits.
Jan 25, 2015, 4:13 PM EST
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski picked up career win No. 1,000 as the No. 5 Blue Devils bested St. John’s.
Jan 25, 2015, 2:30 PM EST
Well-traveled former Ole Miss guard Derrick Millinghaus has found a new home.
Jan 25, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
Kentucky is on the board in the 2016 class with a highly-touted big man from New Zealand.
Jan 25, 2015, 1:00 PM EST
A former four-star prospect is heading to Rhode Island.
Jan 25, 2015, 12:00 PM EST
A former Miami point guard is finding tremendous success on the football field and is a even being talked about as a first-rounder in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Jan 25, 2015, 10:10 AM EST
One of the best big men in the 2016 class could decide between three powerhouse programs on Sunday.
Jan 25, 2015, 9:00 AM EST
Coach K goes for win No. 1,000 against St. John’s and a fun battle of elite freshmen guards in the Big Ten are Sunday’s highlights.
Jan 25, 2015, 1:05 AM EST
I feel comfortable saying I’m a better dancer than Josh Pastner. Not by much, though.
Jan 24, 2015, 11:58 PM EST
Get caught up on everything that has happened in college basketball on Saturday.
- Weekly Awards: D’Angelo Russell’s ascension, Kansas takes the next step 0
- College Basketball Talk’s Latest Top 25 0
- Coach K earns career win No. 1,000 in No. 5 Duke’s win over St. John’s 4
- Kentucky lands commitment from international Class of 2016 big man 3
- Saturday’s Snacks: No. 18 West Virginia, Georgetown win absolute thrillers 0
- No. 11 Kansas makes a statement blowing out No. 17 Texas 1
- Bracket Update: Upcoming stretch could have major impact on Duke’s NCAA seeding 2
- No. 6 Wisconsin utterly embarrassed No. 25 Iowa for more than one reason (13)
- The Top Ten Players that Coach K has had at Duke (13)
- You think college basketball is unwatchable this year? Turn on an Indiana game (7)
- College Basketball Talk’s Latest Top 25: So where do we rank Duke? (5)
- You Make The Call: Was this a charge on TaShawn Thomas? (VIDEO) (5)