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.
Nov 27, 2014, 9:53 PM EST
Penn State will return to the school’s original colors- black and pink- for their next two games.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:34 PM EST
This is hilarious.
Nov 27, 2014, 6:08 PM EST
Koenig and Dukan combined to score 18 points in the second half for the second-ranked Badgers.
Nov 27, 2014, 5:24 PM EST
Khwan Fore’s averaging 7.5 minutes per game in two appearances this season.
Nov 27, 2014, 3:54 PM EST
This might have been the best feast week game of all time.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:56 PM EST
Perkins was kicked in the face by a Georgia player.
Nov 27, 2014, 11:19 AM EST
It’s not just football that’s on today.
Nov 27, 2014, 3:14 AM EST
A lot is riding on this season for St. John’s. Can they consistently be the ‘grown up’ team they claimed to be on Wednesday night?
Nov 27, 2014, 3:07 AM EST
Two Big East teams made statements in the Bahamas, and No. 3 Arizona won the Maui Invitational.
Nov 27, 2014, 2:07 AM EST
Arizona scored 22 points off of 14 San Diego State turnovers, and that along with good foul shooting proved to be the difference.
Nov 27, 2014, 12:56 AM EST
Georgetown committed 19 turnovers, but they shot 49 percent from the field and earned another quality win for the Big East.
Nov 26, 2014, 10:22 PM EST
Through five games Louisville is shooting 24-for-105 from three. They’ll need to shoot better than that when Ohio State visits next Tuesday.
Nov 26, 2014, 9:11 PM EST
Sir’Dominic Pointer picked off Minnesota center Elliot Eliason’s outlet pass and made the big man pay for his mistake.
Nov 26, 2014, 8:05 PM EST
Justin Reed was one of America East’s best guards in each of his first two seasons, but that hasn’t been the case in 2014-15.
Nov 26, 2014, 6:42 PM EST
After launching 22 three-pointers in the first half, Oklahoma took a wiser approach to the offensive end of the floor as they outlasted No. 22 UCLA.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:29 PM EST
It’s hard to put too much stake in one loss, but there are a couple of things from this game that we need to keep an eye on.
Nov 26, 2014, 5:24 PM EST
Cameron Biedscheid averaged 6.2 points per game as a freshman at Notre Dame in 2012-13.
Nov 26, 2014, 4:37 PM EST
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Nov 26, 2014, 3:51 PM EST
The importance of this win for Butler cannot be overstated.
Nov 26, 2014, 3:19 PM EST
JayVaughn Pinkston is the leader and go-to guy for Villanova. And he is not their star because … why?
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