Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, continue our countdown with #4 Tyler Cavanaugh
Tyler’s list of accomplishments at George Washington are long and impressive. Everything from NIT Most Outstanding Player in 2016, to All A-10 2nd Team (twice) and many, many more. After starting his career at Wake Forest, Tyler transferred into GW at the right time, and was the missing piece of the puzzle that the Colonials needed to be successful. As a junior, he was the perfect compliment to Kevin Larsen, creating a potent 1-2 punch of bigs that gave many teams fits, and was a key component to GW’s upset over #6 Virginia. In his senior season, Cavanaugh really came into his own and put GW on his back this season, putting up numbers that have drawn the attention of NBA scouts, and earned himself a spot in the Reese’s College All-Star Game at the Final Four in Phoenix-a game in which he was named MVP.
Tyler really began to show his senior leadership during A-10 conference play, and was the go-to guy in big situations. Down two points at Fordham on March 1st, Maurice Joseph drew up a play to get Cavanaugh the ball on the left wing, where he was fouled shooting a three. Tyler drained all three free throws with just 0.9 left on the clock to give the Colonials the 67-66 win over the Rams.
Senior Night was particularly memorable for Cavanaugh, as he dropped 30 points on A-10 regular season champion Dayton. Tyler hit six threes, most memorably a deep triple from the tip of the capital dome (see video clip here) that gave GW a 24-6 lead over the Flyers. GW went on to beat Dayton 87-81, en route to one of the most memorable Senior Night games since the 2006 game against Charlotte.
Tyler was George Washington’s leading scorer this season, averaging 18.3 points per game. Even more impressive: in the 73 games Cavanaugh played in during his two years in Foggy Bottom, only three times did he fail to score in double figures. Only three out of 73! In addition to leading GW in points, he also lead the team in rebounds (8.4), free throws made (173) and attempted (204) and was second on the team in assists (71). In addition, Tyler ranked first in the Atlantic 10 in field goal percentage and three point shooting percentage, second in points and rebounds per game and ninth in free throw percentage.
I don’t think one could possibly say enough about Tyler’s team effort this year. There were rumors before the season that he might transfer out of the program, after the dismissal of Mike Lonergan, but once he decided to stay, he left his mark on the team. Without Tyler, this GW team definitely would not have gotten to 20 wins, and perhaps not even 15. Tyler was indisputably the heart and soul of this team, and will leave an enormous hole to fill for next season.
Previously: #5 Scoochie Smith