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Collin Smith: The Best Freshman Nobody’s Talking About

In just four games in a George Washington uniform, Collin Smith has made a name for himself in Foggy Bottom. Combing for 38 points in said games (including preseason), along with 27 rebounds, he has quickly become a fan favorite. Despite the Colonials underwhelming showing in their exhibition game against Bowie State, Interim Head Coach Maurice Joseph had plenty of praise for Collin.

“That was a good first showing for (Collin),” said Joseph. “He’s long and athletic and has a rim protector aspect that we haven’t had since Isaiah Armwood.”

However, Smith posses a perimeter shooting game that “Zeeke” was never able to perfect in his two seasons at George Washington. He also carries a confidence that, for a freshman, is uncommon at GW. Not even Patricio Garino or Joe McDonald looked this confident in their first few games, let alone their first season.

Collin has been able to jump in right away and fill the void left by Patricio Garino’s graduation. He has already worked his way into the starting lineup, and with a potential for Tyler Cavanaugh, Yuta Watanabe and Collin Smith to all be on the floor at the same time, GW could very quickly become one of the largest teams in the A-10. All three have a very solid post-presence, as well as a strong outside shooting game, which could cause trouble for other teams down the road. One could easily describe Collin as a dangerous combination of Tyler Cavanaugh and Yuta Watanabe. He has the shooting of Cavanaugh, and the speed and agility of Watanabe.

But if Smith really is this good, why is nobody talking about him? Good question. Part of it is that GW, as a team, isn’t a team that getting talked about that much. In A10Talk’s most recent Weekly Power Rankings, the Colonials were voted 9th-dropping from 8th in our preseason poll. True, George Washington hasn’t looked terribly impressive out of the gates, with narrow wins over Bowie State (preseason), UMES, Siena and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. But traditionally, GW very rarely looks good from day one. Last season, the Colonials narrowly pulled out an 85-76 win over Lafayette in the season opener. The next game, GW upset #6 Virginia 73-68.

Before the game against Pine Bluff, assistant coach Hajj Turner described Collin as “happy-go-lucky,” and why not. He has so far been not only the biggest surprise on the Colonials’ roster, he’s been one of the biggest surprised in the entire A-10. Smith has quickly become a key component in a very young and dangerous George Washington squad. They’ll get the chance to prove themselves in the next two games, in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, where GW will face Georgia and either #7 Kansas (who just defeated #1 Duke) or UAB. If GW is for real this season, we’ll find out very soon.

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Daniel Frank is a member of the George Mason Class of 2022. He graduated high school from the Academy For Individual Excellence in Louisville, KY. He ...