Former, current George Washington players and the NBA

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Patricio Garino represents GW’s best NBA prospect in at least 20 years, perhaps more. George Washington has a recent history of sending players overseas, but its list of NBA players is rather short. Lets take a look at the brief history of Colonials who have gone on to become NBA players.

Draft Picks

1953-Larry (Tex) Silverman – Rochester Royals (18th round, ABA)

This name might ring a bell for anyone who has ever been inside the Charles E. Smith Center; The court GW has played on for the last several years is named after him. The team that drafted him, the Rochester Royals, is now known as the Sacramento Kings. Before Silverman could play in his first NBA game, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he served for two years. He never played a professional game.

1955-Corky Devlin – Philadelphia Warriors (3rd round)

Drafted by the Warriors, Devlin was traded to the Fort Wayne Pistons before he ever played a single game. He played 140 games with the Pistons, scoring 1,023 points and averaged a 34% field goal percentage. He was then traded to Minneapolis Lakers where he saw limited playing time. Devlin has played 210 NBA games, while totaling 1,496 career points, 446 career assists and 449 career rebounds.

1959-Joe Holup – Syracuse Nationals (1st Round)

Holup spent four seasons in the NBA, splitting his time between the Syracuse Nationals and Detroit Pistons. He never saw much playing time, averaging 7.0 points per game, but he scored 1,347 career points.

1959-Gene Guarilia – Boston Celtics (2nd Round)

While Guarilia spent four season in the NBA, all with Boston, his playing time was extremely limited, scoring only 413 career points and averaging 8.3 minutes per game for his entire career.

1969-Bob Tallent – San Diego Rockets (6th round, NBA), Denver Nuggets (5th round, ABA)

Despite being drafted by two different leagues, Tallent’s professional career was very short lived. Lasting less than one season in the ABA, Tallent returned to Foggy Bottom to join the Colonials’ coaching staff before eventually becoming the head coach.

1985-Mike Brown – Chicago Bulls (3rd round)

Brown had the most successful professional career of any GW basketball alumni. He spent 11 seasons in the NBA, including five with the Chicago Bulls. Brown scored 3,130 career points, the most of any GW NBA player to date. He also had 2,762 career assists, while playing in 626 games. His NBA career ended in 1997, after playing just 15 games in his final two seasons.

1994-Yinka Dare – New Jersey Nets (1st Round, 14th Overall)

Dare is the highest-drafted Colonial in the history of GW basketball. He was drafted 14th overall to the Nets after leading GW to its only Sweet 16 appearance his final year in Foggy Bottom. Despite his high draft pick status, Dare was never very successful, playing just 110 games and scoring just 233 points in his four seasons in the NBA.

2006-Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock – Dallas Mavericks (2nd Round)

Pinnock was the lone draft pick from GW’s legendary 2006 team, but ironically, he never played in an NBA game. He has played overseas in several countries and even on the Panama National Team in 2010.

Free Agents

2006-Mike Hall

Hall signed with the Washington Wizards and played in just two games, scoring two career points in a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. Hall was put up for waivers by the Wizards and went unclaimed. He then looked to pursue his playing career overseas. He currently plays in Italy.

2006-Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Mensah-Bonsu is the most successful NBA player in recent history, playing in 61 games over 4 seasons for the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Hornets. He totaled 181 points, 180 rebounds, and a few highlight reel dunks (just look on YouTube). He even represented England in the 2012 Olympics and played several years overseas before announcing his retirement in 2015.

Future Prospects

2016-Patricio Garino

Prior to the 2015-16 season, many experts said that Garino is “just a jump shot away” from being a draft prospect. He has certainly worked on that aspect of his game this past summer, and now is 3rd in the Atlantic 10 in three point percentage at 50% in A-10 play. Garino is ranked as the 34th best senior in the NCAA by DraftExpress and could be a late 2nd round draft pick.

2016-Kevin Larsen

Larsen is the least likely of the bunch to ever succeed in the NBA, but there is potential there. He is more likely to join the large group of alumni to play overseas.

2018-Yuta Watanabe

In an interview prior to his freshman season in Foggy Bottom, Watanabe was asked who his NBA idol is. He quickly responded, in a thick Japanese accent, “Kevin Durant”. He certainly has the potential to replicate some of Durant’s abilities such as outside shooting, ball handling, and more. With the departure of Kevin Larsen this season, Watanabe will have the spotlight to step up in the 4-position. And depending on how he handles the spotlight, as well as how well GW does, the “Chosen One” as he is know in Japan, might be an NBA draft pick.

2018-Paul Jorgensen

Jorgensen certainly has the flair and swagger of a NBA-caliber point guard. In a situation which similar to Watanabe’s, Jorgensen will gain a starting role next season with the departure of Joe McDonald. If Jorgensen can become a dependable point guard and boost his shooting stats a little, he too could be an NBA draft pick in a few years.

Stats and information from basketball-reference.com and GWSports.com

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About Author

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 has written for several blogs, and has been published in The Washington Post. Daniel has been following GW basketball since he was 2 months old, but has started following his Mason since being accepted in 2016.

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