Let’s face it: this year’s George Washington team hasn’t exactly lived up to the hype. The Colonials sit at 10-9 (2-4 A10), and even a birth in the NIT seems rather far fetched. But it isn’t all doom and gloom in Foggy Bottom, as GW is only set to lose three players after this season. Unfortunately, those two of those three players are your starting center, Tyler Cavanaugh, and your point guard, Jaren Sina. So as the season drags on for GW, it’s time to begin to look to the future, specifically next year.
I have frequently said that the current George Washington team reminds me a lot of the 2012-13 team, the year that Joe McDonald, Kevin Larsen, Patricio Garin0 (and Kethan Savage, who later transferred to Butler) were all freshmen. That year, the Colonials went 13-17, and lost a lot of close, heart breaking games. The next year, GW was one of the most improved teams in the country, and went 24-9 en-route to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. That team would rack up wins over Creighton, Miami and more, and would reach the Semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament, before falling to 8-seeded Memphis in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
So what does all of this mean for Maurice Joseph’s current bunch? While it’s certainly easy as a writer to sit back criticize Mojo, it’s what I’ve seen from freshman point guard Jair Bolden that has me most hopeful for the future of the program. While he had a slow start to the season, over the last three games, Bolden has scored 33 points, including 16 against La Salle and 12 against VCU. All of it, coming off the bench as the back-up point guard to Jaren Sina.
Where I really feel where Jair started to find himself as a college player was on the road at VCU last Wednesday. The Rams’ defense had been successfully containing Jaren Sina all night, and in the end, Sina would only record just one point and zero assists. So coach Mojo brought in Jair Bolden for his first real road test, and he passed with flying colors. Bolden scored 12 points, along with three steals, an assist and even hauled in a rebound. Granted, he also accounted for four of GW’s 17 team turnovers, and the Colonials lost the game 85-55. Still all things considered, not bad for his first real test.
What also really impressed me was Bolden’s floor presence. Already, after just a few games in his college career, he already has a calming presence and confidence that should serve him and GW well in the years to come. If you consider that the Colonials are playing four freshmen that are playing a good chunk of minutes night in and night out, this will definitely be a team to be reckoned with in the years to come. Just not this year.