Welcome to A10 Talk’s Preseason Top 25 Player Countdown for the 2017-18 season. Each day, we’ll be publishing a new article, counting down our best 25 players for the coming season. Today, we feature #13 Yuta Watanabe of George Washington.
Our Top 25 Player Countdown is a compiled list based on voting from our staff and writers from across the league. Thanks to the following for helping configure this year’s Top 25 Atlantic 10 Player Countdown:
Grant Labedz (@GrantLabedz), Mat Shelton-Eide (@MatSheltonEide), Grant Kelly (@GrantKelly07), Andrew Phung (@LoveRI401), By George (@ByGeorgeGMU), Davidson Recruiting (@DavidsonMBBRecr), Steve DiMiceli (@SteveDiMiceli), Rhody Rampage (@RhodyRampage), UMass Recruiting (@UMassRecruiting), Bona Blog (@BonaBlog), Petey Buckets (@PeteyBuckets), and UMass Ball Report (@theumbr).
What He’s Done
In his first three years at George Washington, Yuta Watanabe has consistently been one of the most electric players in the Atlantic 10. Time and time again, he has proven to be a defensive nightmare, and he can guard anyone ranging from the 1-guard to even a 4 at times. And good luck finding someone who can match both his speed and size to try to contain his offensive skills.
Watanabe played more than 90% of available minutes in conference play last season; you should only expect that number to go up this year. Yuta had one of the best block percentages in the conference in 2016-17, and he was incredible at playing defense without fouling. Offensively, and defensively, Yuta Watnabe is undoubtedly the go-to-guy in the 2017-18 season. The Colonials will rely heavily on the senior.
What He’ll Do
This is effectively Yuta’s team this year. Even though there are officially four seniors on the George Washington roster, Watanabe is the only one who has spent his entire career playing in Foggy Bottom. Patrick Steeves will be the only other senior who has even played a full years at GW. Bo Zeigler is a transfer from UCF and Jack Granger has spent the last three years as a student manager for GW. So needless to say, as Yuta goes this year, so will the Colonials.
Previously: #14 Charlie Brown