Watanabe playing key role in George Washington’s rise to prominence

by

Staff Writer

Sophomore forward Yuta Watanabe has helped the George Washington men’s basketball team earn a spot in The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the final poll of the 2005-06 season.

The Colonials (10-1) cracked the top 25 at No. 21 on Dec. 14. They moved up to 20th in the latest AP poll, which was released on Monday.

The 203-cm Watanabe, who hails from Kagawa Prefecture, has started all 11 games to date, averaging 25.9 minutes. He is the team’s fourth-leading scorer (9.5 points) and is averaging 3.7 rebounds a game. He has eight steals and seven blocks. He is tied for the team lead in 3-pointers (15) with Tyler Cavanaugh. He has 21assists and eight turnovers.

Colonials head coach Mike Lonergan, in his fifth season at the helm, has guided the Atlantic-10 Conference school, to four straight wins.

“Yuta’s (assist-to-turnover) ratio is almost 3 to 1,” Lonergan was recently quoted saying by pressboxdc.com. “I think he’s our most improved player.”

In Saturday’s 87-74 home victory over Saint Peter’s, Watanabe converted a four-point play for the second consecutive game, The Washington Post reported.

George Washington was scheduled to face non-conference foe DePaul University (5-6) on Tuesday night in Rosemont, Illinois.