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George Washington University senior guard Yuta Watanabe was recognized during the men’s basketball team’s annual awards banquet on Sunday.

The Kagawa Prefecture native received the Patricio Garino Defensive Award after the team’s regular season wrapped up last weekend. Watanabe led the team in blocks (1.6 per game) and defensive rebounds (5.0). He was second in steals (0.8) and was the team’s top scorer (16.6).

“Consistently tasked with guarding the opposing team’s top offensive threat, Watanabe has proven himself to be one of the top defenders in the nation,” a gwsports.com news released stated. “He is third in school history in blocks, a member of the A-10 All-Defensive Team, and has repeatedly drawn praise from other coaches around the country after shutting down their best players.

“Miami’s Jim Larranaga cited his versatility in calling him one of the top-10 defenders nationally, and Matt McCall of UMass referred to him simply as a mismatch nightmare.”

Up next: The 11th-seeded Colonials (14-17 overall, 7-11 in the Atlantic-10 Conference) play host to the 14th-seeded Fordham Rams in the A-10 Tournament opening round on Wednesday in Washington.

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