For a college located just two miles from the U.S. Capitol,
named in honor of the country's first president and represented
by a mascot who recalls the dawning days of American
independence, George Washington is not what you'd expect. Half
of the team's 12 players call other nations home.
This is an article from the Nov. 15, 1996 issue
"We may not be your typical team," says coach Mike Jarvis, who
in 1995-96 led the Colonials to their third NCAA tournament
appearance in four seasons, "but we're finding ways to win."
Which is not too surprising, since when it comes to finding
talent, the Colonials have left no country unturned. During his
six years at the helm, Jarvis has brought in eight foreign
players from three continents. The best of them, 7'1" junior
Alexander Koul from Belarus, developed into a dominant center
last season, averaging 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds. He has also
spawned a disco revival at the Smith Center, where fans have
taken to posting KOUL AND THE GANG signs. "I went out and bought
one of their CDs," says Koul of the original Kool, "and I can
say it's not my favorite."
Still, the Foggy Bottom faithful will ce-le-brate good times
again in '96-97, when George Washington challenges for the
Atlantic 10 title. While Kwame Evans and Vaughn Jones are gone,
the Colonials do have nine players back. They also retain the
services of 10th-degree karate black belt Jin Pal (Grandmaster)
Kim, who instructs them in flexibility and balance twice a week.
"It was weird at the beginning," says Koul of the training. "But
it brought us closer together, and it has made me more relaxed
and comfortable playing in the block with my back to the basket."
A bit more body control would serve Koul well on D, where he has
a tendency to, well, hack. He fouled out 11 times last season,
though his absence did allow the Colonials' supporting cast a
chance to shine. In a momentous 86-76 victory over previously
unbeaten UMass on Feb. 24, 6'8" Belarussian Yegor Mescheriakov,
now a sophomore, and 6'10" Ferdinand Williams, now a senior,
held Marcus Camby to just four points during the final 3:31.
Along with 6'5" junior forward Darin Green, they will fortify
the frontcourt. Sophomore J.J. Brade, who is from Montreal, and
Baltimore native Shawnta Rogers, a 5'4" sophomore who was the
team's third-leading rebounder last season, form a speedy
The inside-outside combination of Koul and Rogers, a point guard
with NBA three-point range, is formidable. Rogers did not gain
his eligibility until Dec. 22, shortly after he was discovered
to have a learning disability and was permitted to take the SAT
untimed. In just his second game, he scored nine of his 18
points in double OT to save an 84-83 victory over Idaho. "Part
of Shawnta's motivation is to prove wrong the people who said he
was too small," says Jarvis. "He's so competitive he basically
forces you to step up."
If the rest of the Colonials follow his lead, Rogers could
transform George Washington into a revolutionary force by March.
THE DATA BOX
Coach: Mike Jarvis
Career record: 214-118 (11 seasons)
Record at GW: 101-51 (six seasons)
1995-96 record: 21-8 (final ranking: none)
Atlantic 10 record: 13-3 (tied for first in West)
PG *Shawnta Rogers, 5'4", Soph.
Team's top rebounder in three games
SG *J.J. Brade, 6'5", Soph.
Shot impressive 57.2% from the field
SF Darin Green, 6'5", Jr.
5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg as sixth man
PF *Yegor Mescheriakov, 6'8", Soph.
Voted to Atlantic 10 all-rookie team
C *Alexander Koul, 7'1", Jr.
His 64.2% shooting was third in nation
Dec. 11 at Kansas
Rogers will not have to face injured Jacque Vaughn
Dec. 30 at UNC Charlotte
Alexanders the Great: Koul vs. Kuehl
Jan. 15 vs. St. Joseph's
Loss to Hawks knocked GW from Top 25 last season
Jan. 30 vs. UMass
Last meeting ended Minutemen win streak at 26
Feb. 22 at Temple
Could decide Atlantic 10 regular-season title