The arrival of three exciting newcomers should have an immediate impact on the GW men’s basketball team in 1997-98.
Patrick Ngongba, who sat out last season for academic reasons, Antxon Iturbe, who played at one of the best high schools in the country, and Roey Eyal, a member of the under-22 Israeli National Team, all will be impact players, according to head coach Mike Jarvis
“Patrick Ngongba, Antxon Iturbe and Roey Eyal aren’t like regular freshmen. They’re seasoned, older and wiser,” Jarvis said. “I think they all bring different things to the table. Antxon and Patrick are two very good inside power players, and Roey Eyal is a guy who can play both the one or two position.”
The freshman class is led by power forward Patrick Ngongba (Gong-buh). A native of Bangui, Central African Republic, Ngongba led Calvert Hall School to its second straight Maryland State title two years ago, averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. After redshirting last season, Ngongba has gained essential basketball skills under the guidance of Jarvis. Ngongba’s 6-8, 230-pound chiseled frame will demand immediate attention from opponents.
Antxon Iturbe (An-chone E-TUR-bay) is a true freshman from Basque, Spain. Iturbe averaged 10.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game his senior year for St. John’s Prospect Hall. He led Prospect Hall to a No. 3 national ranking in the USA Today High School Super 25 poll. Not only is he a good basketball player, Iturbe also has demonstrated solid academics, including ranking in the top 10 of his senior class and being selected for membership in the National Honor Society.
Iturbe is a 6-8, 250-pound hard-nosed power forward. Iturbe has learned from his older brother, Iker, who plays under Rick Barnes at Clemson. With the loss of Ferdinand Williams, Iturbe will be called upon to add depth to the frontcourt.
Roey Eyal (Roy eh-YAL) rounds out this impressive recruiting class. Eyal is a 6-3, 165-pound, 21-year-old freshman who averaged 22 points and seven assists a game in leading Boyer High School to a 24-0 record and a championship title in Jerusalem. After spending three years in the Israeli army, Eyal traveled to Bulgaria as a member of the Israeli under-22 National Team. Eyal is projected to come off the bench and provide backcourt support.
When asked what attracted Jarvis to the international players, he responded, “Basketball is a universal game. I recruit players, and I pick the best basketball players that fit the GW profile – good student athletes that happen to be good basketball players.”