Although his 50 points in two A-10 Tournament games would seem to indicate Shawnta Rogers has totally recovered from his recent bout with the flu, that may not be the case.
“He’s not totally rid of that bug,” Penders said Monday.
Regardless of Thursday’s outcome, Tom Penders has exceeded all expectations this year. Much of this, he says humbly, is because of Shawnta Rogers. But nonetheless, here’s some of the team’s notable achievements:
Penders, with 20 wins, became GW’s winningest rookie coach. GW won 20 games two years in a row for only the second time in school history, and the first time since 1953-’55. GW won only its second outright regular season conference title since joining the Southern Conference in 1942, and the first such Atlantic 10 title. The team tied the school record for most A-10 wins in a season at 14. For the first time in A-10 history, one school earned seven Player of the Week honors: Rogers with four, Mescheriakov with two, Mike King with one. GW went 12-0 at the Smith Center, the best mark ever.
And now the Shawnta Rogers Show. Rogers was GW’s first men’s A-10 Player of the Year. Rogers was the first player to lead the A-10 in scoring, assists, and steals, and tossed in free-throw percentage, too. Among his many, many school records, he set the single-season steals and assists records while becoming the career leader in both categories. Rogers has GW’s highest scoring average (20.5) since John Holloran in 1977. Rogers’ 3.6 steals-per-game average was the highest ever in the A-10, but more importantly, he led the nation in that category, the first time a Colonial has led a national statistical category since Joe Holup in 1956.
If no one thought that victory over Xavier was all-important, they understood on Selection Sunday when Xavier was passed over for a tournament bid in the wake of Rhode Island’s march to the conference title and an automatic bid. Only four teams finished with a winning record in the A-10 this year, after a preseason that found four A-10 teams in the AP Top 25.
Bobby Knight and Northwestern University coach Kevin O’Neill almost came to blows Feb. 13 after Knight complained about the Northwestern student section yelling the rather tame chant “Hoos-ier Daddy?” After that altercation, it’s probably a good thing tonight’s game isn’t at the Smith Center.