Only a few GW basketball players are remembered by every fan who has witnessed a Colonials game. Graduate student Yegor Mescheriakov is one of them.
Standing at 6-9, Mescheriakov has dazzled fans with his intense slam dunks and dynamic all-around skills. In the last four years, Mescheriakov has helped give the GW basketball program a higher profile. He hopes to continue representing GW in the NBA.
“My time at GW has been very positive, but it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t supposed to be. It’s college,” Mescheriakov said. “I matured and developed myself here, and I’m grateful for this experience.”
Mescheriakov has gained national attention for his accomplishments, and he, along with Shawnta Rogers, participated in the Nike Desert Classic in Tempe, Ariz., two weeks ago. Mescheriakov smiled as he reflected on his experience, noting that interacting with other NBA hopefuls was time well spent.
“This was the first time for me as an international player to meet all the American guys in my class,” said Mescheriakov, a native of Belarus. “It was a great sense of accomplishment, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I felt I belonged.”
Mescheriakov said it took him a few days to adjust. But rooming with Ademola Okulaja, who hails from Germany and played for the University of North Carolina, helped the week pass smoothly. Together they shopped, ate meals and talked about life as international players.
“We understood each other and developed a good relationship,” Mescheriakov said.
Mescheriakov was pleased with his performance in Tempe but was bothered that his coach, former Charlotte Hornets head coach Allan Bristow, played him only 14 minutes in the final game. Each player was supposed to play around 20 minutes.
“I have to set my mind to play as great as I can play,” Mescheriakov said. “I have to play without second-guessing myself.”
Mescheriakov will be working with Kevin Masalka, his conditioning coach, in preparation for individual workouts with NBA teams.
“I’m going home for a week after finals,” Mescheriakov said. “But I have to stay ready, because it’s unknown when the workouts will be.”
Mescheriakov smiled when he spoke about the upcoming NBA draft, saying the experience has been an exciting one, especially since Rogers is going through it with him.
“Hopefully, we can get drafted and both play in the NBA,” Mescheriakov said. “It’s nice to have a partner and one familiar face.”
Mescheriakov said he was satisfied with his last season at GW, though he regrets that the team lost another NCAA Tournament game. But he was proud of the Colonials’ Atlantic 10 West Division title and said this year’s victory over Xavier on senior day was a moment he won’t soon forget.
Mescheriakov said the promise of the next few months is about more than the prospect of playing in the NBA – there are other, more mundane, activities Mescheriakov has never experienced. He often amazed GW fans with his drives into the paint, but Mescheriakov has never tried the most American of pursuits – driving a car.
“It’s about living in my own apartment and managing my own money,” Mescheriakov said. “And driving my own car.”
The college game was a wonderful experience for Yegor Mescheriakov, and nearly every fan who watched him will remember his intensity and appreciate his dedication. Mescheriakov, in return, expressed his gratitude to the GW fans.
“The fans were one of the biggest parts of all of this, and I definitely felt the support,” Mescheriakov said.