Rather than dwell on what might have been, GW women’s coach Joe McKeown opted to talk about his new recruiting class of four women in an interview Friday. USA Today has called the class sixth best in the nation. McKeown said the new players exhibit on- and off the court excellence – a trademark of the program.
Tylon Harris is a 6-foot-1 forward from Houston, the same city from which McKeown plucked last year’s freshman standout, Ugo Oha. Oha and Harris have played summer ball together. He said Harris is a very versatile player and brings intensity and passion to the game.
“(Harris) lives, eats and sleeps basketball,” he said, adding she has outside and inside games and can run the floor very well.
With the loss of two experienced and court-savvy players Petra Dubovcova and Kristeena Alexander, Harris’ awareness and innate knowledge of the game will be an asset to the Colonials, he said.
Harris was recruited by more than 300 universities. She chose GW because of the program’s strength and intimate environment, McKeown said.
Liz Dancause is a 5-foot-11 guard/forward from Nashua, N.H. McKeown said she was one of the top 15 players in the country. Danacause’s strength is her three-point shooting and an understanding of the game.
Top-notch basketball schools including University of California-Los Angeles and Michigan State University heavily recruited her.
McKeown said Danacause chose to call GW home for the emphasis the women’s program places on academics and athletics.
Kelly Wright is a 5-foot-11 guard from Denver. Wright was one of the country’s premiere shooting guards in high school, and McKeown said she will help GW with her inside shooting.
“One of the areas we felt inconsistent with was our shooting in the perimeter, and she will really help us there,” McKeown said.
Wright brings a competitive drive, an intangible part of the game McKeown said cannot be coached.
“She is the nicest girl, but when she walks on the floor you don’t want to get in her way,” he said.
Wright was indecisive choosing between GW and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. McKeown credits his assistant coaches for bringing her to GW.
“That’s the hard part,” McKeown said. “You don’t want to talk people into coming here, you want them to come for the right reasons.”
GW will also add Greeba Outen-Barla, a point guard from Columbia, Md. Outen-Barla will also help with outside shooting.
“She is a premiere player in our area and will really help our guard situation,” McKeown said. “She’s a very strong physical player who brings a lot of enthusiasm and a great attitude to the game.”
Like all freshmen, the new recruits must adjust to college life to be successful playing at the college level, McKeown said.
“They are all good when you sign them,” McKeown said. “But the circumstances make it different. There is no way you can prepare yourself for the first six months of college, you just have to live it.”