Yogin Kothari: The freshman five

A few weeks ago, The Hatchet profiled the new freshmen on the men’s basketball team in an article titled “Super six.” In that story, head coach Karl Hobbs stated that his goal this season was to “reestablish the excitement of GW basketball,” with the six new freshmen having an immediate impact on the team. Besides Daymon Warren, who is currently injured, all of the freshmen have found success in Hobbs’ rotation.

Five games into the season, the team is looking young but is playing like a group that has been together for a long time. While the squad is nowhere near perfection, it has gotten off to its best five-game start since the 2006-2007 season, the last time the Colonials appeared in the NCAA tournament. Standing tall with a 5-1 record, the team has been impressive, averaging more than 72 points per game while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc.

A major part of the team’s early success is the five active freshmen. They have brought the quickness, intensity and depth the team has been lacking for the past few seasons.

On the offensive side, Maryland native Lasan Kromah leads the team in scoring, averaging 14 points in about 20 minutes per game. Kromah’s strong performance earned him Co-Rookie of the Week honors in the Atlantic 10 Conference two weeks ago. He was the first Colonial to do so since Damian Hollis in 2007.

David Pellom, the 6-foot-8-inch forward from North Carolina, leads the team in rebounds and is also among the leaders in blocks and steals. The other three – Bryan Bynes, Tim Johnson and Dwayne Smith – have made their mark in games, as well. All have stepped up when needed, as illustrated in Bynes’ 4-for-5 shooting from 3-point range against Princeton.

Each freshman has contributed in his own way, bringing much-needed intensity. All have had their share of key moments as each has played critical minutes in the first five games this season, resulting in an excellent start.

But even with all this success, it pains me to see Hobbs not play the freshmen more often. Sometimes, when the momentum is on our side, he quickly substitutes for the young players, limiting their time. For what reason? These players go all out on offense and defense and deserve to more floor time when playing at their best. Sometimes, Kromah’s defensive statistics get overlooked due to his offensive prowess, but the guard averages two steals per game and is always hustling after the ball. Pellom, arguably one of our best players near the basket, is averaging just 16 minutes a game; he also deserves to play more.

It’s true the players are young and still adjusting to college-level play. But after what they have done over the first five games, the freshmen should see the court more and get a chance to further develop their skills. They have done an amazing job in helping Hobbs revive the program so far this year.

The writer is a sophomore majoring in international affairs.

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