Three transfers joined the men’s basketball program within a week as head coach Jamion Christian looks to rebuild his roster.
Arizona senior forward Ira Lee, Virginia Tech freshman guard Joe Bamisile and Connecticut junior guard Brendan Adams committed to the program late last month, the trio announced on Twitter. Christian said in an interview last month he looked for players who were going to make GW bigger and faster in the coming years.
“We want to continue to add physicality, to be more physical defensively, be more athletic defensively, be able to make plays out in transition,” Christian said. “We haven’t been able to do that the last couple years, and so we’re going to recruit a specific body type that’s going to allow us the ability to do those things.”
Lee, a 6-foot-8 forward from Los Angeles, played four seasons at Arizona before finding his way to Foggy Bottom. The big man averaged 3.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 13.2 minutes in 113 games for the Wildcats.
He played primarily off the bench but saw five starts his sophomore season. He played 17.9 minutes a contest, averaging 4.2 boards and 6.6 points per game during the 2018-19 season.
In his senior season, Lee appeared in 23 games. He shot at an efficient clip, connecting on 55.1 percent of attempts from the floor for three points a contest. He ripped three boards off the glass a game. The NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to winter sport athletes, allowing Lee to play a fifth year of collegiate basketball with the Colonials.
Bamisile, a 6-foot-4 guard from Chesterfield, Virginia, played just one season at Virginia Tech before becoming a Colonial. He appeared in 13 games for the Hokies, averaging 3.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.3 assists per game. He fired at a .370 clip from the floor and a .250 percentage from long range.
Adams, a 6-foot-4 guard from Baltimore, spent three seasons with the Huskies. He averaged 4.8 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest. He appeared in 78 games, staying on the court for 18.3 minutes a game.
He began to heat up during his sophomore season, shooting 39.4 percent from the floor for 7.4 points a game. He appeared in 31 games with one start during the 2019-20 campaign. But he played in 17 games his junior season, making six starts. He averaged just 4.5 points on 29.9 percent shooting from the field and 28.9 percent from distance.
Adams graduated in three years, leaving him two seasons of eligibility left as a graduate student, The Hartford Courant reported last month.
All three players have NCAA Tournament experience. Lee went with his team to the 2018 Tournament where the Wildcats bowed out in the first round. Bamisile and Adams most recently entered the NCAA bubble in Indianapolis to compete in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. They did not see action in their respective games, and both of their programs were sent home in the first round.
Christian said he wants players in the program who prioritize “winning” and “competing” in practice and during games.
“The next few years we’re going to have really talented players coming into our program, and everybody here is going to have to compete for the time they get on the floor,” he said. “That’s going to allow us the mentality to get out there and be one of the best teams in our league. And that’s our goal.”
The additions come after the Colonials’ roster shrunk midseason and in the offseason. Seven players – senior guard Maceo Jack, senior forward Ace Stallings, sophomore guard Jameer Nelson Jr., sophomore forward Jamison Battle, sophomore forward Chase Paar, junior forward Sloan Seymour and freshman guard Lincoln Ball – left the team.
The trio will join GW’s eight remaining rostered players, who are all eligible to return for another season in the buff and blue.