Over the summer, the men’s basketball team at George Washington University took an 11-day trip to Italy, where the Colonials won four of five games against European clubs.
The trip, allowed under NCAA guidelines, gave former Eleanor Roosevelt High standout Lasan Kromah a chance to make his first overseas trip.
“It was just remarkable. I hope it translates to a good season,” said Kromah, a redshirt junior who got to see the Roman Colosseum and the famous Michelangelo statue of David. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
But perhaps it won’t be a one and done trip for Kromah, a former Greenbelt Middle School student. He said the trip did put the notion in his head about playing overseas after his college career is done.
“It is definitely not a bad choice,” he said with a smile while sitting at the Smith Center in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington.
But Kromah, who is from Greenbelt, will have to keep his focus this season for GW. The Colonials were 10-21 overall last season under first-year head coach Mike Lonergan, who grew up in Bowie and is a former assistant coach at the University of Maryland under Gary Williams.
Kromah, a 6-foot-6 guard, was second on the team last season in scoring (11.1 points per game), rebounds (5.1), assists (2.5) and blocks (0.6) and led the team in steals at 1.7 per game after missing the 2010-11 season with a left foot sprain. He shot just 40.5 percent from the field.
He had 10 points on Dec. 11 as GW lost 68-65 at Rutgers and fell to 4-6. Despite playing just 25.7 minutes per game in the first 10 outings, he was second on the team in scoring at 10.6 points per contest and was also pulling down 3.4 rebounds per outing.
“I like Lasan. He is a big guard and he is very versatile,” said GW senior forward Isaiah Armwood, a former Montrose Christian standout who transferred from Villanova.
Three of the top four scorers during the Italian trip are newcomers and those new players may make playing time a little more challenging this season for Kromah and other returning players. GW has started three freshmen most of this season: Patricio Garino (12 points per game in Italy), Joe McDonald (10.0) and Montrose Christian product Kevin Larsen (7.6) played well on the trip. And so did Armwood, who averaged 10.4 points in Italy and has been the leading scorer so far.
“The competition is good. We don’t have any selfish players,” said Kromah, an Atlantic 10 all-rookie team pick in 2009-10. “We are here to win as a team. I am trying to do the intangibles, rebounding and defense, anything to help the team win.
“I hope this year is better than last year. I have been working hard. I had a whole year of practicing and playing and I hope this year will be a lot better.”
And Lonergan pointed out, as he did last season, that he wants Kromah to contribute on defense and rebounding along with his scoring.
“He is very talented,” said Lonergan, the former head coach at Division III Catholic and Division I Vermont. “That year off really hurt him. I am excited to have Lasan. I will never give up on Lasan. I am expecting him to have a much better season.”
This season the Atlantic 10 welcomes VCU and Butler, who have been to the Final Four in recent years. “It gives us more exposure and it will be better competition,” Kromah said. Butler plays Feb. 9 at GW.
And Kromah hopes the trip to Italy set the bar high. “We had a lot of time to play together. We know each other’s moves. We are familiar with each other,” he said.