RELAX. Everything Will Be Fine.
This looks bad, doesn’t it? I mean REALLY bad.
By now, the news has already broken about top recruit Erik Copes’ release from his letter of intent. Additionally, his uncle, associate head coach Roland Houston, is rumored to have taken an assistant coaching position at rival George Mason University, though no news sources have confirmed this yet. Seeing that Houston is likely the only reason that Copes committed to play here, this could likely mean the departure of one of GW’s best recruits, especially since the GW Hatchet has just reported that Kevin Sutton, head coach from Monteverde Academy in Monteverde, FL, has just been hired as one of head coach Mike Lonergan’s assistants.
Already, consternation is breaking out from fans of George Washington basketball everywhere. Some are saying that the potential of the upcoming 2011-12 season to be “special” is stunted for good, while those who were pessimists from the beginning now feel justified in thinking that next year will be another display of mediocre basketball just like the others.
But there’s no reason to hit the panic button…YET.
Firstly, in terms of the immediate future nothing has been published by any credible news source about either of the other two recruits in this year’s class, Jonathan Davis and Trey Davis (no relation), being released from their commitments. Anything said or tweeted to this point is pure speculation, although it’s worth keeping an eye out for.
Secondly, head coach Mike Lonergan has barely been in his position for a week – and it will take much longer than that to convince a prized recruit to stay or unintentionally chase him away. Lonergan’s winning history would only help in making a case for Copes to stay, and Lonergan will still get an opportunity to see if there’s any late talent worthy of an open scholarship.
Thirdly, and most importantly, there are no reports of Copes signing anywhere else yet! And with the nature of this timing, there aren’t many places for him to go that are upgrades from Foggy Bottom (and George Mason as an option could cause an argument either way). With his athletic ability, working with whatever staff the program assembles would be an excellent opportunity for him because Lonergan at the University of Vermont turned average talent (no disrespect intended) into possible NBA prospects and solid NCAA Tournament teams.
Even if Copes should choose to walk, this George Washington team returns almost the entirety of its core. To jog some memories, this is a team that beat a 2-5 start, won four more conference games than the season before, and finished tied for fourth in the Atlantic 10 without its most heralded player. Out of that team blossomed an All-Atlantic 10 Second Team pick (senior guard Tony Taylor), a deadly three-point weapon (sophomore forward Nemanja Mikic), and the start of an emergence of team identity – something noticeably missing from GW’s program since 2007. Add a coach who’s already proven that he know how to utilize his personnel, and this could still be one of the better seasons in GW basketball history.
So to the over-anxious fans, take a deep breath and just wait on whatever news comes. It might not be the Apocalypse after all.