Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Basketball Capital

Washington Life's preseason look at the metro area's top squads

Maryland terrapins Head Coach: Gary Williams Last Year's Record: 19-13 2006 Tournament Appearance: Lost in the first round of the NIT Returning Starters: D.J. Strawberry (SR.), Ekene Ibekwe (SR.), and James Gist (JR) Impact Players: Greivis Vasquez (FR), Eric Hayes (FR) and Landon Milbourne (FR) Outlook: As usual, expectations are high for Coach Gary Williams' Terrapin program. They are looking to build on last year's one-and-done NIT performance and sub-par ACC campaign with veteran leadership and incoming talent.

GEORGETOWN HOYAS Head Coach: John Thompson III Last Year's Record: 23-10 2006 Tournament Appearance: Lost to eventual NCAA champion Florida in the Sweet 16 Returning Starters: Jeff Green (JR), Roy Hibbert (JR), Jonathan Wallace (JR) Impact Players: Jeff Green, Roy Hibbert, Vernon Macklin (FR) and DaJuan Summers (FR) Outlook: Expectations are once again high for the Hoyas. John Thompson III's squad boasts one of the best front courts in the country and will be counted among the nation's top programs when the season begins.

Howard bison Head Coach: Gil Jackson Last Year's Record: 7-22 2006 Tournament Appearance: None Returning Starters: Darryl Hudson (SR.), Will Grant (SR.), Eugene Myatt (SO), Jason Trotter (SR.) and Darek Mitchell (SR.) Impact Players: Julius Hearn (FR) and Curtis White (FR) Outlook: Howard's toughest test of the season comes early - they open the season against perennial powerhouse Cincinnati. The bison are set to improve on last year's record with one of the best recruiting classes in the MEAC.

AMERICAN EAGLES Head Coach: Jeff Jones Last Year's Record: 12-17 2006 Tournament Appearance: None Returning Starters: Derrick Mercer (SO), Linas Lekavicius (SR.), Andre Ingram (SR.), Brayden Billbe (SR.) and Paulius Joneliunas (SR.) Impact Players: Derrick Mercer and Andre Ingram Outlook: With former University of Virginia coach Jeff Jones at the helm, the Eagles look to make a run at the Patriot League title. They face stiff non-conference competition with games against Maryland, Virginia, Richmond and Xavier.

GEORGE MASON PATRIOTS Head Coach: Jim Larranaga Last Year's Record: 27-8 2006 Tournament Appearance: Lost to eventual NCAA champion Florida in the Final Four Returning Starters: Folarin Campbell (JR) and Will Thomas (JR) Impact Players: Folarin Campbell and Will Thomas Outlook: Mason will play this season with a target on their backs after becoming the first CAA team to ever make the Final Four (in one of the NCAA tournament's most unlikely runs). When Coach Jim Larranaga spurned an offer to coach ACC stalwart North Carolina State this off-season, the entire Patriot community breathed a collective sigh of relief. With some talented newcomers and valuable veterans, look for George Mason to have another solid season.

George washington colonials Head Coach: Karl Hobbs Last Year's Record: 27-3 2006 Tournament Appearance: Lost in second round of the NCAA tournament to No.1 seed Duke. Returning Starters: Carl Elliott (SR.) Impact Players: Maureece Rice (JR), Cheyenne Moore (SO) Outlook: The Colonials are hoping to prove they are a program with staying power as they come off of the best season in school history. A return trip to the NCAA tournament would help cement their reputation.

Above: The George Mason University Patriots celebrate
The George Mason University Patriots celebrate after beating the University of Connecticut in the NCAA tournament last year on their way to the Final Four. George Washington guard Carl Elliott lays in a finger roll during the Colonials 27-3 2005/2006 season.

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