Washington - George Washington men's basketball coach Mike Lonergan has announced that Kevin Larsen and Joe McDonald have signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Colonials in 2012-13.
The duo join early NLI signees Patricio Garino, Paris Maragkos and Kethan Savage to comprise Coach Lonergan's first recruiting class at GW.
"We are very excited about our recruiting class," said Coach Lonergan. "We have a new player at every position and this class, along with Isaiah Armwood, increases our talent level. These young men are true student-athletes who all come from winning programs with great coaches so they all know what it takes to win."
Armwood, who starred at Montrose Christian Academy, sat out the 2011-12 season after transferring to GW from Villanova and will be eligible to play for the Colonials in 2012-13.
The six incoming players reflect a renewed emphasis on local and international recruiting efforts by Coach Lonergan and his coaching staff. Local signees McDonald and Savage were both recently named First Team All-Met by The Washington Post, while both Armwood and Larsen played scholastically at Montrose Christian in nearby Rockville, Md. Garino, Larsen and Maragkos all originally hail from overseas prior to playing at the high-school level in the United States.
Larsen, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, is a 6-foot-10-inch forward who played at Montrose Christian the past two seasons. He helped the Mustangs to a 21-3 record and No. 14 national ranking in the final 2011-12 ESPNHS Powerade Fab 50 poll, averaging 8.2 points and 7.6 rebounds as a senior. Larsen's Montrose team reached the semifinals of the ESPN National High School Invitational last month where it was defeated by Montverde Academy and fellow GW signee Patricio Garino. Also a member of Denmark's Under-18 National Team, Larsen participated in both the 2010 and 2011 U18 European Championship Division B tournaments. He averaged 10.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in seven games at the event in 2011.
"Kevin has the size and strength to be an inside presence on both ends of the court," said Coach Lonergan. "He is a great passer and a very unselfish player. He is fundamentally sound and should have an immediate impact on our program."
McDonald, a 6-foot-1-inch guard from Lorton, Va., starred at the Landon School in Bethesda, Md., where he earned First Team All-Met honors from The Washington Post in both 2011 and 2012. The 43rd-rated point guard prospect in the nation according to ESPN, McDonald averaged 22.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, four assists, four steals and one block as a senior in 2012, highlighted by 49-point, 18-rebound effort against conference rival Episcopal. He was a finalist for the 2012 ESPNHS Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year award, and was a three-time First Team All-Interstate Athletic Conference (IAC) selection.
"Joe is a winner," said Coach Lonergan. "He is a fierce competitor with a high basketball IQ. Joe will have the opportunity to come in as a freshman and compete to be our starting point guard. I love his physical and mental toughness."
Coach Lonergan also praised the other three members of his initial recruiting class - Garino, Maragkos and Savage - who signed during the early period in November:
Garino, a 6-foot-5-inch guard/forward from Cordova, Argentina, guided Montverde (Fla.) Academy to a 23-4 overall record and a No. 9 ranking in the final ESPNHS Powerade Fab 50 this past winter. He helped the Eagles to the championship game of the prestigious ESPN National High School Invitational, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds against Nevada's Findlay Prep in the title contest.
"Patricio is a stat-sheet stuffer," said Coach Lonergan. "He can have a great affect on the game without scoring a lot of points. He can guard several positions and has a great feel for the game."
Savage, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Alexandria, Va., averaged 19.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists as a senior to lead Episcopal High School to a 24-4 record and an appearance in the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association (VISAA) state championship game. The 53rd-rated shooting guard prospect in the country according to ESPN, Savage was also a two-time First Team All-IAC and First Team All-VISAA honoree.
"Kethan is a terrific athlete who can score in many ways," said Coach Lonergan. "He is capable of becoming a lock-down defender. He is known for his highlight reel dunks, but I think he is a great all-around player."
Maragkos, a 6-foot-9-inch forward from Amarousi, Greece, helped the Blue Ridge School in St. George, Va., to a 20-7 overall record and a VISAA state semifinals appearance in 2012, averaging 10.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks for the Barons.
"Paris is a skilled post player who will contribute immediately," said Coach Lonergan. "He is a good shooter with three-point range, but also has good post moves. He is a physical player who will help us improve our rebounding."
George Washington Athletics assisted in the compilation of this report.