Washington Post, New York Times Profile GW's Yuta Watanabe

By Atlantic 10 Conference

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Courtesy: Atlantic 10 Conference

The Washington Post and New York Times both have written feature profiles of George Washington freshman Yuta Watanabe, the fourth Japanese-born player in NCAA Division I history. An excerpt of each story is below, followed by a link to the full story on each newspaper's website.



On an early fall day 16 months ago, George Washington men’s basketball Coach Mike Lonergan got a phone call from Jamie Cosgrove, an old friend he had first met in college. Cosgrove, the coach at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., had just come back from a visit to his old coach and boss Jere Quinn, who coaches at St. Thomas More Academy, a boarding school about 45 minutes from Trinity.

“I saw this kid, and the first thing I thought was, ‘Toni Kukoc,’ ” Cosgrove said, referencing the former Chicago Bulls star who came to the United States from Croatia. “I mean, he was an 18-year-old kid at a prep school, but when I watched him, that’s what I thought.”

The kid was Yuta Watanabe, now a George Washington freshman whose playing time and renown are growing on an almost daily basis. Watanabe, a 6-foot-8 forward with a silky left-handed jump shot and a solid perimeter game, is only the fourth Japanese-born player to compete at the Division I level in basketball. Although he has played only 16 college games, his early results indicate his potential goes way beyond the three who preceded him.



NEW YORK TIMES - by Seth Berkman

WASHINGTON — After Yuta Watanabe’s first workouts at George Washington University, his teammates recognized that he had the jump shot, the speed and the basketball intelligence to succeed at the Division I level.

Watanabe, a skinny Japanese forward, just needed to work on his panache.

“We told him to find a new celebration because the one he had wasn’t cutting it,” said Kevin Larsen, a junior who grew up in Copenhagen. “He was, like, jumping in the air making a weird face. So we tried to help him find a new one.”

Watanabe, from Miki, a small town in the Kagawa prefecture in Japan, is proving to be a quick learner as he navigates through his freshman year at George Washington and his second year in the United States.




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