The following are portions of Q&As with coach Maurice Joseph and student-athlete Patrick Steeves George Washington has published on GWSports.com. Links to the full articles follow the Q&A excerpt.
A season ago, Patrick Steeves was a fifth-year college student and newcomer to the GW men's basketball program after completing his undergraduate degree at Harvard and transferring to continue his education and playing career. Now, Steeves will be relied upon to help lead a program which features nine newcomers, including four freshmen, in his final collegiate season. The Montreal native came on strong in the final two months last year, reaching double figures eight times, and hopes to build on that momentum going into 2017-18. Steeves recently caught up with GWsports.com to discuss his thoughts on the team and what role he'll play.
You’ve said you're excited about this group – why?
PS: I like the energy we have. Our practices have been high level and energetic. Maurice’s personality is to be super fired up about everything and I think we have a lot of guys that tap into that. I think that’s huge, especially because the month of October is a grind. Practicing for hours, not playing anybody else, just competing against each other. I think it’s easy for young guys to just put it in cruise control and try to get through the month. With our team we have so many new guys and we’re going to implement some new stuff that even the old guys have to catch on to. We can’t be in cruise control. We can’t do that. We have to be in sixth gear the whole time. I think setting that tone and feeding off that energy is something we really need to focus on this month.
What are some strengths of this team from what you’ve seen early on?
PS: If you look on paper we’re pretty young but Yuta and I have a ton of experience. He’s about to turn 23 and I’m in my sixth year. Having us two at the helm and setting the tone for the younger guys is a big strength of the team. I think we’re very athletic this year. If we learn how to play defense smart, because I think a lot of teams when you put in run and jump defense you can sometimes play too fast. I think if we can find the right tempo for us and play very athletic and put pressure on teams but do it in an intelligent way, I think we we’re going to be very hard to score on.
With practice officially underway, GWsports.com caught up with head coach Maurice Joseph to get his thoughts on the Colonials as they prepare for the 2017-18 season. GW returns four players with starting experience from last year's squad which went 20-15, and welcomes nine newcomers, including four freshmen, three transfers and two walk-ons.
How do you feel heading into preseason practice?
MJ: Lot of excitement. New group, bunch of new faces, very athletic group that’s going to allow us to play a little differently than we did last year. Exciting to finally get going and put the pieces together. We have a talented group of freshmen and transfers, a couple of them sitting out but Bo Zeigler will be eligible as an experienced guy who is adding a new dimension to our team that we didn’t quite have last year. Very excited to get going here.
While this team does have a good deal of youth, you have some experienced leaders in Patrick Steeves, Yuta Watanabe and Bo Zeigler. How have they brought the young guys along so far?
MJ: They’ve been great thus far in workouts, on the court, in the weight room. Their experienced leadership has been vital for our young guys kind of getting a benchmark for what’s expected from a work ethic standpoint. Those guys have been great leading not just by example, but with their voices as well. They’re going to need to continue to do that through the month of October as we gear up for scrimmages and exhibition games. With practice starting now, it’s going to be a different animal than what our young guys are used to. They’re going to need to continue leading, continue leading by example and with their voices. Pat’s been great, Yuta has grown as a leader and Bo has come in since day one and been a tenacious competitor and leader.