NCAA

Sa'eed Nelson becomes American University's all-time leading scorer

Sa'eed Nelson becomes American University's all-time leading scorer

Sa'eed Nelson has cemented his name as the American Eagles' all-time leading scorer after passing Russell "Boo' Bowers during the first quarter of the team's matchup against Lafayette (17-10, 9-7) on Wednesday night at Bender Arena.

Bowers' (1977-81) untouched record has stood for nearly 40 years in the nation's capital.

Eagles coach Mike Brennan is hopeful that his senior guard can lead the program (15-13, 11-6 Patriot) to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014. 

Nelson moved into fourth place in Patriot League history in total career points on Saturday night after passing Mike Muscala (Bucknell) and Tim Kempton (Lehigh) on the all-time list.

“I’ve just been enjoying the moment,” said Nelson, who has started every game he has played in during his American career. “This only comes around once in a lifetime. I just take it day-by-day and enjoy it, while at the same time, just keep playing my game.” 

Nelson trails only Tucker Neale (Colgate), Rob Feaster (Holy Cross), and current Portland Trailblazers star C.J. McCollum (Lehigh) in conference history for the Patriot League scoring title.

Nelson joins Eric Floyd (Georgetown), Chris Monroe (George Washington), and James Daniel (Howard) as the leading scorers of Washington's four Division-I men's basketball programs.

Nelson's 30-point night for the Eagles during their final regular-season home game boosts team's seeding during the conference tournament after besting Layfayette 79-59. 

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March Madness Revisited: When George Washington made it back to the NCAA Tournament

March Madness Revisited: When George Washington made it back to the NCAA Tournament


As March winds down without its usual flurry of March Madness moments, NBC Sports Washington takes a look back at the smaller DMV schools and their most recent NCAA Tournament appearances.  

Despite some recent struggles, confidence was high in Foggy Bottom for the George Washington basketball program entering the 2013-14 season. 

“I thought we could be good,” former GW head coach Mike Lonergan told NBC Sports Washington. “I thought we could win 20 games and have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament.”

The Colonials had not been to the tournament since 2007 and finished under .500 the first two years after Lonergan arrived from Vermont. However, the Bowie, Md. native, a former head coach at Catholic and assistant at Maryland under Gary Williams, was bullish thanks to the addition of Indiana graduate transfer Maurice Creek. 

“I knew we needed someone like him,” Lonergan said. “I knew if he could play at even 80% that he would give us the scoring we needed.”

Creek averaged 16.4 points per game as a freshman at Indiana before numerous leg injuries derailed his time in Bloomington. The former Hoosier led the Colonials in scoring (14.1 ppg) that season. 

The moment of arrival for George Washington occurred Thanksgiving weekend in Anaheim. In the third place game of the Wooden Classic, the Colonials faced 20th-ranked Creighton. George Washington beat the Blue Jays, 60-53, and held eventual consensus first-team All-America Doug McDermott to a season-low seven points. 

“That’s when I knew we were pretty good because Creighton was fabulous,” Lonergan said. 

The Colonials were the only team that season to hold McDermott under double digits. That was the turning point in their season.  

After returning from California, the Colonials defeated Rutgers, Maryland, and Georgia even before beginning Atlantic 10 play. Creek buried a game-winning shot at the buzzer to defeat Maryland in the BB&T Classic, 77-75. 

“Everything we did started in the summer time,” Creek told NBC Sports Washington. “We believed in each other.”

George Washington finished the regular season with a 24-8 record and an 11-5 mark in conference play. On Selection Sunday, the Colonials emerged as the No. 9 seed in the East Region. Lonergan will never forget that feeling of that day. 

“It was definitely exciting,” Lonergan said. “When I got the job, I thought it was a five-year deal before we got really good. So we were ahead of schedule.”

George Washington headed to Raleigh, N.C. to play Memphis. Luck was not on the Colonials side that evening. In addition to second-leading scorer Kethan Savage being sidelined due to an injury, Creek needed stitches above his eye early in the game. 

Creek finished just 2-for-13 from the field. Senior Isaiah Armwood finished with a season-high 21 points but was called for his fourth foul with 12:02 to play in the second half. 

"It definitely changed my defense, because when I'm on defense, I'm usually active. I couldn't foul," Armwood said. 

The Colonials still had multiple chances to tie the game in the final minute down by three but came up short and ultimately lost to the Tigers, 71-66. 

“It was disappointing because we could really score and we only put up 66 [points] that game,” Lonergan recalled. 

Despite the disappointing loss, George Washington basketball looked healthy once again following a successful season. The Colonials won a school-record 28 games and the NIT two years later, but they are still searching for a return trip to the tournament with a rebuilding plan in place under new coach Jamion Christian. 

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Here’s why the NCAA is not giving winter sports an additional year of eligibility like spring sports

Here’s why the NCAA is not giving winter sports an additional year of eligibility like spring sports

On Monday, the NCAA announced that it will allow schools to grant student-athletes an additional year of eligibility for spring sports but not for winter sports. This means there will not be an additional year granted to men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes. 

While the move may be disappointing for seniors and fans alike of several basketball programs, this move is the correct one as the NCAA navigates through the impact of the coronavirus. 

Four days before the selection of the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament field, and five days before the women’s, the NCAA canceled all winter and spring sports championships. In addition to no March Madness and no national champion, there are several conference titles left undecided with the regular season completed. 

Many teams across the country, though, had already wrapped up their seasons. The week prior to cancelation had wrapped up over half of the men’s and women’s 2019-20 campaigns with losses in respective conference tournaments. This was primarily the men’s mid-major conferences and most of the women’s high-major (Power 5) leagues. A select few were waiting on their postseason fate, but many were either home or on their way there and making offseason plans. 

This is the lone reason cited in the Division I Council’s release. But that is only part of the reason why the NCAA isn’t granting an additional year.

Logistically this would be a nightmare. Already, the NCAA revealed as much in its announcement of another year of competition for spring sports. It leaves the discretion of giving the additional year to each institution instead of a broader relief. 

“The Council’s decision gives individual schools the flexibility to make decisions at a campus level,” council chair and Penn athletics director M. Grace Calhoun said in the release. “The Board of Governors encouraged conferences and schools to take action in the best interest of student-athletes and their communities, and now schools have the opportunity to do that."

To make this possible, the NCAA adjusted financial aid rules, is providing funding and is extending the five-year clock of competition by a year. Most importantly, it also expanded the roster limit for baseball teams to allow incoming high school seniors to not occupy roster spots for those who wish to return. No other sports have roster limits. 

Div. I basketball programs are allowed no more than 13 full scholarships. Giving seniors the opportunity to come back would complicate how schools would make decisions on which players can do so, and which ones couldn’t. Any spot that a school would allow a senior to come back could take away a scholarship from a recruit that already committed to the program. 

Not every school would make the same decisions either. The scholarship limit would have to be lifted, but then for how much and for how long? Would the extra year be given to the underclassmen too? 

Allowing those programs to get that season back would create more problems in a trying time for many across the world. Administrators, coaches, fans, players, recruits; there would be no easy solution that would be fair to all parties. 

At least a canceled March Madness stinks for everyone. Fans included. 

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