International basketball players are nothing new to college basketball and certainly George Washington's program. The background of the latest member of GW's 2014 class is rather rare indeed.
6-foot-8 forward Yuta Watanabe will join the Colonials, a source confirmed with CSNwashington following multiple reports on Tuesday. He becomes the fourth incoming recruit for coach Mike Lonergan next season and the fifth international player on the 2014-15 roster.
According to the Japan Times, Watanabe would become only the third Japanese-born player to participate at the Division 1 level. The lefty shooter spent last season stateside at St. Thomas More Prep in Connecticut.
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GW and Fordham were thought to be the final choices for Watanabe, who visited the Foggy Bottom campus and attended a game against Rhode Island earlier this season.
The Colonials lose big man Isaiah Armwood and perimeter forward Nemanja Mikic from the current frontcourt rotation. The other members of GW's 2014 class are perimeter players: guards Paul Jorgensen and Darian Bryant plus swingman Anthony Swan. The school previously announced the trio signed Letters of Intent in November.
Considered a small forward and one that needs to pack on additional pounds to his thin frame, Watanabe is a member of Japan's national team and the son of two former professional basketball players.
Check out his link for some brief analysis plus highlights starting at the 1:50 mark.