The George Washington Colonials are not exactly a household-name program. Accordingly, Tyler Cavanaugh has gone under the radar in Foggy Bottom. However, that will likely change this coming season.
For those unaware, Cavanaugh started his career at Wake Forrest. After two seasons with the Demon Deacons, the forward transferred to George Washington, sat out a season per NCAA transfer rules, and then become an Atlantic 10 world-beater.
That’s not hyperbole. He was that good during his junior campaign.
Last season the productive big man averaged 16.8 points per game on 51-percent shooting from the floor and added 7.8 manly rebounds per outing. For good measure — because being a dominating big man apparently wasn’t enough for him — Cavanaugh shot over 42 percent beyond the arc.
He already was a great offensive forward.
That was as a junior. A reasonable jump in development should be expected for someone who has already dominated in such a productive way. We now have even more evidence that the forward should be even better next season — a scary thing for other A-10 teams to think about.
George Washington recently began a tour of Japan. On Saturday against the Japanese National Team, Cavanaugh led all scorers with 27 points. He grabbed 9 rebounds and went an efficient 4-of-7 from three.
Basically, he was the cat’s meow in a game against a country’s best players. On the surface, it isn’t a big deal that he went positively bonkers against a team he won’t ever play in a game that counts. Consider the bigger picture, however: An already efficient, talented, and dominating player might still be getting better — not only in small increments, but in bunches.
While a lot of national attention will go to higher-profile players in the conference, Cavanaugh is in position to become the best player in the A-10. A simple projection based on last season, coupled with his hot start on George Washington’s foreign tour, would allow such a thought to enter the cranium of any sane college basketball fan.
The noticeably-gifted Cavanaugh was so good last season that conference supremacy might not represent the height of his achievements this season. He could become one of the better players in the entire country. That sounds crazy, but few players in the country have the potential to snag high-end double-doubles.
Even if we think about him in relatively modest terms and maintain cautious projections for his growth, Cavanaugh’s ability to perform nearly every offensive skill at a high level will lead to a 17-points-per-game average this season. He should also be able to rebound at an even higher rate than he did last season.
So yes, Cavanaugh could easily average 18 and 10 this season… and that might be selling him way short.
Cavanaugh was already a good player for a team that won 28 games last season. Now he appears to be improving, something most would have guessed even if we didn’t have that game against the Japanese National Team.
It’s time to know this name. If we don’t, a conquering Colonial will soon force the nation to realize what many A-10 die-hards already know — that Tyler Cavanaugh is one of the nation’s best-kept secrets.