Former Indiana University guard Maurice Creek confirmed exclusively with CSNwashington on Friday that he will join George Washington men's basketball program as a graduate transfer, providing coach Mike Lonergan with another key piece toward the program's rebuild.
Creek is eligible for the 2013-14 season and should immediately bolster if not start in the Colonials talented but inexperienced backcourt. The 6-foot-5 Oxon Hill native played 22 games for the Hoosiers last season as a redshirt junior after missing the 2011-12 campaign due to a ruptured Achilles heel. As a freshman with the Hoosiers, Creek averaged 16.4 points, shot 44.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and scored 31 against Kentucky, but suffered a season-ending fractured kneecap after starting the first 12 games.
The Colonials return all five starters from last season's 13-17 squad, but the returning roster did not include an upperclassman in the backcourt. That is until Creek decision.
"With GW, I needed them and they needed me," Creek said during a phone interview with CSN moments after making his choice known on Twitter. "That's what it's all about. When you go somewhere, you want to go somewhere where you're needed. You don't want to go somewhere where you're just wanted...From the first day, I just felt like , 'man, this could be a great spot.'"
The former top-50 recruit returned to average 8.3 points as a sophomore, but injuries limited him to 18 games and then wiped out the following campaign after suffering the Achilles injury in the fall of 2011. With Indiana highly ranked throughout this past season, Creek averaged 7.8 minutes and 1.8 points playing behind projected 2013 NBA lottery pick and fellow D.C.-area native Victor Oladipo.
"I'm feeling great. I've been feeling great since last year," Creek said of his current physical condition. "No pain, no injuries...The people at Indiana helped take care of me. Without their help and their motivation, encouragement, I wouldn't be here today. ...I feel like I'm all the way back."
The Colonials return rising sophomore guards Joe McDonald, Patricio Garino and Kethan Savage plus center Kevin Lasren. The quartet combined for 103 starts as freshmen and helped lead George Washington reach the Atlantic 10 Tournament for the first time since 2007. The Colonials defeated CAA champion James Madison and during the second half of the regular season lost to NCAA Tournament teams Temple and Butler by a combined five points. Forward Isaiah Armwood, George Washington's leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, also returns for his senior season.
George Washington also needed more guard depth following the graduation of key reserve Bryan Bynes, Lasan Kromah leaving for Connecticut as a graduate transfer and 2013 recruit Nigel Johnson decommiting to sign with Kansas State. Guards Miguel Cartagena and Nick Griffin, a 6-foot-2 shooting guard who played at Magruder, are part of the incoming 2013 class.
Forward David Pellom, who missed the entire 2012-13 season with a wrist injury, and seldom-used forward Jonathan Davis also transferred out of the program since the season ended with Pellom landing at Memphis.
Creek, who visited GW before making his decision, played two seasons at Oxon Hill before transferring to South Kent (Ct.) for his junior year of High School and then finished at Hargrave Military Academy where he became a first-team Prep School All-American.
The rangy Creek's skill set fits in with Lonergan's emphasis on fundamentals and defense. Last season the coach also emphasized a youth movement plan to give the Foggy Bottom program a jump-start. Lonergan started start four freshman for much of the season including McDonald (7.5 ppg, 3.2 apg) and the 6-foot-6 Garino (8.8 ppg, 2.3 stls) for all 30 games.
"I like these guys," Creek said of Lonergan and his coaching staff. "They're going to do everything to put myself and this team in the right direction. I just want to be part of the right direction."