Soon after the NCAA bracket was announced, George Washington sophomore forward Kevin Larsen reached out to Memphis graduate student David Pellom, who was with the Colonials last season but did not play due to a wrist injury.
“I texted him and said ‘Good luck. You’re going to need it.’ ” he said.
The ninth-seeded Colonials (24-9) will face No. 8 Memphis (23-9) on Friday in Raleigh, N.C.
“They are a very good team, and they are well coached,” Larsen said of Memphis. “We have to play defense and just play together. That has been our motto all year. If we stick to that, we will win.”
Larsen grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, before he came to the United States to play two seasons of high school basketball at Montrose Christian in Rockville.
He is part of an international community at George Washington, just a few blocks from the State Department. And Larsen knows the NCAA tournament is also popular in some parts of Europe.
“Now everybody back home [in Denmark] knows about it,” Larsen said of March Madness.
But not everyone may know about Larsen, who played for Denmark’s U-18 national team. He is somewhat overlooked — if that’s possible for someone listed at 6-foot-10, 264 pounds — on a team that includes two players who have NCAA experience at power conference programs.
Graduate student guard Maurice Creek transferred from Indiana for his last college season, and redshirt senior forward Isaiah Armwood is in his second season at GW after playing at Villanova. Armwood is also a product of Montrose Christian, and Larsen has looked up to the 6-foot-9 Baltimore native the past two seasons.
Larsen is averaging 11.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, while Armwood is averaging 12.5 points and 8.5 rebounds.
“I told him this could be our last game together,” Larsen said of Armwood. “I don’t want that to be the case. He has helped me on my game and been like a big brother to me. I really want him to go out on good terms.”