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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Doc Nix should replace Gunston as mascot

Michael Nickens became Mason's new prep band director last year and had fans wondering why a Pimp had taken over this position. Nickens, more commonly known to the Mason faithful as "Doc Nix", brought new life to the Patriot Center crowd this past season and now even has his own bobblehead! Nickens also works with Thomas Edison High School’s Marching Band, located in Alexandria, VA and as a fund raiser he created bobbleheads of himself (Kryptonite Kane included) to sell for $10 a pop. Sure the thing might resemble Cheech Marin in a Pimp suit but what the hey I'd buy one. It's definitely a better bobblehead than the Gunston one I received at a home game a couple years ago, then used to take out my anger by smashing to pieces shortly after the GMU-Hofstra CAA semi-finals debacle in 2006. If smashing a Gunston bobblehead is wrong I don't want to be right.

Which brings to up the point I am trying to make. Doc Nix, decked out in his full attire makes such a better mascot than Gunston for the Patriots. It's not a Patriot but it's also not a confusing, poor man's green cookie monster either. Unlike Gunston, Doc Nix actually gets the Mason crowd fired up and all the students love him. And I'm not just saying this because he added me as a friend on Facebook. Gunston is a symbol of the old GMU days when we were a school tucked away in Fairfax that no one knew about; Doc Nix represents the new look of Mason with pride, spirit and cheer that was lacking for many years.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Will new 3-point Line Hurt the Patriots?

Last week the NCAA men's basketball panel approved moving the three point line back a foot for the 2008-2009 season. This move comes from the panel in an attempt to prevent excess crowding around the basket but it won't do much to help that problem. Many coaches feel its a long time coming since the line was implemented in the late 80s because players seem to hit more every year with a little too much ease. But will this change hurt mid-major teams such as the Patriots, who live and die by the three point at times and rely on it to cause upsets in the tournament. A lot of mid-major teams compensate for the fact that they are undersized when going up against big name programs by raining three-pointers. You see it every year in the tournament; its how Davidson almost upset Maryland this past March. And thats because mid-major teams will sometimes have the better pure shooters on their team because thats all they can do. Big schools will always take the flashy wingman who create and drive the lane over a slow kid who makes a living behind the arc but can't ball handle or play defense. Coach L has always brought in three-point shooting talent and this years class is no different. Most coaches will probably tell you that the change does not really effect a players shooting percentage because almost all Division I kids can hit threes from 20 feet 9 inches just as they could from 19 feet 9 inches. And thats all well and good but don't forget about the changes on defense that this could present.

A defense guru like Larranaga should have no trouble making necessary adjustments to his schemes due to the extra space inside the arch but there could be some growing pains. One can remember how difficult it seemed at times last season for the Patriots to defend the three-point shot. This new change doesn't exactly make things easier for them; as the increase in area will make it more difficult to close out on shooters, creating more wide-open looks. We can only hope this change will not farther the gap between majors and mid-majors, but that seems to be the likely outcome in the long run.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Threatt Completes Recruiting Class

It appears that Coach Larranaga has decided to use his last available scholarship on Jay Threatt, a talented ball-handler from Highland Springs, Virginia. It was uncertain if Larranaga was going to use this scholarship to sign a fourth recruit for his 2007 class or save it for next season but now Richmond area periodicals are reporting that it is a done deal. Threatt has been on Larranaga's radar for awhile after an impressive senior year that included a performance against fellow Mason signee Cameron Long that made his stock rise. What is interesting about this signing is that Threatt is a very similar player to other two guards in Mason 2007 recruiting class. Hes a 5'8" point guard with excellent three-point shooting skills, but his ball handling skills are what probably got Coach L interested. Is it just me or does this team already have enough guards and not enough depth in the front court? Guard is always the key to any great mid-major school but with guys like Will Thomas and Monroe gone after next season I don't understand why Larranaga isn't bringing in some big bodies to groom as replacements. But I do understand how important it is to have enough ball-handlers on the team, especially when watching the CAA tournament final this past March. You can never have enough three-pointer shooters in college basketball, its a valuable asset to a team and Larranaga has made this a point of emphasis in recent recruiting.

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