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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: July 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BB&T Classic Update

I had mentioned in an earlier post that it looked like George Washington was going to be our opponent in this years BB&T Classic, but I've come to realize that's not happening. Instead of having the local teams play each other they are matching up Mason, Maryland, and GW with three different opponents. Makes no sense to me. Why can't this be an annual local rivalry tournament, wouldn't that draw more interest? Well anyway today in Andy Katz's insider blog he mentions that Mason's opponent in the BB&T Classic is in fact East Carolina.
"The love affair with the Patriots for TV, though is gone. The Patriots, who have nine of the top 10 back that played in the CAA tournament title game, should be co-favorites for the league title with VCU. But Mason couldn't get games better than Vermont and Dayton for its new home-and-home series. The BB&T Classic in D.C. got Mason a game with East Carolina. George Mason is in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando with Kansas State, N.C. State, Villanova, South Carolina, Central Florida, Penn State and Rider for what could be the best three games of its nonconference schedule."
Not really the news I wanted to hear, as our non-conference schedule is starting to look dreadful. Looks like after Drexel, Hofstra and ODU's non-conference success last year no one wants to play the CAA this season. I'm sure at least Gary Williams is happy.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kenner League Champs

The Nike "Jabbo" Kenner League is among the premier summer college basketball leagues in the country and is annually held at McDonough Arena on the Georgetown campus. Every year most of Mason's squad participates and mix it up for some glorified summer street-ball action. You will even see some NBAers as Jeff Green and James Lang played as well as Tony Skinn, who was supposedly a player-coach. It's always a great chance for the new recruits coming in to get some experience as Vlad Moldoveanu, Cameron Long, and Isaiah Tate all played. Most of Mason's players were on the championship Meyers & Alterman team, with the exception being Will Thomas. Kind of interesting that both teams made up by mostly Georgetown players and recruits were beaten in their own gym by a team that had mostly mid-major players.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scheduling Rumors

So far the word on the street is the beginning of our schedule will look something like this:

Friday, Nov 9 - Vermont (home opener)
Tues, Nov 13 - Cleveland State
Sat, Nov 17 - Dayton
Weds, Dec 5 - Hampton
Sun, Dec 30 - Liberty

I know what your thinking, wow we will never have an at-large chance with these guys on our schedule, but Dayton and Vermont could end up being solid RPI-opponents. Don't forget that we do play a stacked Kansas St. team in the Old Spice classic with the possibility of also playing Villanova. Also, the possibility of four consecutive home games in the beginning of the season is a luxury mid-major teams never see. Usually mids are on the road in the beginning of the season collecting game checks and getting hammered by powerhouses so they can pad the win column. Some people think its win-win, I think it totally sucks. Then again, why can't we pad the win column early in the year? Having consecutive home games this early helps Mason get into a rhythm and have confidence going into the conference schedule. Yes, it was cool to watch Mason last year on ESPN play Duke at Cameron, but that game did nothing but destroy confidence and rattle our young squad that was trying to find an identity from the previous years team. The big conferences schedule "cupcakes" teams early in the year to give their squads a tune-up, so why don't more mid-majors do it?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Best Game I've Ever Seen"

On paper, it was one of the most improbable upsets; George Mason defeating UConn in the 2006 Elite Eight. A game I was able to witness live after spending the night in the GMU field house waiting in line for tickets with my fellow students. Some might say I am biased in saying it was the greatest game I've ever seen, but let me tell you that I have seen my fair share of great games long before I was a Mason die hard. Even today the game it's still getting press as Stewart Mandel from has it as his choice for best game he's ever seen. I'll never forget the entire student section singing Livin' on a Prayer in unison and the near fist fights my friends and I almost got into with 40 year-old UConn fans during halftime.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Change of Heart

It's been an interesting off-season for the Virginia Tech basketball team as their players seem to all the sudden have a change of heart about playing there. The team has already seen Augustus Gilchrist go the prep school route, 2008 recruit Shamarr Bowden withdraw his commitment, and backup center Robert Krabbendam quit the team. But there's only one guy I care about in this situation and that is Nigel Munson, who has recently been granted a release from his scholarship with the intent to transfer to a Washington area team due to personal reasons. According to the Post's recruiting insider, Mason is in the running for him. Coach L offered to him in 2005 and he also got attention from Georgetown. Apparently all the local "Georges" are in the mix, as GW is now also being mentioned. Munson, another product of the Dematha Catholic juggernaut, was rated a 4-star recruit on and ranked #16 out of all 2006 point guards. He averaged about 11 minutes a game in his freshmen year at Tech and shot over 38% from the three-point line. The possibility of an ACC caliber player coming to Fairfax is exciting but how real of a chance does Mason have in getting him? I think the fact that Mason was going after him pretty strong in 2005 might be a huge factor but I can't count out Georgetown who we annually lose recruits to, well expect for Folarin Campbell. Mason would provide Munson with the opportunity to play right away but will that be enough?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Becoming a Threatt...

Jay Threatt, the last 2007 recruit signed by Mason is in trouble. Threatt is facing robbery and abduction charges in Richmond, where apparently he and two other teens held a 17-year-old boy at gunpoint looking for money. Authorities believe Threatt was the wheelman in this robbery possibly showing that his speed was not limited to the basketball court. Threatt is not able to enroll at George Mason until proceedings are completed but that probably won't matter because he will likely be dismissed from the team. This incident is similar to what happened with 2006 recruit Richard Flemming, whose scholarship was withdrawn by Larranaga following a summer incident. It will be interesting to see if that does happen will Larranaga try to sign someone before the summers over or hold on to the scholarship for a 2008 recruit. One possibly is local All-Met guard Deontay Twyman, who has committed Ball State but Coach Ronny Thompson could be on his way out, will Twyman bolt too? Twyman was also a football star and heavily recruited by Mason, getting him would be a major upgrade over Threatt. Washington Post recruiting insider Josh Barr speculates this as well.

I not too upset about losing a 5'8" guard, especially considering the depth Mason has going into next season. But Larranaga and his staff still put in a lot of effort in scouting and signing this kid that could have been used on someone else. I thought if we signed a 4th recruit this off-season it would've been a forward considering Monroe and Thomas are gone after next season. Now the scholarship can saved for next year giving the coaching staff some more options. I am almost wondering if Larranaga knew he was taking a chance on Threatt and that's why he was signed so late compared to the other recruits this off-season. Nevertheless, it's still a black-eye for the basketball program and the university.

Return of the Konkol

Scott Cherry might be heading out west but he will be replaced on Larranaga's staff by a familiar face. Eric Konkol, a Mason assistant coach from 2002-2005 returns to Fairfax after coaching high school basketball and a short stint at North Dakota State, where he resigned after about 2 months. An excellent scout and recruiter, Konkol is a great young coaching asset that already knows Larranaga's system. Losing Cherry was unfortunate but Mason does get back a great all-around basketball mind.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

BB&T Classic to Air on MASN

The BB&T Classic will be aired on MASN this year and not Comcast, thank god. If I had to listen to the college basketball "analysts" on Comcast call the games again I'd probably hang myself. The article mentions that the switch was made due to scheduling conflicts and the fact that MASN offered a greater subscriber base. MASN has a larger subscriber base than Comcast, who knew? I for one greatly enjoyed the amount of coverage MASN gave the Patriots last season and I'm hoping they won't drop us like Triple X radio did. It's not only the announcers that I liked but also that they would actually have some pre-game and post-game coverage. This was something Comcast never did because they always had the Redskins coverage or something else immediately after the game. Originally it seemed that Mason was going to be playing George Washington in this event but it looks like that match-ups and other teams are still waiting to be determined.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cherry Pickin'

It's now official, assistant coach Scott Cherry will be leaving Mason to coach at Western Kentucky next season. The decision is based on a new opportunity for Cherry but also for him to be able to move his family closer to home. I wish Cherry the best of luck and maybe we might see him back at Mason in the future, but this move really shakes up the coaching staff as only Chris Caputo and big Coach L himself remain on the staff from last season. Will they look to hire someone with experience or bring in a young fresh face? Cherry was known more for his offensive strategies while at Mason but was also Larranaga's recruiting coordinator. But lately recruiting is not something I am worried about as the talent is starting to come in, Chris Caputo has been doing a great job of getting that talent in the DC area.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Thursday Bullets

Monday, July 02, 2007

Skinn and Stokes Reunion

I'm sorry but I can't over look this. It's true, Tony Skinn and Loren Stokes are both going to be playing on the Orlando Magic summer league team. Their reunion represents a dark day in college basketball and the CAA when Skinn's below the belt punch to Stokes made national headlines thanks to a North Carolina news channel. Good thing Mason's historic run through the NCAA tournament occurred right after this so most people quickly forgot about that incident. But you can't tell me this isn't going to be awkward, even if Skinn apologized I doubt there isn't still some bad blood. But now they are professionals fighting for a chance to maybe get on an NBA roster for next season. According to the Magic's website they will be broadcasting the summer league games on the internet and will have players blogging about the games and their experiences. Hmmm, this could be interesting.

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