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Monroe Redshirts

George Mason Basketball: Monroe Redshirts

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Monroe Redshirts

Well I can't say that I did not see this one coming. Monroe, who has yet to play this year, is taking a medical redshirt and will be eligible for the '08-'09 season. I have mixed feelings about it and unsure of the impact not having Monroe for this season will have on the Patriots down the stretch. On the one hand we have experienced post player for next year after Thomas leaves but we also will have less depth in the front court this season. His redshirting kills off our last scholarship for 2008 but that only means that we will have a four person class in 2009. Another way to look at it is that we will have another senior next season, a valuable commodity for mid-majors.

Monroe had surgery on October 9th to discover the source of the discomfort in his toe. He obviously feels that he is not 100% and this is the right decision to make but I just hate the lack of depth it leaves the Patriots front court with. In the last couple of games we have seen the Patriots lack of depth at forward exposed and taken advantage of. Will Thomas has only really been in foul trouble once this season but the same can't be said for Birdsong or big Vlad. Chris Fleming really hasn't done much besides looking confused and has trouble guarding more athletic forwards. The problem is that Thomas is the only low post player on the team now with Monroe permanently on the sidelines. Birdsong plays his best when he's away from the basket and can use his athleticism to beat a bigger forward off the dribble. Not to say he can't step in there and rebound but he doesn't like to box out. Vlad is a typical European style big man who loves to step out and shoot. Unfortunately for him the shots have not been falling but he has shown at times that he can play some defense in the low post. If Vlad can start taking some smarter shots from the outside and connecting he could really open things up for the Patriots and create serious mismatches. At 6'10" he has a height advantage over almost anyone that will be guarding him in the CAA.

I really felt that Monroe coming back could give this time a boost after some rough play lately but now they have to move forward without the big man. This team already relies so much on Will Thomas that it would have great to see him rest a few more minutes each game if Monroe was back. It will also be interesting to see if Vlad and Birdsong can capitalize off Thomas' double teams like Monroe eventually did at the end of last season. If they can't they will be putting tremendous pressure on the guards, who besides Vaughan have been very inconsistent so far. The good news in all this is that the best teams in the CAA do not have huge threats at the low post, so I still feel like we have the advantage in that area.


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