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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: June 2008

Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 class not complete?

Dago Pena, a Rivals150 prospect who recently asked for release from his commitment to Florida Atlantic was rumored to be visiting George Mason campus last week. Pena was referred to Fairfax from a former Mason player in Sammy Hernandez who now plays at FAU. Pena decided against playing at FAU after a coaching change. Apparently under the rules for this type of situation you are only allowed 3 visits and Mason was Pena's first choice. Keep in mind Mason still has an open scholarship they can offer and Pena at the small forward position would be a great addition to an already highly touted recruiting class. Every scouting website I have come across has this kid rated highly. From the analysis he seems to be a perimeter type player who has three-point range, a perfect Larranaga-guy. It would really be nice to have more of a true small forward guy at the 3 position, something really hasn't had in awhile.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Because you can't hype up the future enough...

I came across this last night as I was watching the NBA crapshot draft, a ranking of the nation's top 1000 seniors (recruiting class of 2008) from And that's not a typo, this guy actually ranks the top 1000 seniors across America. In terms of being a mid-major team and in the CAA we should be very pleased:
103. Ryan Pearson
117. Andre Cornelius
231. Kevin Foster
287. Michael Morrison
Out of the entire CAA class, Mason has the top two players and the best overall class according to these rankings. I try not to get too excited over rankings like this because they don't really mean much and are far from an exact science but hey it's still June. I am still trying to ponder between who we will see more minutes next season, Pearson or Cornelius. The easy answer is Pearson because of the loss of Thomas but typically Larranaga seems less reluctant to throw freshman forwards into the mix early as opposed to guards. Cornelius' might see more minutes if Dre Smith or Isaiah Tate do not produce. If Dre and Cornelius are both on the court, that's a pretty small lineup so that might hurt his chances for playing time.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fresno State: You're not the next George Mason

The College Baseball World Series ended last night with the Fresno State defeating Georgia 6-1. Now all the sudden they are being written up as cinderella heroes who were much bigger underdogs than the 2006 George Mason basketball team. Luke Winn of writes:

"The No. 4 slotting they received in the 64-team field was equivalent to a 13-16 seeding March Madness parlance, which means they were bigger long-shots than Villanova winning a basketball national title in 1988 or George Mason reaching a Final Four in 2006. With a final record of 47-31, Fresno finished with the most losses of any national champ in history."

I'm no college baseball ethusiast but last time I checked the men's basketball tournament had 64 teams too so I am not understanding how being a #4 seed makes you a huge underdog.

"What Fresno is doing at the very instant I write these words is as if a 13-seed somehow marched all the way through the NCAA basketball tournament and found itself in the title game."
I think it's funny how these writers are comparing such a feat to having success in the NCAA basketball tournament, which unlike the CWS actually has people watching it. Fresno State isn't American's darling like a small mid-major school taken down big conference giants. I mean wheres the pressure? Did they play in front of a massive crowd in the RCA dome along with millions watching on TV do win the championship? I mean how many casual sports fans even knew that Fresno State was even in the tournament? Was CBS shelling out billions to lock up the rights to broadcast the CWS recently? I don't think so. Now comparing them to Disney's Mighty Ducks, that I am OK with.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wizards bring in Thomas

Looks like Folarin Campbell wasn't the only Patriot getting a workout from the Wizards. Will Thomas worked out for the Wizards yesterday, which is interesting considering he already made a commitment to play in Belgium. The workout comes as a shock to me as I would have figured NBA teams would shun Thomas for being undersized and not very versatile away from the basket. Kudos to the Wiz for looking beyond that and seeing his amazing defensive presence and work ethic. When your hometown NBA team comes knocking, you answer. You can watch videos of his workouts here, where he is wearing a #2 black jersey along side Donte Greene from Syracuse and Will Daniels from Rhode Island. It's hard to put too much stock into a workout for any team 2 days before the draft but I think I speak for most Mason fans when I say I am just happy Big Will is getting the respect he deserves.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Will Thomas headed for Belgium

I knew it would not take long for Thomas to land somewhere overseas to play professionally, especially since his name was recently mentioned on by John Hollinger as a college big man headed to the pros. Hollinger mentions Will in the "better update that passport section" and he is indeed correct as has reported that he will be playing in Belgium for Liege:

"Liege Transfer News Will Thomas by Peter Buyse - Jun 20, 2008

Seems it did not take long for Liege to replace the departing Stephane Pelle since today they announced the arrival of George Mason's Will Thomas (201-F-86). Thomas was selected first-team All-CAA in 2007-08 and was named to the CAA All-Defensive Team for the third straight season. He was runner-up for both the CAA Player of the Year and CAA Defensive Player of the Year. Averaged 16.1 ppg and10.4 rpg during his senior year. His 10.4 rpg placed him first on the CAA top rebounders

Here is a more indepth article which compares him to the Mason legend George Evans, and which according to my Google Translator is written in French. They speak French in Belgium?

Some of you reading this might wonder why he was not even worked out by any NBA teams like Folarin Campbell was but the fact remains that Will Thomas just is not built for the NBA. Sure there were times that he dominated future NBA players but let's face it the NCAA is not the NBA, it's just a different style of the game entirely in my opinion. It doesn't help either that Thomas was undersized even by college standards; I mean honestly there are shooting guards at his height in the NBA. His lack of athletism and shooting range were his downfall but he will make up for that with his hard work in the posts while in Belgium. More likely than not fans next season will notice Will's absence more than anything and it will be interesting to see which of the young forwards steps up to the challenge.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Campbell works out for Wizards

Much like his fellow Final Four brothers, Folarin Campbell has gotten a chance to show the Washington Wizards his stuff. Campbell worked out for the Wizards yesterday at the Verizon Center in hopes of landing a spot on the summer league squad. If you remember two years ago, Lamar Butler and Tony Skinn had their chance with the Wizards but failed to make the summer league team. Skinn a year later was able to land a spot on the Orlando Magic's summer league team. Out of all the players from that Final Four squad I always thought that Campbell had the best chance out of any to make an NBA roster because of his combination of size and versatility to play multiple positions. Unlike Butler and Skinn, Campbell has the size (6'4") that most teams look for in a guard. Will he make the cut? Probably not but after his memorable career at Mason it's good to see guys like him and Will getting their shots other than France or Saudi Arabia.

Friday, June 13, 2008

New look for Patriots in '08-'09

Don't ask me why, but rumor has it that Mason is going to be wearing new uniforms next season. It would seem that Mason is following the new fashion trends in the college basketball world by sporting new unis part of the Nike "system of dress" collection. And no, I am not kidding. The uniforms are apparently going to look similar to that which West Virginia wore last season. These aren't to be confused with the ones on the "system of dress" website that look like they were ripped off from the movie Blade Runner. But then again I think those would go well with the shooting sleeve Dre Smith and Vlad wore occasionally last season. Oh Vlad, you don't need cool accessories to win us over, just make threes! Renovations to the Patriot Center and new uniforms in the same year? Kudos Merten, kudos.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Coach L for President

Oh the George Mason University bookstore never stops the creativity, even during the long days of summer. I must say I did enjoy what they came up with on the "Mason Nation wants you" shirts, even though the school's politically incorrectness correctness forced the "Patriot's" face to be colored in green and gold. But today you can find the bookstore's latest creation that features Coach Larranaga being immortalized on his very own t-shirt design. Although I don't see anyone actually buying this t-shirt I do appreciate the bookstore in keeping up with new basketball related items. The face of George Mason University might as well have his own t-shirt despite most fans demanding a statue be erected in his honor after the '06 Final Four run. Oh those bandwagon fans, what will they think of next. But hey, as long as I am seeing basketball related t-shirts in the bookstore that don't feature Gunston, I'm happy.


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