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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: August 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Larranaga's Contract

The Post has an article detailing Larranaga's new contract, thank you Freedom of Information Act. The contract is pretty damn awesome for a mid-major coach and might be the standard for other schools that don't want to lose their guy to the bigger conferences.
"According to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the university increased Larranaga's base salary to $525,000 from $375,000 as part of a three-year contract extension through the 2014-15 season."
And besides the 40% increase to his salary, the deal is full of bonuses and incentives:
"Besides the salary upgrade, Larranaga will continue to receive a $75,000 lump sum each year he remains at George Mason. He will also earn $10,000 per year if the Patriots win 19 regular season games and an additional $15,000 if they win 22.

Other bonuses include $52,500 for advancing to the NCAA tournament and $26,250 for each victory in the first two rounds. If the Patriots reach a region final, Larranaga would earn an additional $52,500. He would also receive $5,000 for being named CAA coach of the year; $10,000 for any national coach of the year honor; and bonuses based on percentages of his salary for players' academic performances."

I think most fans don't realize the magnitude of the deal, which solidifies the most important asset of any college basketball program. A head coach with job security is not something to overlook and does wonders for your recruiting game. The contract also promises more than just keeping the Big L in Fairfax:

"Under the new agreement, the university also pledged to spend up to $150,000 annually to increase the "profile and visibility" of the program by facilitating nonconference home games and participation in tournaments."

Yes, yes, yes oh god yes. Of course this is a pretty vague statement but I do feel it is something that Larranaga definitely pushed for when locking up this deal. I really want to see some decent names come to play us in Fairfax and we all want to see this program grow which why I am glad to see the university is making that a priority.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kyle Whelliston mid-major chat wrap-up

Whelliston of has got his chats going on again over at ESPN and here are some of the questions that had to do with the CAA and Mason.

John (Richmond, Va): Kyle, Can the CAA send two teams to the dance this year? Also who is your pick to win the CAA this year?

Kyle Whelliston: This is a really cloudy year in terms of forecasting -- just about everybody from the famous CAA Uprising Of 2006 has graduated. Old Dominion and VCU have the best overall returning talent, but I'm convinced Jim Larranaga is so good, he could mold a beer league team into CAA champions in five short months. Can never, ever, ever count GMU out.

Kyle Whelliston: As for two bids, it all comes down to nonconference play. I strongly believe that VCU deserved an at-large bid, but that the noncon losses came back and bit them.


Mike (NJ): Kyle, any chance Towson has a change to challange the VCUs and George Masons in the CAA in the next couple of years? How can Pat Kennedy rescue the Tigers?

Kyle Whelliston: He tried the quick-fix one-man-show transfer method, that didn't work. But there are some really positive signs -- first of all, pretty much everyone's back. Also, Pat's Cats have the fundamental building-block of what makes good mid-majors great, which is ball control (look at Siena, Butler, Drake and so on). Nobody is going to steal it and get out in transition on these guys. Once they get shooting and defense worked out, they'll be golden.


hugh frederick ,md: Kyle how do you think George Mason has done in recruiting and what is your assessment of their chances for the NCAAs in 2008-09?

Kyle Whelliston: PG Andre Cornelius and PF Ryan Pearson are going to be names we discuss a lot in the next four years. Christ the King is a brand name in prep hoops, and anytime you're not a Big East school and can nab one of its stars (Pearson), it's a huge deal. I don't think any other CAA school can touch that class. As for the NCAA's, there's no better elimination-game coach in the conference, so they'll be ready for another Richmond run.


My personal favorite is Kyle showing some love for the Patriots by stating that "Jim Larranaga is so good, he could mold a beer league team into CAA champions in five short months." Also it's nice to hear from someone other than myself that Mason has a recruiting class that no one else in the conference can touch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

New kids on the block

Courtesy of the newly released CAA media guide (PDF file), here is a look at the freshman joining the squad this year (page 13):
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/Previous School
2 Andre Cornelius G 5-10 169 Charlott e, N.C./Victory Christian
3 Kevin Foster F 6-7 206 Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen
5 Brian Henderson G 6-3 179 Gaithersburg, Md./MacGruder
10 Jimmy Nolan G 6-0 170 Plantation, Fla./Archbishop McCarthy
22 Michael Morrison F 6-9 215 St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood
24 Ryan Pearson F 6-6 220 Far Rockaway, N.Y./Christ the King
Keep in mind that Nolan and Henderson are walk-ons. A lot of talent in this group but also a lot of inexperience. 6 freshman is a lot for any program to harbor, let the learning process begin.


Friday, August 15, 2008 previews Mason has it's annual Top 144 teams in the country preview going on this summer and today Mason comes in at #102. Not surprising to see the Patriots at this spot considering all the question marks this team has leading into next season. What kind of impact will the return of Darryl Monroe have on this squad? How will seniors John Vaughan and Dre Smith fair in leading this team? What kind of production can we expect from the incoming freshman class? These are just a few of the questions I have coming into this season. I agree with the starting lineup they have projected which consists of Cam Long, John Vaughan, Dre Smith, Louis Birdsong, and Darryl Monroe. I think in this scenario Isaiah Tate would be the sixth man with Andre Cornelius also getting significant minutes. Also with this lineup I am interested to see how Cam Long takes over Folarin Campbell's duties from last season. Without a dominant front court anymore this will be a much different Patriots squad which will need strong play from the guards to be able to compete with the likes of VCU, ODU, and UNCW this upcoming season.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

First look at the schedule...

Ok, here is what we know the schedule will look like for this upcoming season so far:

Nov.15 - at Vermont
Nov.17 - BROWN
Nov.29 - Ohio U.
Dec.30 - at Dayton

at Hampton
at East Carolina
at Liberty
Mount St. Mary's

Nothing too exciting yet and I doubt we will see any major teams enter our out of conference schedule in the weeks to come. And honestly I don't mind that considering the inexperience of next season's team. It's definitely a transition year and these teams are not flashy but they also are not RPI killers. I would not mind seeing at least one top mid-major road game added, preferrably from the MVC or the A10 but that is wishful thinking at this point.


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