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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: May 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Leading the way on mid-major recruiting

Over the last two years I've been gushing about how well Larranaga and his staff have been recruiting, grabbing players like Ryan Pearson and Andre Cornelius who could be playing on BCS teams right now. Last week Antonio Williams of ESPN and Scouts Inc. tabbed Mason #1 on his list of top mid-major recruiting. Williams seems to be high on Sherrod Wright and it's exciting to hear more about his ability to get to the rim. Johnnie Williams being referred to as a "dominant post player" really makes you hope the next Will Thomas is being groomed. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, the squad is packed with talent but chemistry is something you can't get overnight. What I'm really excited about is the depth this squad is building, and that is something that is really a luxury most mid-major teams don't have.


Yahoo ranks Larranaga in Top 5

Some good press for Coach Larranaga from Yahoo sports:

"3. Jim Larranaga, George Mason: Jim Larranaga -- two "r's", one "n"; you can spell this right Eamonn, you can do this -- is known nationally for one thing: 2005-06. That's the year the Larranaga-coached George Mason Patriots made their legendary run from a No. 11 seed to the Final Four, the year they beat Michigan State, North Carolina, and UConn on their way there, the year that helped reaffirm everyone's faith (not that it was ever lost) that in the NCAA tournament, anything can happen. Larranaga was the architect, and for that alone he deserves inclusion on the list.

That might be selling him slightly short, though. Larranaga's teams are consistently competitive. They've been to the tournament three other time, and would have gone to two more were it not for Eric Maynor's recent dominance. He's more than a one-hit wonder. There's a reason the 2005-06 team happened. It wasn't a fluke. It was Larranaga."


Friday, May 08, 2009

Return of the scramble defense?

Coach Larrananga has always been a defensive guru and it has been the epicenter of his success for years. Older Mason basketball fans will remember the scramble defense as it is exciting to watch when executed properly and recently Larranaga has been hinting that is will be used more this season. Basically the scramble defense is an in-your-face type of approach and it emphasizes putting constant pressure on the ball handler. It's a man-to-man defense with trapping principals designed to take your opponents out of their offensive rhythm. As you can imagine it generates many steals and it was Mason's bread and butter in the late 90s. Recent post players Will Thomas, Jai Lewis, and Darryl Monroe weren't quite fitted for this type of defense as their games didn't involve leaving the paint often, so as a result we haven't seen the scramble much in recent seasons. Mason basketball legend George Evans made a killing in the scramble defense as a versatile forward and some might crucify me for this but I believe Ryan Pearson's game draws a slight resemblance. The talent and athletism are there on the roster for next season but experience is an issue and it will take time for the players to gel together when executing the scramble. But in any sense it's obvious Coach L now has the athletes needed to run this type of defense reguarly and irritate opponents all year long in the CAA.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Coach Larranaga has hip surgery, tweets about it

I had previously heard some rumors that Coach Larranaga was having hip replacement surgery, which made me sad thinking I might never see him dance to "Kryptonite" again. But thanks to Twitter (my new obsession) we can get updates on how the big L is doing:

Tweet on Coach, tweet on.

Oh by the way follow me on twitter,


Monday, May 04, 2009

School bookstore takes another crack at this replica jersey thing...

I really don't understand why it's so difficult for the school's bookstore to produce a decent looking replica basketball jersey at a fair price. They now sell the jersey above, a screen-printed version of the current Mason basketball jerseys. $55 is a steep price for these, the sleeves and font look wrong and it almost looks like a jersey worn by a 10 year-old in a rec league game. The bookstore has been trying since '06, but the result is always a ridiculously over-priced item, that often looks sloppily put together. For example, back in 2006 fresh off the Final Four, the bookstore took advantage of the demand and sold this jersey for $80:

Of course I bought it on impulse thinking I'd never see anything close to it every again. Seems like I was right but it definitely took a large chunk out of college lifestyle budget, which wasn't much. Shortly after I bought it, it ended up on the discounted clearance rank and I felt like a sucker so you can see my frustration.

I'm mostly angry because unlike other schools, there's really no where else to get Mason jersey's. I know Mason nation isn't exactly a huge fan base but the fact that I could probably piece together a better looking Mason basketball jersey myself with help from Eastbay and lettering companies, is pretty sad.

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