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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: September 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Patriots get commitment from 6'9" Jonathan Arledge

The announcement comes via Capitol Hoops, and it's a quite a pick-up for the Patriots. Jonathan Arledge (profile) is a 6'9" 220lb forward who Mason apparently was on to early then blew up on the scene, showing just how well they continue to recruit.

The Washington Post adds this:
"KIMA forward Jonathan Arledge, scheduled to visit Georgetown next weekend, went ahead and committed to George Mason, a huge get for the Patriots, who have been after Arledge for some time.

"He took two unofficials [to Georgetown] and he liked it but he just really liked George Mason," KIMA Coach Levet Brown said. "He felt he fit there and they've been recruiting him since he was a junior.

"He got tired of the whole process and he loved George Mason on the visit. He was supposed to visit Georgetown on October 2 and they claimed they were going to offer, but he got tired of it. That's it for him."

Labels: previews Mason at #66 in their top 144 team countdown is in the middle of their top 144 teams for 2009-10 countdown and have tabbed Mason at #66 in the country (#2 in the CAA). Like other previews they note the teams youth and inexperience but seem to like to potential for growth during the season that turns into dividends late. I agree with this assessment but I just don't know how long this growth could take. On paper the talent is near tops in the CAA but how Larranaga uses that talent I think will have a great impact on this year's squad. For instance, we know freshmen Johnny Williams and Sherrod Wright can score but can they defend at this level? How much did Kevin Foster improve from his season as a redshirt? Is Cam Long running the point full time or will Andre Cornelius handle most of those duties? Who can will fill in at the guard spots left vacant by John Vaughan and Dre Smith? Those questions could be answered earlier than we think. I believe the main difference between this year's squad and last year's will be the depth. The team won't be leaning on the starters too heavily as the quality on the bench could be the teams strongest asset.

I find the preview to be a little misguided, mostly because the writer seems to think freshman Paris Bennett will be a starter. Even if I overlooked the fact that Coach Larranaga almost never starts true freshman early I wouldn't project Bennett to even get more playing time then Johnny Williams or Sherrod Wright. That is also not taking into account redshirt freshman Kevin Foster, who I could definitely see starting early because of his knowledge of Larranaga's system and his versatility. Coach L has mentioned that Foster can play almost anywhere on the floor but that remains to be seen. I really don't see how Mike Morrison could be left out the starting lineup, especially with how he finished late last season. But Coach L rarely boosts lineups that include three forwards, so a starting lineup including Birdsong, Pearson and Morrison seems unlikely.


Monday, September 21, 2009

CAA Hoops previews Mason basketball for '09-'10

CAA hoops guru Michael Litos has started his previews for this upcoming season and slates Mason as #3:
"Key for Mason: Maturity, plain and simple. It is maturity on three levels: the junior (Cam Long) and the senior (Lou Birdsong) have to be leaders; the sophomores have to take that important step (Ryan Pearson, Mike Morrison, Andre Cornelius); and the freshmen have to be mature enough to be ready to play.

The talent is there, but a team with this construction of skill and youth risks becoming a band of individuals."

Words you be hearing a lot this season: maturity, experience, and talent. I couldn't agree more with what Litos says in his analysis, as he points out the importance of Cam Long and Andre Cornelius this season:

"Every great team needs “that guy.” Long led the Patriots in scoring, assists, steals, and three point percentage, and finished second in rebounding and free throw percentage. In fact his three point accuracy (46-104, 40.4%) was third in the conference. Good enough, eh? This season, it may be about making big shots late"

On Andre Cornelius:

"He will be on the floor because he can distribute the ball and plays in-your-jersey defense, and he can get inside a defense to cause trouble. But if Mason is to be very successful on offense, one of two things will need to occur. First, they will have to get out and run (Larranaga is already talking about that). Or, somebody will have to shoot the ball consistently from deep or they will see 47 zones defenses that never leave the paint and we will see a lot of 56-52 games. Cornelius can trigger either option"
Read the rest of his post here.

Stay tuned for my own preview of this upcoming season.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

ESPN spotlights freshman Johnnie Williams

ESPN's Summer Shootaround section just featured their "Best of the Rest" highlighting mid-major programs across the country. The article labels Mason freshman Johnnie Williams as a one of their "10 freshmen we can't wait to see":
"He is a big body with excellent skill for his size. Williams has comfortable range from 15 to 17 feet and in, but can knock down an open 3 with time and space. However, he is best known for his ability to punish defenders in the lane, where he has good hands and touch around the basket. The versatile forward should produce points, rebounds and matchup problems right away for coach Jim Larranaga."

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