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George Mason basketball goes as Cam Long goes

George Mason Basketball: George Mason basketball goes as Cam Long goes

Monday, February 22, 2010

George Mason basketball goes as Cam Long goes

The numbers just don't lie. During Mason's seven-game winning streak in January Cam Long was averaging over 19 points a game with a lot of those points coming in the 2nd half. Currently the Patriots are losers of five of their last six and during those five losses Long has averaged 7.4 points a game. The correlation between Long's performances and the losses are not a surprise and it highlights the fact that this team needs stability from the few veterans players it has. Mason is just a better team when Long is the leading scorer and the problem is other teams have discovered this as well. After he overcame the problems with cramps and the switch from the point to a more of a shooting guard role you would that thought he would only be getting better and so would the Patriots. The argument can be made that the Patriots did overachieve earlier this season and that seven-game win streak came against most of the bottom of the CAA but haven't we made enough excuses for this team already? Some great performances by freshmen guys have some hidden the fact that this just might not be a top four team in the CAA currently and they have a ways to go before they are. The current losing cannot be blamed solely on Cam Long and perhaps the pressure and fatigue of often having to shoulder the scoring load has gotten to him. When they have been behind in a games this season they have rarely fought back without Long leading the charge. The team seems to have a more up beat tempo when he's scoring points and lately we have seen a slower paced team struggling with half-court sets on offense. Something needs to change because Mason is limping into the CAA tournament at a time when you hope your team is getting hot.


Blogger variaban said...

I think freshmen should be starters for their next two games if Cam doesn't have the "heart" to play. That's just the dumbest thing i've heard honestly. How is watching high school ball going to help him? He's needs to just tell himself he can play.

11:58 AM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

How can anyone question someone's "heart." This is basketball people, that's all. Cam is obviously in a slump. And yes, it is a slump. When Cam's only taking 9 shots per game, this has now become a mental thing and he is afraid of missing. Maybe you guys need to do some research and realize even the best college players get into slumps. Everyone just needs to get over it and move on, just as I trust Cam will.

12:12 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I never said anything about heart or him watching high school tape. Don't know where your getting that from.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Brock said...

Ryan - it was in the comments from your CoC wrap up. Apparently, that was said during the ESPN2 broadcast.

12:32 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

oh ok, thanks for clearing that up Brock

12:35 PM  
Blogger eaymar said...

I don't think it has anything to do with "making excuses;" it's more an acceptance of current reality. This is a team whose leadership is three sophomores and a junior, and their greatest asset is potential. Larranaga said himself this season would be a rollercoaster, and it has been. We're finding out some nice things, and the errors they've made will be corrected. It's just a year to take some lumps; we'll give them back (and then some) for the next three years. College basketball goes through MASON.

2:01 PM  
Blogger variaban said...

G&G, I wasn't questioning his heart, Cam made the comment himself.
I think he's a good player but I don't think he's the franchise player everyone makes him out to be. Great players have 1 or 2 game slumps, maybe even 3, not 6 or 7. I wish his minutes were dropped a little more in favor of some of the younger guys.
Then again, I don't know anything about coaching college ball and these guys are sitting right where the coaches expected them to be in the pre-season polls, 4th place.

Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the beatdowns we should be handing out next year and on.

3:26 PM  
Blogger Reston Irregular said...

GMU wins when it plays good defense. CoC was simply more than GMU could handle. They shot as well or better than any team in the Patriot Center in many years. GMU's guards (Long, Cornelius, and Tate) simply could not stay with the CoC guards. If you want to find fault with Long, you should start with the defensive end, where he struggles against almost any good guard.
GMU runs almost no plays for Long. When he scores, it's on the break or at the end of the game when GMU gets him the ball and lets him do his thing. I don't disagree with the strategy, but you can't expect Long to score consistently when the offense is designed to help other players score.
If GMU is going to accomplish something over the rest of the season, they need to play better defense and they need to become more efficient at the offensive end. Given that Coach L has yet to find a convincing lineup and rotation, neither of those things is a sure thing.
Offensive efficiency will probably require a little outside shooting, enough to keep other teams honest. So far none of the guards who have logged significant minutes seems capable of scoring consistently from the outside, however. If either Whack or Vaughans can shoot from the outside with any consistency, they could end of playing a lot more next year than one might have imagined.

4:57 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

It's amazing how everyone makes excuses for freshmen and sophmores(youth) ignores Tate and Birdsong, and blames Long. The truth of the matter is what I said in preseason-individual talent does not make a great TEAM-the chemistry is just not there. Maybe when Tate, Long and Birdsong graduate, then there will be chemistry. We will just have to wait and see. VARIBIAN-I didn't know there was a set # associated with slumps. Oh yeah, reduce his Cam's minutes- now that's a wonderful way to help one's confidence. Besides, have you noticed what happens when Cam is out of the game? The freshmen show flashes of brillance and then Nothing.... Larranaga's self-fulfilling prophecy: "a rollercoaster season"
EAYMAR-said it best-it's a year of lumps!

7:10 PM  
Blogger Trent said...

Let's keep in mind that a Delaware win (most likely), a victory over Northeastern, and other events out of their control, puts this team at the top of the conference.

It's been a rough stretch, and this team is hurting. But folks should not overlook there's still the potential for a run. If the veterans can catch-up with the freshmen, then we might have something cooking.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Deli said...

That's the spirit Trent!!! Glad to finally see somebody showing some kind of optimism!!! We are only two games from the end of the season and still sitting in the top four. What more can you ask out of these young guys. Let's go Mason!!!

12:50 AM  
Blogger variaban said...

variaban, not varibian...
Anyways, no, there is no set number of games to get over a slump, you don't need to get sensitive man. We're both rooting for the same team. My point was that great players get over them much faster, I have nothing against him and like him just as much as the next Patriot fan, I cheer for him just as hard as anyone else on the team, I just feel like he is just as inconsistant as the freshmen and sophmores, which are not as inconsistant as they were. Therefore his playing time needs to be split amongst them too, kind of like how Coach L had the "Green Team" from back in the George Evans days and a year or two after, only these guys are better talent that are starting to mesh together, so it should be more effective.
I feel similar to what Trent wrote, the vets have to play some catch up to the young ones.

It's just my opinion, that's all.

If they win their upcoming games, that would be great! If not, that's ok too, I'm still gonna like them, lol.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

I do agree with Reston Irregular, defense has been more important this season and lately there has been too many breakdowns. Giving up 80+ at home to anyone just usually never happens under Coach L.

8:55 AM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

I'm trying to be optimistic but am having trouble seeing that Northeastern game as a win right now. Hell, I don't even feel confident we will beat Delaware.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Okay here's the lowdown on "youth minutes" in the CAA. I did not poll all the teams, just the contenders mostly.


Hof 1997 (6)
JMU 1798 (5)
GMU 1768 (7)
NE 1116 (7)
WM 663 (4)
VCU 454 (4)
ODU 108 (3)


GMU 2102 (4)
WM 1552 (3)
ODU 1468 (4)
JMU 1156 (4)
VCU 935 (2)
NE 26 (1)
Hof 0 (0)


GMU 3870 (11)
JMU 2954 (9)
WM 2215 (7)
Hof 1997 (6)
ODU 1576 (7)
VCU 1468 (7)
NE 1142 (8)

Based on that, I would say we are definitely the youth movement team in the CAA, and as you can see, the other teams at the top of the standings this year have less of a youth wave on the way. So, even as we remain in the running this year, the future for us looks bright indeed!

5:43 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Good stuff, Rick. Nice to have the numbers. Thank you. No surprises there.
If you believe in Coach L and his ability to develop teams (not just players) then it's going to be fun to watch the next couple of years.

6:01 PM  

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