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How much of an impact will Morrison's suspension have on this team?

George Mason Basketball: How much of an impact will Morrison's suspension have on this team?

Monday, February 15, 2010

How much of an impact will Morrison's suspension have on this team?

The Patriots dropped a big one on Saturday in Norfolk and now try to regroup at home against William & Mary on Tuesday. We already know they will be without Mike Morrison after he picked up his 3rd and 4th career technical fouls Saturday but the suspension comes from the CAA per their guidelines, while George Mason University gave him the additional game. Lucky for the Patriots one of the two games is a non-conference game. However it could not have come at a worse time for Mason because after losing to ODU they now need a victory against William & Mary to help ensure they won't be playing a Friday game in the CAA tournament next month.

Morrison brings a fiery and charismatic attitude to the Patriot Center and often feeds off the home crowd. Although he might not always be leading Mason on the stat sheet, his alley-oops and dunks seem to always be a part of the many comebacks we have seen in Fairfax this year. Mason has won many games this season without Mike contributing much so to say this is a huge disadvantage might not be accurate. The issue as I see it is that the team has lacked stability all season long and this is just another speed bump at a bad time. When starters Ryan Pearson and Andre Cornelius were benched by Larranaga for the GW game, we saw no one else really step up when the team needed it. Might that be the resulting effect in this situation? The Patriots cannot afford to let that happen Tuesday night.

Make no mistake though, the Patriots can win without him, especially against a team like William & Mary that doesn't have much of an inside presence. However, Big Mike is great in transition and his ability to run the floor will be greatly missed against a slower Tribe team. Even if Morrison was playing in this one I'd still be saying this game is all about how Long, Tate, and Cornelius defend the Tribe's outside shooting. With or without Morrison another five point performance from Cam Long just isn't going to cut it, the scoring drought on Saturday was just plain awful. Someone else besides Long, Cornelius, and Pearson has to contribute on the scoreboard. The bench play for Mason has been up and down and they need to right the ship in this area if they want to finish in the top 4 of the CAA. Louis Birdsong and Johnny Williams will need to do more than they did against ODU, especially on the boards. The Patriots aren't a great rebounding team to begin with and now they won't have their 2nd leading rebounder against a team that loves to take a lot of outside shots. Perimeter defense will be more of an issue for Mason Tuesday night but they cannot allow the Tribe to get more three-point chances.


Blogger variaban said...


2:14 PM  
Blogger Reston Irregular said...

Cornelius, Pearson and Morrison are playing like sophmores. They are inconsistent. They have talent and have learned a few things, but the league has figured them out, Pearson in particular. They all need to refine and simplify their games -- identify the things they do best and concentrate on them. Both Morrison and Pearson need to work on their moves around their basket and, especially, improve their rebounding. I suspect that, despite the inconsistency, they are ahead of players like Jai Lewis in his sophmore year.
The big difference this year is that GMU has no veteran core and has to play some of the youngsters. In past years, Coach L could fit young players into a reasonably well functioning team. If they did well, they got more time. If they didn't they came out. Tate, Long and Birdsong, however, do not a core make.
The team can be hard to watch and who knows how well they will do over the rest of the season, but seriously did anyone expect them to do as well as they have so far.

4:12 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Not having Morrison will hurt short term, but long term, perhaps he learns what it really takes to play- night in and night out and maybe grows up a bit. It also gives Johnny Williams some minutes which is a good thing.
Tribe will jump all over Cam. He has to attack if they extend out to him. If they zone, he has to knock down the Jim McKays.

6:05 PM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

I agree with both Reston and What not. Yes, GMU needs a big man's coach teaching these guys "big man moves" The jump hook by Morrison and the whirly dirly spend moves of Pearson are second hand news at this point. That being said-hey how about some new plays? This team is very athletic. They should have run ODU(as we were outsized) and they have to run William and Mary. Playing this set inside offense for damn near 40 minutes is not only boring but often leads to losses or near losses. GMU inside guys are not very good passers. This cripples the play of our perimeter guys and slows down the offense. I also think the current sophmores and freshmen disciplinary problems is all attitude. If anyone watched the video of KRAM you would know what I am talking a about. They are mischievous youngsters who came into this program at an opportune time-lots of vacancies needed to be filled. GMU will take care of business without Mike if they identify opponents they can out run and implement that strategy. If we play William and Mary ball(which is GMU ball) we are in for a long night tomorrow!

7:32 PM  
Blogger's good for you. said...

Expect good games tomorrow night from a couple young guys who provide sparks: Hancock & Wright. I think Williams will provide some rebounds and some easy baskets, when given a chance. Let's not throw in the towel yet. Morrison's absence hurts, but it's his doing...he'll grow up. Sophomore itself means "witty fool" - that's what we're seeing from our main trio of Mike, Andre, and Pearson.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Brent said...

I was at the ODU game and boy was it dissappointing. Something that I was frustrated with was Laranaga's use of his bench and switching things up. Birdsong has been a spark recently, but he was barely in for the first half. Foster came in late in the second and played extremely well albeit in scrap time. I don't even think Sherrod Wright played more than 5 minutes the first half and he is maybe the second best penetrator next to Cam. But how many times this season have we seen Mason go on long dry spells this season.

We also have arguablly the most athletic team in the conference and we RARELY full court press. In a game where we were pretty much out of it, why didn't Laranaga try it before 5 minutes left in the game!!? At least he could have found out if we can execute it or not.

Have most of you forgotten that against Drexel and VCU Morrison scored 17 and 18 points? He is starting to become more dominant (still a ways to go) but at 6'9 he has such a high ceiling of ability. His 3 blocks against ODU were amazing. I think Pearson is a scrapper and is more consistent, but Morrison could really be great.

This will be a great learning season for the 3 sophmores regardless. And I still believe Johnny Williams is going to be a stud, but he looked very shell shocked after missing a few easy ones. I hope that game didn't stunt his growth.

10:37 PM  
Blogger What Not said...

Brann, I think sophomore is "wise fool" but I agree with you, Mo will get better and Hancock will help and get better as well. I also agree with G&G. They have to push the ball up the floor more (maybe a consistent point guard would help, kind of unfair to expect Cam to do it all). But they do have opportunities to at least push it quickly past half court and put pressure on the opposing teams D. And I'd like to see them press more, if only to wake themselves up and move their feet. I don't know why L has gone away from it- it won a lot of games for him over the years. It used to define his teams.
And I know Coach knows his match ups but Birdsong is a scoring threat that could force the other teams to consider having to match up with him, instead of pulling Birdsong when HE doesn't match up defensively.
Johnny Williams gets a lot of good pt tonight. Will benefit him greatly in the long run.
Theme of this post is, TAKE IT TO THEM, not the other way around. They have nothing to lose this year but a lot to gain in maturity and confidence.

7:59 AM  
Blogger greenandgold said...

YES!!! What Not- ATTACK or be Attacked. Take IT To The Hole as often as possible even if it means dealing with Larranaga's wrath. RUN RUN RUN

11:09 AM  

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