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2010-2011 Season Preview Part I: The Freshmen

George Mason Basketball: 2010-2011 Season Preview Part I: The Freshmen

Thursday, October 07, 2010

2010-2011 Season Preview Part I: The Freshmen

As we countdown to Mason Madness and the official start to the season, we will be taking a look at this year's 2010-2011 George Mason squad on a class by class basis.  Feel free to chime in to praise or tear apart my analysis if you see fit.

We'll start with the freshmen class, Jonathan Arledge and Bryon Allen. I'm not going to include redshirt freshmen Paris Bennett and Vertrail Vaughns but just stick with the true freshmen for this preview.

Bryon Allen
I've been raving about Allen since the day he committed to the green and gold. He was formerly committed to Bob Huggins at West Virginia but they had to revoke the scholarship offer after a current WVU player earned a redshirt and returned to the team after injury. Allen was on the radar of a lot of big time schools after playing briefly at Oak Hill academy in Virginia.  He transferred to St. Thomas More for his senior year to play in the prep leagues and hone his skills. He went this route to play the point and be in a league that used a shot clock in order to get ready for his transition from high school to division I NCAA.  Allen has the size (6'3" 215 lbs) that Coach Larranaga covets in a guard (think Folarin Campbell) and seems to be the mold of a true point guard in the making, something this team is currently lacking.  

What can he bring to the team? I think Allen can eventually bring stability to the point guard position and allow players like Cam Long and Andre Cornelius to play more of the two spot were they are better suited.  His powerful frame and ability to create for his teammates makes him a big threat for the Patriots if he develops quickly.  He has the ability to score from the perimeter and attack the rim but how he plays the point guard position will ultimately determine how much we see of him on the court this year.  His high school coaching staff says he can contribute right away and from what we have seen in his summer league and Italy play he seems to already be up to the task.  

How much will we see of Allen this season? How he plays defense will be big factor in determining his minutes, but the squads lack of a true point guard also plays a role in this. Nevertheless Allen will need to improve defensively to cover Division I players but with his skills he should develop quickly.  Cam Long and Andre Cornelius are much better defenders at this point but Allen's ability to create for others could help him play around 15-19 minutes a game if not more. It might start off slowly but I believe by the season's end it will be clear that Allen is the team's starting point guard of the future.

Jonathan Arledge
Jonathan Arledge is a DC All-Met forward who comes to Mason this season a bit more raw than Bryon Allen but has a ton of potential. For starters he's 6'9" and has decent range outside of the paint and fits of the mold of forwards Larranaga has brought in to become elite CAA post players. He comes in with a bit more muscle than guys like Ryan Pearson or Mike Morrison had as freshmen so that should help his development. However I still believe Arledge is going to be a project for the staff this season, and that's not a bad thing.  

What can be bring to the team? Defense and versatility. After talking with his high school coach back in May all I heard about was Arledge's ability to be a defensive force, which was something you don't see much of in his highlights on YouTube. On his high school team at KIMA they always played man to man defense, no zones, and often Arledge had to guard someone much shorter and quicker than him. He always held his own and averaged about 2 steals a game to go along with his 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots. His ability to guard a variety of players will help him see the court more in Larranaga's system eventually. The defensive part of his game is most likely why Larranaga and his staff were so high on him from the beginning.

Now when talking about Arledge's versatility you can see from his high school highlights that he was not afraid to shot a three pointer here and there.  He actually had a decent shooting percentage from there but I feel his tendency to hang around the perimeter on offense won't quite help him make the transition at this level.  

How much of Arledge will we see this season? I don't think we will see a lot of Arledge this season, he's just a bit too raw in some areas.  Mike Morrison and Ryan Pearson are locked in as starters and Johnny Williams will see a lot more action this season now with Louis Birdsong gone. If he proves he can rebound and hang tough defensively in the paint I could see him earning more minutes as the season goes on. And let's not forget Pearson and Morrison often got into foul trouble last season which could also play a part in how much we see of Arledge this year.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice review, thanks! Look forward to your analysis of the other classes.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you might be giving Allen a little too much credit. There are still a lot of good guards on this roster even without Sherrod.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Yes but can they run the point? I think Allen has the potential going forward. We'll see.

12:35 PM  
Blogger C Hirsch said...

Saw Allen play some summer league at Georgetown. He is going to be good, I have no doubt.

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw Allen play during the summer as well. He reminds me of Wright. I hope with one exception-he thinks to pass first and shoot second

7:27 PM  

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