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2010-2011 Season Preview Part III: The Juniors

George Mason Basketball: 2010-2011 Season Preview Part III: The Juniors

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

2010-2011 Season Preview Part III: The Juniors

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.

Previous Previews:
Part I: The Freshmen
Part II: The Sophomores

Although Cam Long is probably the single most important player on this year's squad, the junior class as a whole is most likely going to be the biggest factor that determines the team's success for 2010-2011.  This 2008 recruiting class entered the Patriot Center two years ago as KRAM and last year were crowned the team's "super sophomores" and even had their own special on Comcast. But KRAM is not just down to RAM as the "K", Kevin Foster, has left George Mason and he will be playing for Fresno State this year after spending some time at Central Florida community college. Foster was a ghost for most of January and the beginning of February last season but had a few flashes of his talent on display. But ultimately ended the season by being mostly absent from the box score and didn't even play in the CIT game against Fairfield. Foster seemed to be very versatile forward and I know the coaching staff was high on him.

The rest of the 2008 recruiting class, which counted for more than 44% of the team's scoring last season, will most likely be counted on more this year.  Forwards Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison are poised to put up big numbers inside but need to be more aggressive on the boards.  Andre Cornelius was wildly inconsistent but proved he's the team's leading three-point shooting threat going .433 from behind the arch. 

Ryan Pearson
Ryan Pearson was the Patriots' most consistent player last season and proved he can score in a variety of ways, including the perimeter.  He's the latest left-handed big man in the Larranaga school of post players and has the ability to carry the team on his back when he has to.  With more support from Mike Morrison and Johnny Williams on the glass he should be in line for a big year production wise and will be the team's #1 inside scoring threat. Also Pearson's ability to out rebound taller, bigger players makes him a huge asset on this roster. Other teams find him difficult to guard but he will need to work on staying out of foul trouble late in games.  Look for Mason to try to isolate Pearson down low for scoring opportunities like they used to do with Will Thomas.  

Mike Morrison
Mike Morrison is probably the team's most electric player and like Pearson last season solidified himself as one of the better post players in the CAA.  His rebounding efforts and defense improved last season but his emotions when it comes to foul trouble and free-throwing shooting still got the better of him at certain times. Suspensions like last year's just can't happen again and hopefully he's matured a bit since then. There were moments when Morrison seemed dominant in the front court and Mason needs to get him involved in the offense early and often this year.  Morrison and Pearson will complement each other well in the low post but both need to stay out of foul trouble because their isn't much depth on the bench with Louis Birdsong now gone.  I think Morrison has the potential to be a 14 point 8 rebound a night kind of player for this squad which would ultimately open things up more for the guards.  

Andre Cornelius
Andre Cornelius might be the most talented guard on the roster but last season was plagued by inconsistency, the running theme for the team as it turned out.  His quickness to attack the basket and knock down a three pointer was a large reason for Mason staying atop the CAA standings.  After the whole pillow stealing incident while at Tulane, it seemed he was in Larranaga's dog house for some part of the season. His inconsistent efforts didn't help either and I almost wouldn't doubt the coaching staff wasn't happy with this work ethic on the court.  But as I stated above he had a terrific year shooting the ball from behind the arch and really got the Patriots back into some games last season because of it. He played the point a lot last season and I wouldn't doubt he will begin this season starting there but much like Cam Long I believe he's better at the shooting guard spot.  Cornelius is an excellent ball handler but he's not exactly a pass first type of player and often makes ill advised decisions. Defensively he's the team's best on the ball defender and really can make Larranaga's patented "scramble defense" work, if he decides to actually use it more this season. Let's just hope some of what happened last year can be chalked up to growing pains.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pearson is an All-CAA 1st teamer this year

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Brad said...

Shame about Foster, he had a ton of potential just didn't seem to get a chance.

11:48 AM  
Blogger GJohnson said...

Mike Mo was really impressive late last season. With an improved jump shot, he could be the best big man in the conference.

12:25 PM  

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