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2010-2011 Season Preview Part IV: The Seniors

George Mason Basketball: 2010-2011 Season Preview Part IV: The Seniors

Friday, October 15, 2010

2010-2011 Season Preview Part IV: The Seniors

As we countdown to Mason Madness tonight 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:

In our last part of this year's season preview we take a look at the team's only two seniors Cam Long and Isaiah Tate.  These two were leaders last season with Louis Birdsong being the only senior and now that he is gone their leadership qualities will have more weight.  Both are starters although Tate saw his minutes diminished a little towards the end of the regular season.  Coach Larranaga always leans on his seniors and his best teams always had a strong presence from these upperclassmen.  Cam Long is obviously the team's most important player and last year he tried to do too much with a very young squad, this year some of the pressure should be off with emerging talents developing.  He has the ability to carry the team on his back but the team can't rely on that every night if they want to win in the CAA, consistent support for his teammates will be needed.

Cam Long
Cam Long led the team in scoring, assists, free throw percentage, and steals last year but suffered at times from being surrounded by inconsistent efforts from his teammates.  He ended the season last year on a bad note averaging only 6.8 points in the last 6 games and was suspended for team's postseason CIT disaster against Fairfield for "not meeting team responsibilities". Not exactly how you want your leaders performing but last year is over and done and I'm sure these guys are ready to move on and learn from their mistakes over that time.  Long has to lead the way on this or the team will have another roller-coaster year. During the season I wrote about how important he was to the team's success and although it's not critical he scores more points this season, his efforts of getting other players involved will.  Dishing out 3.1 assists a game may have led the team last year but it's just not good enough, they were 11th in the CAA in that category. This goes back to the point of the team not having a true point guard but until someone like Bryon Allen takes the reigns in that area they need more from guys like Cam. The Patriots don't need him to score 20 or even 15 points a game to win but they need a solid leader in the back court who won't turnover the ball and will get the surrounding talent more involved throughout the game.  Long is still the team's star player hands down but the fate of the season won't rest on his shoulders. However it would be nice to see more of these this season.

Isaiah Tate
Although Isaiah Tate started 23 games last season he will fight with a crowded back court for minutes this season.  The young talent on this roster for the upcoming season is strong at the guard position even with Sherrod Wright being out.  Aside from shooting guard he can play the 3 spot, more of a small forward type role, but Luke Hancock also plays well there and can handle the ball better.  Tate was inconsistent last season leading to a couple DNPs and him playing all of two minutes in the team's only CAA tournament game against VCU.  I still believe Larranaga doesn't use him properly at times and maybe he could have been a better three-point sniper for the team if given the opportunity. Another example of this is Vlad Moldoveanu who transferred out of Mason after a year in Coach L's offense and then went on to average 18.1 points and shoot .387 on three-pointers at American. Tate however was brought in to be that next great three-point shooter at Mason like Lamar Butler and Dre Smith but he never really took off and still has trouble creating his own shot. Tate could end up how Louis Birdsong did last year mostly because the younger talent on the squad keeps him off the court. Something I am sure won't bother most fans.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking forward to this season. Everyone is a year older and hopefully a year wiser=SHARE THE BALL!

10:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your last comment about Isaiah Tate was rude, and if you did your research you would see that the crowd loves to see him play and he is underrated as a player for Mason.

11:46 AM  

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