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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: June 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kenner League schedule announced

Every summer George Mason players of the future, present, and past participate in the annual Kenner League held at Georgetown.  It is a great opportunity to watch incoming freshman play for the first time up close.  The action starts this Saturday (July 2nd) at Georgetown's McDonough Arena. 

The Kenner League is one of the top summer leagues in the country and always brings quality summer hoops action to DC. The George Mason players will be spread out over a couple of different teams in the 14-team league. We will post which Mason players are on which teams once we find out. 

Here is the full schedule and list on teams.

UPDATE: Here the team's that George Mason players will be on:

Vertrail Vaughns - 6th Man Sports

Jonathan Arledge, Andre Cornelius - DCX

Paris Bennett - Starting 5

Anali Okoloji - Town Tavern

Mike Morrison, Erik Copes, Vaughn Gray, Corey Edwards - Higher Level

Sherrod Wright says he's not playing in the Kenner but he'll in a different league in New York. Not sure about Bryon Allen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Paul Hewitt's first exhibition with the Team USA U19 squad doesn't go well

The team USA U19 squad and Paul Hewitt got a wake-up call over the weekend with a 101-72 drubbing at the hands of Lithuania. Not exactly exciting news for Mason's new head coach but remember it was an exhibition game. Team USA shot 2-for-15 and were down 32-8 in the 1st quarter. They never got closer than 15 points for the remainder of the game. The 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men is being held June 30-July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia. They are in Group D, along with China, Egypt and Serbia. Their first preliminary round game is against Egypt on June 30.

Despite how the team performs this summer I think the international experience only helps Coach Hewitt entering the 2011-2012 college season. The different styles of play and talent he and his squad will have to endure will be quite a challenge.  Trying to bring a team together so quickly is no easy task and it's basically what he will have to be doing shortly after with this year's George Mason squad. 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cam Long has last workout before NBA draft with Wizards

Today Cam Long had his final team workout with the Washington Wizards before this Thursday's NBA draft. To date he has already worked out with a couple of other NBA teams including the Warriors, Thunder, Bobcats and Timberwolves You can watch his post workout interview with the media here. There is also a few highlights here of the group he worked out with which included local Georgetown star Chris Wright.

Long has received more attention from the scouts than guys like Folarin Campbell and Will Thomas got back when they went through these workouts.  Some NBA mock draft sites even have Long being drafted late in the 2nd round. I think that is a stretch and ideally players don't like being drafted in the second round. For one there isn't guaranteed money like being selected in the 1st round and also they would often have a better chance of making a team by picking the right opportunity as a free agent later on.  

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who will be this team's starting point guard?

The George Mason Patriots outlook for the 2011-2012 season contains some question marks.  Not only is there a new head coach in town but there are also some changes on the roster.  The team returns next year without two starters and without their sixth man. They do have a possible starter in the making returning from injury and highly touted center coming in.  However one of the biggest questions going into next season is who will be this team's point guard? We have been hearing that Paul Hewitt's teams are mostly guard oriented so you would have to think the point guard is as important as ever in his system.  The returning nucleus of the Patriots would suggest the strength of the team lies in the front court but how effective will they be without a good facilitator? 

Cam Long and Luke Hancock were the only ones filling up the assists column on the box score last season.  Mike Morrison is the returning assist leader (scary thought) and actually recorded slightly more per game than Andre Cornelius. Hancock as a matter of fact was one of the most efficient players in the country last season when it came to assists.  According to Kenpom's statistics he was in the top 100 for "assists rate", which shows the assists divided by the field goals made by the player’s teammates while he is on the court.  It's no shocker that he was an integral part of last season's balance and efficiency on offense for Mason.

Let's take a look at the candidates:

Andre Cornelius - Seems like the obvious choice as he has the most experience on the current roster.  Personally I feel like he is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard's body and is better suited for the two spot.  He will look for the open three before dishing out the ball and doesn't have the best vision when it comes to setting up plays.  His long range shooting will impress Paul Hewitt but can he handle the point guard duties full time? Defensively he is the best choice for the position but this isn't Larranaga's camp anymore and you have to wonder how much emphasis Hewitt will put on defense.  It certainly wasn't his strong  point at Georgia Tech.  To start off the season I could very well see Cornelius getting some time at the starting point guard spot but there will be others pushing him for minutes.

Bryon Allen - A guard that probably has the most potential on the roster is sophomore Bryon Allen. He was stuck behind a lot of talent last season but the opportunity should be there this season. He has the advantage of not being entrenched in the former regime game plan which could make the transition to Paul Hewitt a bit easier for him.  The coaching staff will like his unselfish play and ability to get to the rim but his lack of overall experience could hurt his chances.  Defensively he might not be there with Andre Cornelius and Vertrail Vaughns but I do think he's a better playmaker and facilitator. Vaughns and Cornelius are also excellent in transition where Allen is better suited for the half-court offense.  Another thing he has going for him is his size. At 6'3" 215 he dwarfs Cornelius and Vaughns and was a tough customer inside during his high school days.  Hewitt had a lot of 6'3" - 6'5" guards at Georgia Tech so I'd have to think he'd slightly favor a bigger point guard.  Here's an interesting stat: Allen played about half as many minutes as Vertrail Vaughns last season and yet managed to accumulate more total assists (19 compared to Vaughns 11).

Vertrail Vaughns - Vaughns really turned some heads last season when he would come off the bench and provide a big spark with some great three-point shooting.  He had five games last year where he finished in double-digit scoring so we know offense isn't an issue. Like Allen he was an unselfish high school player who served as his team's floor general but we didn't much of that under Jim Larranaga. I got the feeling that weren't really trying to use him as a point guard but more of an offensive spark plug off the bench.  He hasn't show us much of his passing skills and so far he has turned the ball over more than you'd like to see in his limited minutes as a Patriot.  Ideally he is probably better coming off the bench like Isaiah Tate last season could be just as valuable of a sixth man as he was.

Corey Edwards - Edwards was convinced by Hewitt and his staff to honor his commitment to George Mason. I've wrote about how I think he could be that classic old-school point guard the team needs and he seems to have all the tools.  The scouting reports noted that he was known for creating shots for his teammates and having "tremendous handle" and court vision.  He fits the criteria of a pure point guard, something even Cam Long and Luke Hancock wouldn't be described as last year.  Larranaga loved his efforts on defense and his ability to create turnovers.  He's not nearly as a good a shooter as the rest of these guys listed above and wasn't known for getting to the rim. Despite that he seems to have potential as a playmaker but I don't know how much of him we will see this season.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Don't expect to see a modern scoreboard at the Patriot Center any time soon

For years Mason fans have moaned over the 1980s-looking scoreboard currently in the Patriot Center that to this day still lacks a video screen. After the Final Four run in 2006 most thought it was a lock it would be updated. Most of the campus was under construction and money was being thrown around for new projects left and right; meanwhile let's forget how many other CAA schools have better scoreboards with smaller budgets. We had once learned that the old scoreboard from the Verizon Center, which is owned by the same group that owns the Patriot Center was going to be donated but the current ceiling conditions in Fairfax could not support it.

We learned yesterday that those problems with the ceiling are apparently still an issue:
Plans to install a new scoreboard at the Patriot Center have now been scaled back. Originally, Mason set out to get a scoreboard nearly twice the size of the current one (which weighs in at roughly 4,500 lbs). A more modern scoreboard that would feature LCD screens with far superior graphics is long overdue.

But now, it looks like the cost of reinforcing the roof enough to handle that kind of weight is just too much for the state school to bear this year. Mason Intercollegiate Athletics is revising its request for proposals, asking for a new scoreboard that is of equal or lesser weight than the current scoreboard. More details to come, but it’s not likely there will be much movement on this before the fall.
I get that this isn't a priority but one of the reasons Larranaga left the school was because of the administrators unwillingness to upgrade certain facilities. I don't know if you'd put this under the same category as something like a practice facility but it's getting kinda of embarrassing having to look up at an outdated scoreboard often with burned out lights.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

New George Mason regime shying away from the 'Beltway Recruiting Battle'?

Jim Larranaga made a name for himself in Fairfax by recruiting well in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland area. Most of the Final Four team was comprised of overlooked talent that came from no more than 15-20 miles away from the George Mason campus. With the hiring of new head coach Paul Hewitt most fans wondered if our local recruiting would drop off or improve.  Hewitt is known as a excellent recruiter and so far he and his staff have been looking at some big name recruits but none really from the beltway area.  There's always been a knock on local teams here about letting all the good talent leave. Will all that be changing with the recent DC area coaching carousel?

Dave McKenna, writer for the Washington City Paper, writes about the DC area recruiting war that is about to go on with all the new head coaching changes among the local college teams. You'll notice Paul Hewitt and his staff are no where to be found in the article. Hewitt and his staff have ties elsewhere, Chris Kreider has the Georgia area and Roland Houston has Philadelphia. Hewitt himself seems to have reach all over judging by his recruiting track record but you have to wonder when the staff will throw their sword into the beltway recruiting battle. Perhaps he needs some time to learn the area and make a few AAU connections. I would imagine Mason fans would prefer to see some local talent come to Fairfax or maybe I'm in the minority on this. When you take a look at the starting lineup from this past season, really only Cam Long had local ties to the area.

Would it bother you if Hewitt and his staff shy away from recruiting along the beltway? Or do you not care where the talent comes from?


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Cam Long works out for the Charlotte Bobcats

On Sunday Cam worked out for the Golden State Warriors and today he had another with the Charlotte Bobcats.  He worked out with a group that included Marcus Morris (Kansas), Thomas Coleman (North Carolina A&T), Jerai Grant (Clemson), Carleton Scott (Notre Dame) and Donald Sims (Appalachian State).  I'm still waiting to see if the Wizards bring him in for one of these as in the past other Mason seniors have gotten that opportunity.  Perhaps it already happened and wasn't publicized.

The draft is still two weeks away and Cam might still garner a few more workouts between now and then.  I think to catch a team's eye he needs to show off his three-point shooting ability and overall knowledge of the game.  The second one is obviously much harder to showcase in a one day workout.

[Photo via]

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Recruiting Update

-Ramon Johnson announced he is taking an unofficial visit to George Mason next weekend. The kid will draw comparisons Jai Lewis among Mason fans with his 6'9" 270-pound build. Seems to be a solid rebounder and inside scorer. You can watch video of him here (he's number 23).  With the addition of Copes and recruits like this I have to say I like that the staff continues to try to bring in more size in the front court.  

-The Patriots' lost the recruiting battle for Jordan Burgess, although I doubt it was much of a battle considering his brother Bradford Burgess was a star player on VCU during their run this past March.

-Here's an interesting one, Mason has offered former Miami commit Chris Bolden, who decommitted following the school's coaching change.  Bolden is a 6'3" shooting guard from Georgia.

-Probably the biggest 2012 name recruit the staff is going after is point guard Charles Mann. ESPN has him in their Top 100 and the 13th ranked PG in the nation.  The Mason staff has offered to him and his bio says he grew up a Georgia Tech fan. Don't know if that helps or hurts Paul Hewitt at this point.  Some highlights of him can be found here.

-Darrick Wood, a 6'3" shooting guard from NJ is a name I came across today. He has a bunch of offers from big schools but the move continues to show that this staff is going after the big fish.  I think it's only a matter of time before we see them land a highly coveted PG or SG for the 2012 class.

-The staff continues to talk to Eric Fanning, who they seem high on.  We talked about Fanning here in our last recruiting update post.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Bryon Allen played along side Kevin Durant in Goodman Summer League

Bryon Allen's summer seems to be going well so far. He got a chance to play with Kevin Durant (pictured in bright yellow sneaks) in the Goodman League opener last night. Isaiah Tate was also noted as playing, but I'm not sure which team he was on. The annual Goodman League takes place in Barry Farms of Southeast DC, you might remember Lamar Butler playing in this back in 2007.  Kevin Durant stole the show by putting up 41 points after supposedly not touching a basketball for a week prior.

Of course I get excited about any Bryon Allen news because I think this kid will ultimately have a break out season this year. Going into next season the point guard position seems a bit up in the air.  Andre Cornelius is the easy answer but he didn't spend much time handling the ball in meaningful minutes last season. He averaged about the same amount of assists Mike Morrison did and next year's team needs a facilitator to get the ball to Ryan Pearson, Sherrod Wright, Mike Morrison, and hell even Johnny Williams. The strength of the team has shifted from last year and it will interesting to see how it's all sorted out. I'll be eager to see Allen's role on the team this season.

[Photo via Wizards Extreme]

Monday, June 06, 2011

Cam Long talks about his workout with the Golden State Warriors

Cam Long worked out for the Golden State Warriors yesterday along with a few others from Virginia schools (Jamie Skeen VCU, Jeff Allen Virginia Tech). Don't get too excited in hopes of hearing his name called on June 23rd because it probably won't happen. There are rumors that the NBA has plans to cancel the summer league in Las Vegas this year, which would be very unfortunate for a player like Cam who needs every chance available to showcase his talent.  Even if Cam doesn't make it to the NBA these and other workouts will no doubt prove as an audition to play somewhere overseas.

Thanks to everyone that sent his in!


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Paul Hewitt rounds out his staff with former NBA assistant Mike Wells

The school announced today that Paul Hewitt has added Mike Wells as the final assistant coach to his staff.  Wells at one time was an assistant on the Washington Wizards coaching staff and also spent time with the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets.  All together he has 17 years of experience in the NBA including being apart of two NBA championship staffs. The press release has another quote from Hewitt stating how he wanted to a staff that would be "strong on player development and also recruit domestically and internationally".  That's great and all but where is the x's and o's guy on this staff? Wells profile seems to read that he was a scout in the NBA and seems to be more a player developmental type of coach.  Perhaps I'm not giving enough credit to the other assistants in this area. Regardless having a guy on the staff with NBA experience could a huge boost for the program and perhaps he can bring a lot of things to the table that the other coaches have not experienced.  


Wednesday, June 01, 2011

NBA player hints about another addition to the George Mason roster

It seems a former player under Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech is spreading the news of another addition to the George Mason roster. Anthony Morrow who is currently in the NBA with the New Jersey Nets, tweeted the other day about a 6'2" guard named Jonathan Miller coming to George Mason next year:
It appears Miller was enrolled at a community college in Florida but is a native of Baltimore. By my calculations it would seem the Patriots don't have any more scholarships to offer so I'm guessing this guy would be a walk-on if the story is true.


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