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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: July 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Gabe Norwood shared the court with Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and other NBAers this weekend

George Mason alum Gabe Norwood has been playing professionally in the Phillipines for quite some time now.  This weekend he and other All-Stars from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) league squared off against some of the NBA's best. Some of the players he shared the court with were Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul. Quote from
“It was fun, absolutely a total experience. It’s unbelievable,” said Norwood, who rocked his new Kid ‘N Play haircut for the game.
Looking good Gabe.

Kenner League Report

This year's Kenner League (aka Nike Pro City) action has been good with a lot of famous alum from area universities joining in. George Mason '08 alum Folarin Campbell made an appearance this weekend and played for Town Tavern along side Anali Okoloji. Campbell finished Saturday with 22 points and Okoloji scored 17, 11 of which came from the free-throw line as he was "aggressively attacking the hole".  Really what we want to hear about Okoloji but it's unfortunate we won't get to see him this upcoming season.  Overall Okoloji has looked good and he has a lot of potential to grow this season as he watches from the sidelines and takes everything in.  

Among the others who have looked good at this year's Kenner league is freshman Corey Edwards.  The phrase "true point guard" will be thrown around a lot when talking about Edwards and he has looked more polished than the other freshman so far.  He has been showing good handles and vision while the flow of the summer league play seems to fit his style of game well.  His pass first mentality might help him earn more minutes this season under Paul Hewitt.  

The other freshman Vaughn Gray and Erik Copes have both made progress this summer and are looking better each weekend.  Gray has shown off his athleticism and this past weekend found his scoring touch, see the unofficial box here. Copes has made some big strides in a short period of time. At the beginning of this summer league he looked lost and slow at times but has since found his rhythm and has shown off his excellent rebounding attributes. He loves to contest every shot in the paint and seems to be very good at staying in position.  At times he already looks like he could end up being the best "box-out" guy on the Mason roster next season.  We already knew he wasn't much of a scorer and he really needs to work on his post moves because right now he really doesn't have any.  Copes will continue to get some conditioning this summer and probably shed some pounds but the potential for him to be a force in the middle for Mason next season is there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

George Mason to play FIU in first round of NIT Season Tip-Off

We have known for awhile that George Mason will be playing in the 16-team field preseason NIT and that they would be in the same pod as Virginia Tech.  The school confirmed today however that they will playing Florida International in the first round, with the winner advancing on to play Virginia Tech. The Patriots will be a #5 seed and two victories in Blacksburg will advance them to the semifinals in New York City at Madison Square Garden in late November.  

The first round games are from November 14-16 at Virginia Tech's campus at the Cassell Coliseum.  The preseason NIT represents one of the better early tournaments to kick off the college hoops season and gives the Patriots some great tests early on.  A chance to see George Mason battling it out at Madison Square Garden will be an early season treat for fans and hopefully a great resume builder for March.

Full bracket here

Florida International has struggled under head coach Isiah Thomas but he is starting to bring in some talented recruits.  The team could be on the up but hopefully they won't give the Patriots too much trouble so fans can see a George Mason vs Virginia Tech battle. The last time the Patriots played two ACC teams during the regular season was during the '03-'04 season when they lost to both Maryland and UNC.

Click here for more on what we know so far for next season's schedule


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Paul Hewitt doesn't need lure of ACC to bring in top recruits

Josh Barr of the Washington Post has an article from yesterday saying Paul Hewitt has been received well so far on the recruiting trails. Despite his struggles towards the end of his time at Georgia Tech it seems coaches and recruits are still excited to see Hewitt observing them:
“People have been great,” Hewitt said. “This is my 21st year on the road. We’ll see how it shakes out in the fall, but so far people have been really, really positive and excited about us recruiting their players.

“You can’t tell until they give you commitments, but I do think there are people with a very high level of interest.”
We will have to wait and see if Hewitt backs up his talk and get a commitment from the top 2012 recruits he and his staff have been observing.

Also speaking of new Mason talent, it seems freshman Corey Edwards is turning some heads in this year's Kenner League. Remember only 88 days until the start of the next college basketball season.

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Paul Hewitt's legacy at Georgia Tech gets further tarnished

The NCAA investigation of Georgia Tech that somehow spanned from 2009-2011 without anyone knowing is mostly about the school's football program. However there were some infractions to the basketball team during the time Paul Hewitt was running things. The violations were due to a graduate assistant and an academic advisor being present at an AAU event run by the Atlanta Celtics program that was held on Georgia Tech's campus. Hewitt says he is "disappointed by the NCAA's decision" and says the assistants were there to help make sure things run smoothly because of instances that have occurred during the event over the last couple of years. The NCAA says this gave Hewitt and his staff a recruiting advantage, despite them not landing a single player who played in the event.

Georgia Tech basketball does not lose any scholarships from these violations, so according to Hewitt's contract the buyout money is probably still going to be owed to him. Not that all this really has much to do with George Mason basketball moving forward, except for the the fact that our head coach is still going to be paid about $130,000 a month from the Yellow Jackets over the next five years. If you want to call Hewitt a shady recruiter because of this news that's your business but I still feel like he was just a very unlucky guy during his final years at Georgia Tech.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cam Long to play in Lithuania

Like most George Mason basketball alums, Cam Long will be going pro overseas.  He says he is going to going to play in Lithuania and just signed a contract. Some overseas news sites mentioned he had interest from a team in Lithuania named BC Šiauliai, official website here. You'll notice he will have a familiar teammate as fellow CAA alum Denzel Bowles from JMU has also signed with this team. If not for the NBA lockout and the cancellation of the summer league in Las Vegas we might have seen Cam given more chances to audition for an NBA team.

Congrats to Cam and good luck.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Where should I hunt? [infographic]

Ever wonder where the best places to hunt are located? Well that depends on what type of game you are actually hunting. Some states are better for hunting big game that are trophy worthy and some are better if you are looking for a wide variety of public ranges.

According to the data visualization Kansas, Alabama, and Wisconsin are leaders in some of the categories hunters would be looking for when selecting a location.

Via: Redneck Blinds

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Chris Kreider talks about his busy July

New George Mason assistant coach Chris Kreider has already been busy evaluating talent while Paul Hewitt has been overseas in the FIBA U19 world championships. He talks to, a newspaper in the area where he was a high school standout in central Pennslyvania, about being on the recruiting trail during the busiest time of year for assistants. He also talks about the long hours and travel and also how the overall July evaluating period works, which is pretty interesting. Also we get a little insight on to how the new coaching staff plans to conduct business:
PN: Will you have specific coaching assignments/recruiting areas on the Mason staff?

KREIDER: “Since Coach Hewitt is working with the U-19 team [at the world championships in Latvia], he’s been on the move with that. So, since Day 1, we might have had the whole staff together for a total of two or three days. We’ve been doing a lot of the things with e-mails, over the phone, so we haven’t really delegated anything. Based on what guys have done before, Roland Houston will probably work with the bigs. Myself and Coach [Mike] Wells will probably handle the perimeter guys and Coach Hewitt will pitch in wherever. [As for recruiting], it kind of varies staff to staff, but with the class of 2012 and since my strengths and Coach Hewitt’s strengths are in the southeast, we’ll probably stay where we’re kind of connected with this class. Coach Houston in the northeast, Coach Wells in the NBA. What we’ve tried to do this year is go where our roots are strong, dig in and lock some guys in. Moving forward, though, we’ve gotta control the three-hour thing [from campus]. Coach also wants to make a strong push for the international thing, with us being in suburban D.C. Take it to that route.”
It will be interesting to see the type guys this new staff brings to Fairfax when the signing period gets underway. 


Friday, July 08, 2011

Paul Hewitt's summer in the FIBA U19 world champion could bring some international flavor to George Mason

After looking shaky in their first two exhibition games, Paul Hewitt and the U19 USA team have been doing well in the 2011 FIBA U19 world championship. The team suffered their first loss Wednesday against Croatia but still remain the #1 seed in Group F heading into the quarterfinals (UPDATE: they lost to Russia and are out of the medal round). Some Mason fans would rather Hewitt be on the recruiting trails with his assistants during the hottest time of the year for evaluating potential college prospects than in Latvia. But just because he's not in the US doesn't mean he isn't building connections and observing basketball talent.

Last summer Hewitt began to build a strong network of contacts to recruit internationally after being an assistant coach on the USA U18 national team and also traveled with the U17 to Germany.  Hewitt has already proven he can recruit in the states but it will be interesting to see if he can bring some international talent to Fairfax.  The most recent international players to play for George Mason were Jesus Urbina (Venezuela), Makan Konate (Mali), Raoul Heinen (Netherlands), and Jesse Young (Canada). Young was the most successful of that group and in his best season in 2001-2002 he averaged 14.6 ppg and 8.4 rebounds while earning 1st team All-CAA honors. He and Raoul Heinen were the only foreign players I ever saw at my time at Mason that weren't projects and contributed right away.

Luke Winn of has a breakdown of the top prospects at this year's FIBA U19 to give you an idea of the some of the talent other schools are picking up overseas.  Most of the players in the U19 games are either already committed to a school or have plans to play professionally but you can see there could be some future DI stars there. You will notice Boise State and Butler are heavily entrenched in scouting Australia players, which have had success in college hoops in recent years.  Paul Hewitt could be on his way to landing some talents like they have and I think that is exciting for George Mason basketball moving forward out of the Jim Larranaga era.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison are The Plank Bros

Planking, the latest internet fad that will annoy the hell out of you. Gilbert Arenas and the Wizards mascot G-Wiz are already in the game, so why not George Mason players?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Johnny Williams might redshirt this season

Got word from Steven Goff of the Washington Post that there is a chance Johnny Williams might redshirt this upcoming season due to shoulder issues.  Williams had surgery on his shoulder after the season ended has been rehabbing.  Keep in mind that the decision to redshirt Williams doesn't have to happen anytime soon and it can even happen after the season has started. However this is a story line we will be following as the season approaches.

The possible loss of Williams for next season would not leave the Patriots with much depth at forward on the bench.  Erik Copes, although highly touted, is a freshman and very limited offensively.  Jonathan Arledge and Paris Bennett did not play much last season but will most likely see more minutes if Williams is lost for the season. However it's difficult to project the overall impact of this because we don't know how Paul Hewitt will utilize this mostly inherited roster. 

Williams had some promising games last season, especially against Villanova in the NCAA tournament and it would be a shame to see his progress halted. Most Mason fans have been waiting for him to break out and you never know how much a year viewing things from the bench will do for a player's game.  

Thoughts from Mike Morrison

Senior forward Mike Morrison recently started his own blog and he's already gotten into the off-season's most pressing issues. In his latest entry he talks about everything that happened last season and this off-season with the departure of Jim Larranaga and Luke Hancock. Morrison is the team's most charismatic character and you have to love his optimism heading into next season:
I learned a long time ago don’t worry about what you can’t control
Good things happen too...wait until u see the kid Anali go.
Sherrod is back plus them 3 freshmen boys have arrived
Add V Vaughns, B Allen, Paris, 2 John’s.. they all are ready to thirve
Dre’s going to dominate and Ryan is MVP
Add me in the equation and that’s a very hungry three
The sky is not the limit past the stars is our goal
When the season start this group of men are going to ball out of control
If that doesn't get you excited for next year I'm not sure what will.

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