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Q & A with a Georgia State blogger

George Mason Basketball: Q & A with a Georgia State blogger

Friday, January 06, 2012

Q & A with a Georgia State blogger

This next game for Mason against Georgia State will be one of their toughest home games of the year. GSU can score and are currently on an 11-game tear after beating VCU in Richmond. You can argue that their schedule hasn't been tough but that win on Wednesday night showed they are for real. New head coach Ron Hunter has inspired this group of players and has taught them how to win. Truly remarkable when you consider these are the same group of guys that had only 12 wins last year.  Mason can't have the scoring slumps like they did last night at ODU because these guys have much more offensive firepower.  And on defense they are tops in the CAA in FG% defense (15th nationally). Their defense in the 2nd half against VCU literally left the Rams in shambles offensively and looking lost at times. Some of the traps and defensive pressure they use could really give Mason's back court problems. When Mason is on defense they will have to go up against a very disciplined, balanced, and efficient group. They have a couple of good outside shooters and an inside scoring presence with forward Eric Buckner.  A key advantage for Mason could end up being the Panthers' 4-guard line up.  They have no depth in the front court so it will be important to again get Mike Morrison going early along side Ryan Pearson.

To get more information on this year's Georgia State squad we had a Q & A session with Ben Moore from

This is basically the same group of players Georgia State had last year. What has new head coach Ron Hunter done to teach these kids how to win?

Ben Moore: It was 100% about attitude and culture. I had a chance to interview Hunter a few weeks after he was hired and he vowed to change everything. I believe the genius behind this is that he knew he had a veteran group with six seniors who had played a ton of basketball. These six seniors had played a total 310 Division 1 games. He expressed that they so desperately wanted to win but just did not know how. He changed their attitudes, gave them defined roles and is maximizing the strengths of this basketball team. So many coaches want to fit their scheme, the trip out to Washington really opened up his eyes to what the team did well and he altered the way he was going to play with this group.

How would you describe the Panthers game on offense this year? What kind of tempo do they play?

BM: Coach Hunter arrived saying he wanted a fast tempo, break neck speed pace but he realized that his rotation was going to have to shorten with five contributing Seniors, two key reserves and a Freshman. The team is averaging nearly 3 shots per game more than 2010-11 and would prefer to play in the high 60s to low 70s. Coach Hunter preaches ball rotation and shooting uncontested three point baskets. The goal is run when possible and get an open three point basketball or dunk.

I noticed in the GSU-VCU game they Panthers played a lot of different zone schemes, is this what we can expect to see Saturday at the Patriot Center?

BM: There's no question. Ron Hunter inherited a very good defensive basketball team and makes tremendous adjustments. You'll see a 1-2-2 zone, 1-3-1 zone (with top CAA shot blocker Eric Buckner in the middle), full court and half court traps. This has made our opponents very uncomfortable to this point. We've seen many opposing fans blame their team's poor shooting but as Coach Hunter mentioned this week in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, people are going to have to realize that this team is pretty good. The Panthers D is currently 16th in the country in points allowed and is very aggressive and is 16th in the country in steals.

Mason fans remember how good Jihad Ali can be, as he shredded us during his sophomore year. Who else should we be keeping an eye out for?

BM: Immediately Devonta White has to be discussed. I believe he's one of the top lead guards in the conference and is the catalyst to both of the transition game and the Panthers offense. He's 15-4 in the starting lineup the last two seasons and is a deceptively good shooter. He's slight of build but has a lightning quick first step and is not afraid of taking on anyone in the lane. Another guy who has been playing well is Josh Micheaux who can do a little bit of everything offensively. He is a true slasher and is strong enough to get by most small forwards in our league. He's an adequate enough shooter but would prefer to create off the bounce.



Anonymous Cagee1 said...

Great preview.  Is somebody sharing with Paul Hewitt?

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

No TV for this game?

1:28 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

It's on CSN again.

1:34 PM  
Anonymous gmuhoops said...

CNNSI's prediction for tomorrow night: GMU 73 GSU 64

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Thanks was happy to see Seth include us in his picks. Then below us he talked up Miami, despite picking them to lose to UVA.

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Taylormade703 said...

Does anybody actually have a problem with Miami?

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Hirsch said...

Guessing Florida State, no one else though.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Good said...

It is going to be a very tough fight. 

12:39 AM  
Anonymous Chris S said...

After seeing how GSU punched VCU in the face on their home court - I think this will be another rock fight. It could really go either way. What I am happy to see is a new team emerging as a strong contender in the CAA. One thing I loved about the CAA - as a Mason alum and student - was how I could get to games on the road and some of the good basketball we could watch. Regardless of the outcome tonight - haveg a good and strong GSU team is good for the conference and its reputation and offers the opportunity for us fans to watch some strong and good college hoops. 


9:17 AM  
Anonymous Good said...

completely agree!  GMU should win but GSU deserves a win that they have been waiting for years . 

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Bballa said...

do we have any links for those not in the area?

12:02 PM  

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