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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: August 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

RPI breakdown of George Mason's non-conference opponents

George Mason officially released their non-conference schedule for the 2012-2013 season. Almost all of which we knew about already, except for Boston University, which appears to have been the last opponent added. It looks as though last season's Bracketbuster opponent, Lamar, won't be on the schedule this season for the return game. Maybe it's because they are choosing to play it during the 2013-2014 season or maybe because the CAA isn't participating in the event anymore, so there won't be a return game.

This is one the program's most impressive non-conference slate in years. It's a good mix of BCS programs, winnable games, and other competitive mid-majors. Let's also not forget that a win against Mercer in the Paradise Jam could lead to New Mexico and other good RPI opponents. Speaking of the Paradise Jam tournament,'s Andy Glockner seems to like George Mason's chances.

Below is a breakdown of the final RPI for each opponent over the last three seasons:

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Erik Copes, a potential differece-maker this season?

We recently talked about how much impact Johnny Williams' return this season could be for the green and gold but what about sophomore Erik Copes? He didn't wow anyone with his offense but he showed flashes of dominance with his shot-blocking and rebound awareness.'s Rob Dauster has a list of "potential difference-makers" and mentions Copes:
"Erik Copes, George Mason: The Patriots are coming off of a 24-9 season that saw them finish third in the Colonial while riding the coattails of Player of the Year Ryan Pearson. But with Pearson, and his frontcourt counterpart Mike Morrison, graduating, Mason's strength will shift to the backcourt, where a handful of young and talented players return. The frontcourt will now feature seldom-used reserves Jonathan Arledge, Johnny Williams and Seton Hall transfer Anali Okoloji, but the guy that Paul Hewitt will be counting on to anchor his lineup will be sophomore Erik Copes. Copes was a top 75 recruit who followed his uncle, Roland Houston, to Mason. And while he had a decent freshman season -- he averaged 3.3 points, 3.7 boards and an astounding 1.9 blocks in just 15 minutes -- Copes was banged up for much of the year. If he's healthy next season, the Patriots will be looking to him not only to protect the paint at the defensive end of the floor, but to become an offensive weapon on the interior to help keep defenses honest."
Copes being hobbled all last season with a nagging injury in his hip didn't help his development. He had surgery in May and is apparently good to go

Offensively, Copes' game could use some post-moves but as Dauster mentions, they have other options in the front court next season for scoring. And yes, those other options either didn't play last season or didn't see many minutes but they will get the opportunity. Jonathan Arledge seems to have the most upside in that group and his development could be big for Mason this year. Copes on the other hand, just needs to be a defensive force in the middle and protect the basket. He'll get his points around the basket on tip-ins and clean up duty but make no mistake, Paul Hewitt will be counting on Johnny Williams for front court scoring. Getting scoring from Copes will only make the Patriots more dangerous and harder to gameplan against, so hopefully we will some some flashes of it. Much different from this past season where teams mostly could focus on Ryan Pearson and greatly slowdown the Patriots' offense. 

Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison graduating opens the door for Copes' development next season and the potential is there for him to make a big impact. It's a deeper team this season, in the front and back court and it will interesting to see how Hewitt manages the roster. However, Copes will be a mainstay in the lineup this season. 

[Photo by John Powell]

Friday, August 03, 2012

Friday Links

  • Scheduling news: UMBC will travel to the Patriot Center on December 4
  • Since Lamar Butler is the only member of the 2006 starting five not mentioned in a story today, I'll note that he owns a successful online sporting goods and apparel store. Check out the site.
  • Recruit Jalen Jenkins who committed to George Mason in June, will be enrolling in the Fall and not attending prep school. He also plans to redshirt. Per Zach Braziller of the NY Post.
  • Click here if you want to read a poorly put together 2012-2013 preview for George Mason

Nigeria may have lost by 83 points to the U.S. but at least Tony Skinn broke James Harden's ankles

Tony Skinn and the Nigerians looked lost right from the start last night against team USA and lost 156-73. The U.S. broke a record for their largest margin of victory and highest point total in the Olympics ever (156). They also finished with more three-pointers (29) than the Nigerians had field goals (28). 

Tony Skinn's only points of the night came off a three-pointer he sank right after breaking James Harden's ankles late in the second quarter. Deadspin has the video of it here, and it certainly reminds me of this moment back in Fairfax a few years ago.

[via Deadspin, SBNation]

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

George Mason commit Jalen Jenkins continues to earn high praises

Jalen Jenkins gave a verbal commitment to come to George Mason back in June, and while we still don't know if the 17 year old will attend prep school for a postgraduate year before coming to the program, he continues to earn high praises this summer. Zach Braziller of the NY Post is a mainstay in the NYC area hoops scene and has covered Jenkins a lot. He had some words about Jenkins in his article yesterday as he gave a few player evaluations:

F Jalen Jenkins, Cardinal Hayes (New Heights)
If he hadn’t verbally committed to George Mason in June, a swarm of major Division I schools would be after the 6-foot-7 small forward, who may do a postgraduate year before heading to Mason because he is a year young. The former Cardinal Hayes standout’s ability to bang inside, lead the break, shoot from deep and facilitate are qualities seldom seen in players his size. Mason head coach Paul Hewitt is getting a big-time recruit and an even better kid in Jenkins.
Seems as though Jenkins has the potential to become Paul Hewitt's biggest recruit at George Mason to date. The 6'7" has a wide variety of skills and is also known as his team's defensive anchor:
The George Mason verbal looked like an absolute steal for Paul Hewitt and company with his play in the 17U tournament.  A face-up 4, he showed the ability to hit open jumpers and get to the basket from the wing.  Jenkins also was able to finish at the rim with either hand.  Defensively, he anchored the New Heights team all the way to the 17U title game with his rebounding and shot blocking.
It would be great if Jenkins came to Mason in the fall and redshirted for a season but I'd imagine it's difficult to sell that scenario to a 17 year old kid. If he came this fall and didn't redshirt I can't imagine he'd get many minutes on what would be a crowded roster. Hopefully we will hear some news on what is happening soon as the fall semester is approaching.


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