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X-factor Series: Anali Okoloji

George Mason Basketball: X-factor Series: Anali Okoloji

Thursday, October 18, 2012

X-factor Series: Anali Okoloji

This season we will see one of the deepest George Mason teams in recent history and there is a lot of potential up and down the roster. There will be plenty of opportunity for some of the younger talent to flourish and I wanted to take a look at that with the "X-factor Series". Specifically I'll be looking at some of the players, other than potential starters, who will have a major impact this year for the Patriots.

Anali Okoloji is returning to the court this season after transferring from Seton Hall and sitting out a year, due to the NCAA's transfer rules. After having a year to practice and learn Paul Hewitt's coaching style I think he will have a big impact on this year's squad. He is another one of the big, athletic forwards (6'8", 232 lbs) this team has at its disposal and does a lot of things well.

What makes him an x-factor? Energy. Okoloji refers to himself as a "energy-guy", an important asset the team will need off the bench this season. He will have a major role in the team's transition game and one of those guys you will see all over the court when things are going well. Much like Jonathan Arledge, his athleticism and versatility will make the Patriots more dangerous this year from the wing. We don't have a lot of tape on his game but I expect him to make small contributions like this, that can really lift a team up. He has the skills to step out and knock down a 17-footer but also can get inside to battle for rebounds. If he has developed some post moves he could really see some playing time this season.

Likely role this season: I see Okoloji being the team's utility guy. Someone that holds everything together and does all the little things to help a team win. A rebound, a steal, a fast break pass; things that sometime go unnoticed but can change a game. His experience in the Big East and year of learning on the sidelines makes him one of the better "basketball IQ" guys on the roster. I don't know where he is as a defender but he's better against other bigs than Arledge he could steal some minutes in those situations. He came to George Mason for more playing time and is eager to get back on the court. That translates into a hungry player I'm sure Paul Hewitt will be happy is on his team.

Previously featured on the X-factor Series:

Marko Gujanicic

Jonathan Arledge

Vaughn Gray

Corey Edwards

[Photo by Alexis Glenn]


Anonymous Dale Van Wagner said...

Love the idea of these, but if you have the access to the program/players/coaches (if you do), would love to see some feedback from conversations from the guys in practice about what they think about these guys.  Really what you're doing is just re-writing stuff everyone already knows.  I think where the value is would be if you could talk to someone who has played with these guys (over the summer, so far this semester) and see what they think about each guys potential and strengths.  I remember when we were at GMU, one of the players told me that Tony Skinn had been blowing it up at practice and he had a chance to take over the team (and that was before anyone knew who he was).  That kind of detail would be awesome here. 

10:35 AM  

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