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X-factor Series: Marko Gujanicic

George Mason Basketball: X-factor Series: Marko Gujanicic

Monday, October 15, 2012

X-factor Series: Marko Gujanicic

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.

Mark Gujanicic has to be the most interesting new player to the program this year. He has a foreign background (Serbia native) and very little seems to be known about him. The 6'8" 226-pound Gujanicic is built like a power forward but has great shooting range and seems to the run court well. Much like Jonathan Arledge he can score in a variety of different ways and will hopefully cause match-up problems for opposing teams. The big question is how much of this will transfer over at the college level. He might remind some Mason fans of Vlad Moldoveanu, a  former player from Romanian with a similar skill set and size but struggled early on at Mason. Often European players can struggle to adjust to the American game and one year of high school ball in the US isn't always enough. Nevertheless Gujanicic has talent and it will be up to the coaching staff this season to see how they can best use it.

What makes him an x-factor? There's a lot to like about Marko on paper, he has international experience, is a big man who can shot the three, and can put the ball on the floor to make plays. His ability to shoot from long range could be his best asset during his freshman season. Last year we saw sparks of excellent three-point shooting from Sherrod Wright, Vaughn Gray, and occasionally Vertrail Vaughns. Not one of them really scared teams enough because they weren't consistent. That should improve this season and adding Marko's skills to that rotation just makes Mason more dangerous. I think it will be a huge luxury for Mason to have someone coming off the bench with his kind of size and ability.

Likely role this season: With the type of offense Paul Hewitt wants to run they will need to be able to go deep into their bench and Marko could be that eighth or ninth guy in the rotation that could make an impact. When it comes to playing defense, I don't know where he is right now and that could be something that holds him back this year. There is no shortage of players on the roster who have playing experience under Hewitt but Gujanicic's role could be an interesting storyline to follow this season.

Previously featured on the X-factor Series:

Jonathan Arledge

Vaughn Gray

Corey Edwards

[Photo by Dakota Cunningham, Connect2Mason]


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