Previewing George Mason

2009 Scouting Report / 2009 Game Plan2010 Scouting Report / 2010 Game Plan
2010 Stats
2011 Roster
2011 Schedule

 

George Mason Offense 08-09
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 49.8 141
Turnover Rate 18.2 51
Off Reb Rate 34.2 120
FTA/FGA 33.0 262
George Mason Offense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 48.7 173
Turnover Rate 20.6 180
Off Reb Rate 32.7 177
FTA/FGA 41.6 81

 

 

 

 

 

College basketball owes one of the best stories of the decade to George Mason, and while they haven't been able to parlay that run to the Final Four into sustained mid-major excellence of the Gonzaga variety, they remain a strong contender in the CAA.  And they still have that great story.

The offense is in decline for a few years now.  There is no one thing they really hang their hats on, they just get by doing everything reasonably well.  Two years ago they were sustained by solid shooting inside the arc led by big man Darryl Monroe, who made 57% of his twos.  Last year their two-point accuracy took a dive that was mitigated somewhat by improved outside shooting, but they don't care to take many threes.

Fortunately for Jim Larranaga, everyone that mattered to last year's team returns in 2011, and that's never a bad place to start for a program looking to reverse some trends.  There is no genuine star power on the roster, but Mason has enough effective contributors who are familiar with each other to theoretically lessen the need for defensive excellence.

Starters

Cam Long (6-4, 187) -- Long is the team's leading returning scorer and he has two seasons worth of starting experience, but he struggled a bit with an increased workload a year ago.  The increase from '09 to '10 was not huge, so randomness must explain part of the decline; how much, there's no telling.  He made half his twos and 40% of his threes in '09, 42% and 32%, respectively, in 2010.  He's been one of Mason's most frequent three-point shooters, which isn't likely to change.  And when dealing with a guy who's had one good year and one bad year, it's usually good policy to assume the good was a better reflection of his skills than the bad.

Andre Cornelius (5-10, 172) -- He's taken enough twos throughout his career to avoid the three-point specialist label, but there is no doubt that the outside shot was his biggest weapon a year ago.  He hit a team-best 43% of his threes last season.  Needs to cut down on turnovers.

Luke Hancock (6-5, 189) -- Freshmen and sophomores figured heavily into the Patriots' 12-6 conference record last year, as good a reason as any for optimism going forward.  Hancock was an important part of that foundation, though he came off the bench more often than not.  He played well in that role, hitting about 55% of his twos, dishing a bunch of assists.  If not for the playing time discrepancy, he'd have easily surpassed Long as the team leader in assists.  Looks like he'll be a mainstay in the starting lineup this year, however, and he's off to a 14-23 start from the field.  He is one of two Mason players to attempt 10+ shots in both of their games.

Ryan Pearson (6-6, 230) -- Pearson is the other.  He's been a high-usage guy each of the last two years and took about a quarter of Mason's shots while he was on the floor in 2010.  Last year tried to expand his range and his game but did not find much success in doing so; he took enough threes to force defenses to honor the possibility, but he did the bulk of his scoring inside the arc.  That won't change.

Mike Morrison (6-9, 222) -- Probably the best overall rebounder on the team, and a good shot blocker as well.  Not to diminish his efforts to score--he's a reliable 54-56% guy in the paint but can get lost in a lineup full of guys sporting average to above-average workloads.

Bench

Paris Bennett (6-6, 216), Jonathan Alredge (6-9, 236), Byron Allen (6-3, 214), Vertrail Vaughns (6-2, 184), Isaiah Tate (6-4, 214).     I'm not sure how the Patriots' rotation is shaping up at this early stage.  Tate is an experienced guard and frequent three-point shooter but has not been much of a factor this season.  The other four are freshmen, so no telling what they can do.

 

George Mason Defense 08-09
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 45.6 34
Turnover Rate 20.0 184
Off Reb Rate 30.9 95
FTA/FGA 29.8 34
George Mason Defense 09-10
Four Factors Percent Nat'l Rank
eFG% 47.9 124
Turnover Rate 19.8 216
Off Reb Rate 34.6 265
FTA/FGA 34.0 96

 

 

 

 

 

Mason's youth was really apparent at this end of the floor, where their defensive efficiency slid about 90 spots in the rankings between '09 and '10.

They got taller but that did not amount to improvements to their field goal percentage defense, inside the arc or out.  They lost control of the defensive glass and put opponents on the line more frequently.  Time will tell if this year's group, largely the same as last year's, can make inroads with added experience.  That sort of thing only goes so far.

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