Paulsen completes his staff with Dane Fischer
Trey Porter is transferring
Dave Paulsen adds former Bucknell assistant to his staff
ESPN grades the Dave Paulsen hire

Paulsen completes his staff with Dane Fischer

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Dane Fischer has been Dave Paulsen’s right hand man for years and now he has brought the up and coming assistant to George Mason. Fischer was in the running for the head coach job at Bucknell after being Paulsen’s top assistant and now with the news yesterday of Duane Simpkins being added, the staff is complete. Fischer is described as a “tireless recruiter and basketball tactician” and Paulsen says he has had a hand in “every coaching, teaching, and recruiting decision” he made while at Bucknell.

Dave Paulsen adds assistant with DC ties to staff

Dave Paulsen has added another assistant coach to his staff with DC area ties, Duane Simpkins. Simpkins held a similar position at UNC-Greensboro and played for Maryland from 1992-1996. He also coached a few local high school teams before entering the college ranks. Paulsen is following up his press conference statements about tapping into the fertile recruiting base in the DC area and this is another great step in doing just that.

Trey Porter is transferring

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With a new head coach in town there are always transfers and roster changes. It was mentioned last night by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that Trey Porter is transferring from George Mason:

On a team in desperate need of guards it is no surprise to me that one of the forwards didn’t see themselves fitting in Dave Paulsen’s scheme. Porter played with a lot of energy but was often a liability on the offensive end. He’s a solid rim protector but barely weighs 200 pounds and isn’t the type who can fight for rebounds in the low blocks. He does possess a lot of athletic ability though and in the right situation he can be a solid contributor.

Dave Paulsen discusses current state of roster in radio interview

Dave Paulsen recently had a radio interview discussing his position as George Mason’s new head coach. We get some real insight on his thoughts about the current roster and he talks about how they are lacking at the guard positions, especially ball-handlers and shooters. Paulsen also states how the previous coaching staff put a premium on bringing in size and athleticism, something that confused and frustrated most fans. Below is the audio:

Dave Paulsen adds former Bucknell assistant to his staff

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We haven’t heard much about who will be the assistant coaches on Dave Paulsen’s staff but now it looks like he has brought with him former Bucknell assistant Aaron Kelly. Kelly has ties to the DC area, he was a Catholic University graduate, and was also an assistant under Paulsen from his days coaching at Williams College. While at Catholic he played under current George Washington coach Mike Lonergan. Judging by Kelly’s bio on Bucknell’s website, it seems that he was responsible for similar duties that former George Mason assistant Chris Kreider held.

Recruit Ahmad Gilbert asks for release

Not surprising news given the coaching change but recruit Ahmad Gilbert will be released from his commitment to George Mason and re-open his recruitment.

From City of Basketball Love:

Gilbert had his first meeting with Paulsen on Friday, and though it was a positive encounter, it wasn’t quite enough to keep him from re-opening his recruitment and making sure he puts himself in the best possible situation in the fall.

“I really thought the meeting went well. I liked what we talked about,” he said. “[But] I’m still going to go up for more visits once I get my release back.

Gilbert committed to George Mason after a strong summer on the AAU circuit that saw him pick up eight Division I offers, including a few high-major looks. And now that he’s re-opening his recruitment, some of those same schools that were interested then have reached back out.

However George Mason is still in the mix and are at the top of his list:

Dave Paulsen meeting with recruit Ahmad Gilbert

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Dave Paulsen’s first task after being named George Mason’s head coach is re-recruiting Ahmad Gilbert, a recruit under Paul Hewitt who committed to the program back in November. Since then Gilbert has been on a tear and leading his Constitution team to a state title. He was also named Pennsylvania Class A state player of the year. Mason can certainly use that scoring help that Gilbert could provide and Paulsen is set to meet with him today. Josh Verlin and our friends over at City of Basketball Love have the scoop:

Paulsen and Gilbert are scheduled to meet tomorrow, with Paulsen making the trip up to Philadelphia to meet with the only player currently committed to come to GMU this fall.

“I might still open up my recruitment, just in case, if I don’t really like get the feel of him,” Gilbert said.

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Shaka Smart leaves VCU, oh boy

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Shaka Smart has left VCU for Texas and now this begins a brand new era in the George Mason-VCU rivalry. The Atlantic 10 is certainly going under some changes with new coaches in town and it will be interesting to see which programs have early success under new regimes. I admit I’m happy we don’t have to face anymore Shaka coached teams in our conference anymore but hears to hoping for some competitive, meaningful games between them in the future.

[Photo by Bill Bride]