George Mason has gone through most of the season without a consistent scorer other than Sherrod Wright. Wright has done some incredible things this season and has carried this team on his shoulders at times. On any given night the second scorer could have been Johnny Williams, Marko Gujanicic, Patrick Holloway, or Bryon Allen. Now with only seven conference games left it appears junior forward Jonathan Arledge is emerging as the team’s second go-to scoring option. After the ODU win on Monday he became the only other Mason player besides Wright to score 10 or more points in three consecutive games this season. Starting in place of Johnny Williams, who has been out with a concussion, the offense has run a bit smoother and the team is getting to the free-throw line more.
The interesting part about all of this is that Arledge looked to be on this path at the end of last season and played well in the CAA tournament. However, Williams returned from a redshirt season and newcomer Anali Okoloji was an early favorite of Paul Hewitt for some reason. Arledge definitely seems like his larger role in the rotation is best for the team going forward and I think they need him to keep scoring in order to win the league’s autobid.
Arledge can hit the 15-foot jumper and also attack the rim while driving through the lane. He’s been getting better at the ladder lately and that has been the reason behind his new career scoring highs. If he continues to do this it will open things for Sherrod Wright and the rest of the team. Johnny Williams might return to the lineup on Saturday against Delaware but Arledge should still be starting because he’ s much more efficient scorer. Williams has played 121 more minutes than Arledge this season and yet Arledge has scorered 158 total points compared to Williams’ 140. That’s a pretty telling comparison right there, at least for the offensive efficiency of this team. Also Arledge has been a better rebounder on both ends and that has been a big part of the team’s last two wins.
[Photo by John Powell]