Trying to predict where the scoring is going to come from next season isn’t easy when looking at George Mason’s roster. A lot of new faces and a lot of guys who can score. The back court scoring tandem of Bryon Allen and Sherrod Wright are gone, but so are their turnovers and late game blunders. Jalen Jenkins and Patrick Holloway are the team’s most consistent returning scorers who should both be seeing a lot more minutes. Freshmen Isaiah Jackson, Eric Lockett, and Therence Mayimba will be filling in the rotation in the 1-3 spots but how much they can contribute right away is one of next season’s biggest question marks.
Another big question mark is what to expect from Julian Royal. The Georgia Tech transfer and once prized recruit of Paul Hewitt, is coming off shoulder surgery to treat an old injury but is expected to be a fixture on offense. He has been working out since April and Hewitt expects him to be cleared for full contact early next month. Royal is best labeled as a “stretch 4/5” with an excellent scoring touch. He has three-point range and good hands around the basketball. His ability to hit a mid-range jumper will certainly be a blessing to this team next season.
Best case scenario for Mason is that he comes in and provides an immediate impact scoring the basketball. Providing a perfect complement to Jalen Jenkins’ bruising presence up front. He won’t be a rebounding force and you won’t see rugged intensity in the low post, but that’s why they have Jenkins, Copes, and Thompson. We cannot forget the fact that he could be rusty after not playing much in his first two season at Georgia Tech and then sitting out all of last year due to transfer rules. That was also a lot of time for Royal to work on different parts of his game, get stronger physically, and work with the coach that actually recruited him.
Whether or not he has to shake off some rust or not he will help George Mason next season. His versatility and length will be a major asset to the team and hopefully allow them to create mismatches in the Atlantic 10 next season. It would be great to see 12-15 points a game from him but those might be lofty goals. However, I do think to overcome low expectations next season, Mason will need Royal to be a big deal.
[Photo by Bill Bride]