Notes from today’s practice

2014-08-09 13.59.38-1

It is difficult to take away much from today’s practice, after all it’s August and we are talking about college hoops. But there are a lot of new faces to be seen on George Mason’s roster and with a lot of question marks heading into next season, it’s fun to speculate from what we saw today. Here are my takeaways from today’s practice.

Erik Copes – Has definitely trimmed down weight and is more toned up. He was running the floor the well even late in practice. Pretty solid shooting day for him. If his hip is no longer an issue I think he can be a major force inside the paint, as we all thought he’d be.

Julian Royal – Again, it’s only practice but expected to see him as more of a featured player on offense. He didn’t look aggressive enough for someone the team will most likely be counting on for a lot of scoring production. They ran Hewitt’s famous 4-out, 1-in motion offense but if never looked like they were trying to isolate or open things up for Royal. Will they? He does have a nice scoring touch though and ran the floor extremely well. He might not “wow” us this season but could definitely see him being productive.

Jalen Jenkins – He seemed to be playing a lot more on the perimeter in practice and took a lot of shots from the outside. Might they be trying to play him at the 3 spot and Royal at 4? Still probably the hardest working guy on the roster, gives 110%.

Isaiah Jackson – The freshman played exclusively at the point guard spot. Handled the ball well but I’m still not convinced he can effective this season at that position. On one fast break he hit Royal in the back of his jersey on the numbers.

Therence Mayimba – He doesn’t look like a freshman with his physique. Is quick on both ends and had a nice day shooting the ball from deep. Was very aggressive on defense. Is he the on-the-ball defender this team desperately needs? Twice during the half court sessions he blew by defenders who were playing zone for the easy lay-up. I would expect to see major minutes for him this year.

Trey Porter – We could see some silly dunks from him during the season as he often looks for the alley-oops. Very athletic and moves pretty well for someone who is 6’11”, but still awfully lean. Will definitely be a rim protector for Mason this year as he demonstrated his ball swatting skills today.

Shevon Thompson – For someone who didn’t start playing basketball until he was 16, he doesn’t look that raw. Is aggressive on the glass at both ends and uses his size to get good position. He didn’t have the best hands today and looked lost a few times on offense. However, he and Porter give this a team a much tougher look on defense in the paint.

Vaughn Gray – Looked very good shooting the ball as he hit the most threes on the day. My question is does he always look this good in practice?

Patrick Holloway – Looked confident shooting the ball and you know he’s their go-to guy for three-point shooting.

Eric Lockett and Marquise Moore did not practice as both are coming off minor surgeries this offseason.

  • G-n-G

    Nice assessment. My takeaways were:

    Erik: looked great, moved freely, had better lift (several dunks, with a head of steam) than we’ve seen, hopefully will play with the team from the opening game

    Julian: looked lost multiple times on defense and offense, Marko kept barking out where he was supposed to be, might be trying to do too much right now

    Jalen: heart of the team, probably needs to limit his range for now to 18 feet but he’ll get to 3-point range eventually

    Isaiah: looked pretty comfortable including against Corey’s pest defense, understood the plays well enough to direct others, judging from Marko’s reaction (he was trailing on the play) the pass off Julian’s back was Royal’s fault

    Therence: looked like the most athletic player on the court, liked that he stayed after practice (with Patrick, Marquise, and Lockett) to keep working on his shot

    Shevon and Trey: Shevon looked more comfortable back to the basket and shot free throws very cleanly, doesn’t look like a “project”, Trey is weighted more to defense right now but that’s fine

    Vaughn: looked great in drills (sank 8 3-pointers in a row at one point) but had some shaky decisionmaking in the scrimmages

    Patrick: still a pure shooter because he works on it relentlessly, wish he could improve his free throw shooting in the same way (there’s no rhythm so he looks uncomfortable)

    Marquise: stayed after and took a lot of one-handed shots (made a bunch), seemed to be working on his form, also seemed to be thicker in the arms and shoulders than last year

    I wonder if they’ll field two complete 5-man units, swapping them in (barring foul trouble) at the TV timeouts. They seem to have more players than playing time, which isn’t a terrible position to be in but might require some creative thinking about how to address.

  • Mason2005

    There was some news about a new walk on coming aboard this year, Omari George. I didn’t see anyone new at the practice, any news if that ever panned out?

    • gmuhoops

      Most freshmen aren’t taking classes early in the summer like the scholarship players are, he probably isn’t officially enrolled yet.

  • David Houck

    In the picture it looks like Trey Porter is pulling up from the elbow, can/did he hit that shot with any consistency?

    • Mason2005

      Yes, he has a very nice shot.

    • gmuhoops

      He has a decent jumper, Copes was hitting a few from that spot too. They desperately need guys to consistently hit those mid-range jumpers, was a real problem last year.

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