Notes from the open scrimmage

2015-10-24 15.37.54-2

At yesterday’s open scrimmage we got a chance to see the 2015-16 in live action and peek into what the new coaching staff’s philosophy is all about. With Patrick Holloway being held out due to a minor injury we saw a starting lineup (green team) that included Otis Livingston, Marquise Moore, Jaire Grayer, Marko Gujanicic, and Shevon Thompson. Later Dave Paulsen alluded that this would be the starting lineup if the season started today. Paulsen has already stated that freshman Livingston could be a day one starter at point guard and he saw plenty of action there in this scrimmage.

The biggest stand out was Marko, who shot the ball well and finished great around the rim. Being a post player is where he belongs and he just looks more comfortable in this role change from the new coaching staff. At this point I think he starts over Jalen Jenkins, who was on the second team in practice as well. This could change during the season but it’s easy to see that Marko has advantage here with better fundamental play overall.

2015-10-24 16.03.07-2

The freshman struggled for the most part but guard Kameron Murrell had the best day of the newcomers as he shot the ball very well from the outside. Wing players Jaire Grayer and DeAndre Abrams were inconsistent with Grayer having a much stronger ending to the scrimmage. Livingston played the point well but didn’t have a great day shooting the ball. It is still easy to see Livingston as the point guard of the future for this program, he has great vision and instincts.

The strength of this team, much like last season, is in the front court. There’s true depth there with Julian Royal, Jalen Jenkins, and freshmen Danny Dixon and Daniel Relvao coming off the bench. Dixon needs to work on getting tougher in the post but he has some moves and can step out and shoot:

Freshmen will have to contribute this year for this team to be successful. For the veterans it’s a culture change and an emphasis on fundamentals, a change that won’t happen overnight. Shevon Thompson is still going to be this teams’ rock and they will look to get him involved early and often. Having said that they still desperately need their perimeter players to make shots and keep defenses honest. With more discipline on defense and less unforced errors it’s definitely a more optimistic year for this team to get out of the A-10 basement.

  • upside2013

    Ryan agree 100 percent in your assessment and thought the ball movement has improved also. I look forward to the start of season and during the question answer coach said the defense needed allot of work but the team was up to the challenge.
    .

  • gmusigs

    Royal looked pretty good and I could see him backing up Thompson in the middle. Paulsen has a lot of work to do and I don’t know if he has all the right type of players he needs to be successful but we definitely aren’t a last place time this year.

  • mkaufman1

    Good to see that the team is progressing. It’ll be a tough year but at least they are headed in the right direction.

  • SkinsGMU

    I like the idea of seeing Moore at the 2, he’s not a great shooter but having he, Otis, and Holloway on the floor at the same time might give us the best change to win. We have a solid rotation up front with Marko, Jenkins, Royal, and Thompson that should help open things up for them if we stop coughing up the ball all the time.

    • BoredInClass

      That’s an awfully small lineup if you have all 3 of them on the floor at the same time. You really wouldn’t have anyone who can effectively guard a wing player. I think you bring Holloway off the bench.

      • mason2004

        It’s either that or true freshman playing more on the wing. Against certain opponents those 3 may be the best lineup to run.

        • BoredInClass

          Holloway has proven to be a streaky player on offense and not the best defender.. I don’t believe you’re going to see many lineups in the A10 that will allow for a 6’2 guard (Moore) to defend the wing for any extended period of time strictly because his lack of height. I really think they should give Grayer and Abram the keys to the wing and ride the hot hand. Holloway is an experienced offensive spark off the bench that can be an extremely valuable sub. I just don’t see many scenarios that would allow for all three of them to be on the court together for more than a few minutes. But hey.. whatever wins

  • Joel1204

    With actual defensive schemes and some fine tuning of fundamentals I’m anxious to see more competitive games we don’t collapse in this year. The lack of shooters is a bit of a concern for me, we are relying on a lot of inexperienced guys to produce there.

  • steven times

    I thought Moore was the most dominate guard in Saturdays scrimmage. Jenkins played well. Shevon dominated at times. Murrell shot the ball well, and Marko was the best player on the court. Livingston is very scrappy, but lacks the strength and size to be effective in the A10.

  • ricandersen

    Hmm. As a GMU grad, not good to see spelling or grammatical errors in three of the first four comments here. 🙂

    • steven times

      Really!!

  • ricandersen

    “With more discipline on defense and less unforced errors it’s definitely a more optimistic year for this team to get out of the A-10 basement.”

    I hope so, but I’m not as optimistic. With the A-10 preseason poll placing us 13 of 14, and Kenpom ranking us 12 of 14… But is we mean, literally last of 14, then yes, I too am optimistic we outperform Fordham this season.

    (Note: I’m not being pessimistic. I’m very encouraged at the direction we are taking. I like Paulsen, and I like his freshman recruits. We will trend up, for sure.)

    • gmusig03

      Glass houses Ric 😉
      “But is we mean”

    • gmuhoops

      I’m saying I’m more optimistic of the chance of this team being higher than the 12-14 range and not muddling in last place for most of the season.

      • ricandersen

        I hope so. I’ll actually be pretty happy with 14 wins. Last season really got to me.

  • StopWearingPurple

    The message I keep hearing from Coach Paulsen is he doesn’t know what the record will be, but we will see a much improved team. Seems like a reasonable expectation.
    He was at the Patriot Club golf tournament and he thanked everyone for their support and then hustled off because he had a practice to run. That was a pretty impressive PR move; show some love to the fans but too busy to play.