The improved play of Jalen Jenkins has certainly been a big part of George Mason’s wins over Davidson and VCU. He has been a clutch go to guy and a real force inside on both ends of the court. Jenkins has averaged 14.2 points per game over the last five contests and has given the offense a needed spark. Too often this season Mason has relied on outside shooting to beat teams and we’ve all seen how that has been wildly inconsistent. Jenkins and Thompson are providing points in the paint off put backs and great leads from Otis Livingston and Marquise Moore. The team overall is now less one-dimensional on offense and a lot tougher inside on defense.
The coaching staff certainly played a role in getting him back on track:
“He spent extra time with assistant coach Duane Simpkins banging him with a football blocking pad during post shooting drills. What Paulsen calls “the lag time” between practice improvement and game improvement ended with Jenkins going for 20 points and nine rebounds in an 81-75 loss at Davidson on Jan. 9 in the Patriots’ third A-10 game.”
The big question is will this improved play from Jenkins help Mason make some noise in the conference tournament next month in Brooklyn. After the VCU game I think we have a clear picture of just how good these guys can be when they execute a solid game plan. The freshmen have their moments and veterans up front are starting to pull their weight more. It’s a shame this all didn’t happen much earlier in the season but it’s an encouraging sign that the culture change the staff has been pushing is starting to take place.
[Photo by Bill Bride]