AJ Wilson predictably stole the show last night with his dunking skills:
— Mason Basketball (@MasonMBB) October 14, 2017
A new season is upon us. After an off-season of much roster turnover, that included five players transferring out and one coming in, George Mason is currently left with just nine available scholarship players. Not ideal but certainly nothing to worry about with the core group still intact heading into the 2017-18 season. Juniors Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer are without a doubt the leaders and together with sophomores Justin Kier (who started nearly every game last season) and Ian Boyd, form a dynamic back court. With Marquise Moore leading the way last year they fought tooth and nail to beat bigger opponents on the boards and on defense. What will be the biggest question this year is if they can match that intensity and effort on both ends without Moore and Jalen Jenkins, who often held down the front court on his own.
Dave Paulsen was one of the first Division I coaches after the Loudoun Valley standout Jordan Miller. It paid off after an official visit this weekend as the 6’4″ wing committed to George Mason on Saturday afternoon.
George Mason has picked up the commitment of 2018 wing Jordan Miller. Tremendous pickup. Versatile and skilled playmaker with size
— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) September 2, 2017
This is a great pickup and start to the 2018 recruiting class for Dave Paulsen and his staff. He was a bit of unknown to most because he doesn’t play on the “shoe circuit” leagues. However, Paulsen did his homework on the kid and most seem to think he has the potential to be something great at Mason. Paulsen found sleepers like Miller time and time again while at Bucknell and certainly has gotten the most out of his players so far while at Mason. A solid combo guard who can also play on the wing will be needed with Otis Livingston II and Jaire Grayer’s senior year’s not too far away.
Looks like Troy Temara’s departure isn’t the only roster news as the school announced today that sophomore Karmari Newman is also leaving the program. Newman had some great moments off the bench last season, especially on-the-ball defending and three-point shooting. He was part of a deep back court that got more crowded this summer with the addition of freshman Javon Greene, who apparently has impressed the coaching staff during summer workouts. Also, with guys like Goanar Mar and AJ Wilson in the mix, Ian Boyd and Jaire Grayer won’t have to play out of position as much. The fact is the roster got a lot more competition this summer and transfers were inevitable but I did not think they’d come in August.
Sophomore Troy Temara is apparently leaving the program and will transfer to Palm Beach State, a JUCO school in Florida:
— JucoRecruiting.com (@JucoRecruiting) August 9, 2017
Here is a collection of highlights I put together from action through this past weekend (July 30) of Otis Livingston II, Jaire Grayer and AJ Wilson at Kenner Summer League. Spoiler alert: AJ Wilson is incredibly fun to watch.
Here is Otis with a nice dish to Mason legend Will Thomas (’08):
AJ Wilson, Otis Livingston, and Jaire Grayer all played in Kenner summer league action at Georgetown over the weekend. Wilson continues show his ability to play at a high level on both ends of the court. He had this big block on Saturday:
Redshirt freshman AJ Wilson will make his debut on the court this season for George Mason but is already turning heads in summer league. Wilson, along with teammates Otis Livingston, Jaire Grayer, and Goanar Mar are in this year’s Kenner League at Georgetown.
Livingston and Grayer are playing on Higher Level and Wilson and Mar are on the Curt Smith All-Stars. Here’s a clip of AJ throwing down a nice alley-oop:
— Nike DC Pro City (@KennerLeague) July 8, 2017
The dedicated practice facility for the George Mason basketball program, that has been under discussion for some time, is finally under construction. Today the school issued a release saying the dedicated facility will be ready by November for the start of the 2017-18 season:
“The Basketball Excellence Plan, which also includes a complete overhaul of the teams’ locker rooms at EagleBank Arena, is an important step toward making Mason more attractive for top recruits within the increasingly competitive national landscape.
“Although we haven’t yet realized the entire fundraising goal, we have hit the threshold to begin construction, which is more than 50 percent of the total budget,” said Edwards. “It is critical that we have the practice facility project completed before the start of the basketball season in November. In the basketball-driven Atlantic 10 Conference, it is imperative that our basketball teams have a dedicated space to develop and compete.
This is great news considering Dave Paulsen is already starting to have more success on the recruiting trails. The facility gives the team a chance to better market themselves in the competitive DC area recruiting scene and provide 24/7 court access to the current players. In the past, practices and workouts had to be scheduled around other teams using the facilities or the availability of EagleBank Arena.