First look at EagleBank Arena’s new video board

Earlier this month George Mason announced that Eagle Bank Arena was finally getting center hung video boards. This has been an arena upgrade that fans have been desiring for over the last 10 years or so. And now all the sudden it looks like we will have it for the home opener vs Lafayette. Yesterday a twitter follower sent out this picture to give us a first look at it:

videoboard

Brad Edwards also tweeted out this picture:

And this:

 

As official practices begin, let’s take a look at George Mason’s depth chart heading into 2017-18

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.

team photo

via @MasonMBB

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AJ Wilson throwing down alley-oops at Kenner League

IMG_7934Redshirt 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.

CaptureajLivingston 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:

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Dedicated practice facility will be ready for the start of 2017-18

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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.

Expect Mason to play at a higher tempo on offense this year

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We’ve discussed how this is the ‘Year of Small Ball’ for George Mason basketball heading into 2016-17, but how will that change their approach on offense? Steven Goff of the Washington Post got some good insight from Dave Paulsen on how Mason will approach this season without big man Shevon Thompson and using a smaller, more guard heavy lineup:

The Patriots will play differently this season. Without 6-11 Shevon Thompson, last year’s senior centerpiece, they have broadened their offensive options and aim to play at a higher tempo. They’ll do more screening and cutting and hope to break out in transition.

Last season, if the primary option crumbled, the Patriots often would crash.

“We struggled to get to a second or third action,” Paulsen said. “I think we can do that this season and have some nuance in our game.”

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