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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Recap of the open scrimmage

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Yesterday was the annual open scrimmage at the RAC. Not a whole lot to take away considering it’s a glorified practice for the fans to watch but it is a fun first look at the team during preseason. Otis Livingston had some impressive shooting and Marquise Moore was having a good day scoring and driving to the basket. Jaire Grayer sat our with an ankle issue, doesn’t appear to be serious though.

One of the best takeaways however was Troy Temara displaying some nice low post moves. The kid plays with a lot of energy and it will interesting to see how he does in the regular season in similar situations. Ian Boyd looked confident, especially on fast breaks and it’s obvious he will be able to contribute right away this year. Also, AJ Wilson showed off his shot blocking skills that Dave Paulsen keeps raving about, however I still wouldn’t be surprised if the redshirt rumor is true because he’s still seems a bit raw.

Here is some video from the scrimmage:

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Season Preview: The Year of Small Ball

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Year two for Dave Paulsen and George Mason begins with higher hopes than the last couple of seasons. Wins over Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Davidson, and VCU showed to the fan base that this program was moving in the right direction. Paulsen had the daunting task of installing his new culture into the program and cleaning up all the unforced errors we grew accustomed to seeing. We saw a team last year that fouled less and rebounded the ball well. It was clear at the end of the season that the team was practicing and playing hard but just kept falling short. Inexperience was a big issue last season, some freshmen were playing who probably weren’t ready but with the teams lack of depth there was no choice.

Now they enter 2016-17 with a more seasoned group and a proven new leader in Otis Livingston II. There are some new faces, some of whom will have an immediate impact, and definitely make this team tougher on the wings. And don’t be surprised to see an offense that runs a heck of a lot smoother. Yes, it is the ‘The Year of Small Ball’ but that’s not a bad thing. Let’s take a look at some of the key issues heading into this season for Mason using some quotes from Paulsen from this year’s Blue Ribbon Yearbook.

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Previewing the season opener against Colgate

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George Mason opens the season against Patriot league member Colgate in what will be an interesting first look at this year’s team. Now that they are without senior guard Patrick Holloway for six games, we will get to see a lot more of the freshmen in the back court. Freshman Otis Livingston was probably going to be in the starting lineup anyway but now it seems that we will see a lot of him and fellow freshman guard Kameron Murrell. Junior Marquise Moore will have to be a solid defender in the back court. The hope is under this new staff he can get closer to being an “elite defender” as Dave Paulsen keeps saying. But the strength of this year’s team is in the front court with a very solid rotation including double-double machine Shevon Thompson, Marko Gujanicic, Jalen Jenkins, freshman Danny Dixon and Julian Royal. The team has size and a legit presence in the middle with Thompson but can they use that enough to their advantage to overcome the struggles they may have in the back court? That’s probably going to be the most interesting story line to follow for this year’s team.

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Patrick Holloway suspended six games

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Last night word got out that senior guard Patrick Holloway has been suspended for six games by Dave Paulsen:

I had heard some talk in recent days of Holloway being in danger of being kicked off the team due to a number of missed classes. Looks like Paulsen is putting his foot down on the matter and will start the season with very little depth or experience in the back court. With him out I’d expect to see Otis Livingston starting at point guard with Marquise Moore playing the two like we saw in the open scrimmage.

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First look at the new Adidas uniforms

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The season opens in less than two weeks when George Mason hosts Colgate on Friday, November 13 and here is a look at the new Adidas uniforms they will be wearing. Personally I don’t like that the “George” is now no longer present on the front but hey it’s been 10 years since the Final Four run and this program could use a new look and branding. I do like however that they are simple and no longer have a weird combination of letter and number fonts like the ones they have been wearing the last two season. I hope the road uniforms are green and that they have done away with the gold as well. They could also be alternate ones that we will see, hopefully not black. What do you think?

Notes from the open scrimmage

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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.

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