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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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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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?
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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One of the biggest question marks heading into the 2015-16 season with a new coaching staff is whether or not Therence Mayimba will be on the court. Mayimba, currently listed as a redshirt freshman on the team’s website, never became eligible because of issues with his foreign transcript. But earlier this week, Jalen Jenkins posted a video of he and Mayimba dunking at Dave Paulsen’s youth basketball camp, the first documented proof we’ve seen of him back on campus and around his teammates in awhile:
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I love Kenpom and all the different analytics the site shows. The game predictors are very accurate and gives a good preview of how certain games will shake out. The site is now showing their projections for the 2014-15 season and it has George Mason rated #138 (similar to RPI), going 11-16 and finishing 7-11 within the conference. Remember, the projections are missing a few extra games in the Puerto Rico tip-off tournament in November but still paints what would seem like a fairly accurate assessment.
Looking at the schedule breakdown, it certainly confirms what Paul Hewitt said at media day about the team playing a tough non-conference schedule. There are at least four games against potential top 100 teams.
Here are some videos from the Mason Cable Network from Saturday’s Mason Madness. There is a footage of the scrimmage and interviews with Paul Hewitt and Erik Copes.
So far the media expectations for George Mason in 2014-15 have been predictably low. The highest I have seen them projected is 12th on Yahoo Sports, where they also mentioned that Paul Hewitt is on the hot seat. Today at the Atlantic 10’s annual men’s basketball media day they were picked to finish 13th, similar to where ESPN and Blue Ribbon had projected. I was hoping to see Jalen Jenkins named to at least third team all-conference but that did not happen.
In scheduling news, the rumors of a game being added against a non-Division I opponent at the RAC are true. You will notice it now on the schedule at GoMason.com. The game is against Division II school Catawba College and will be played on December 17 at the RAC.
CBSSports.com picks George Mason to finish dead last in the Atlantic 10:
“14. George Mason
I bid high on Mason last year, only to see Paul Hewitt’s team go 11-20 and be riddled with problems all year. So I’m going to pump the breaks and allow the Patriots to prove me wrong yet again. The team was a slog, as it didn’t move the ball welll, create turnovers or score well within 15 feet of the hoop. And it was regrettably bad when it came to giving the ball away. Eradicating that is the kind of thing that can take an offseason of persistence. If Hewitt’s team can curb its turnovers even down to 11 per game from the 13.4 it had last season, then gains absolutely will be made. Erik Copes is going to have to have a big year, and Jalen Jenkins will probably be the team’s star. Jenkins is a power forward who could end up with 15 double-doubles this season.”