Ladies and Gentlemen, Your George Mason Patriots…

This is the first in a 12-part series providing an overview of the conference race. As I type these words, right now, I have no idea what it’s going to look like. But I’ll do my best to handicap for you what I believe to be important.

The first thing I’ve decided is that you are going to get a “place range.” Predictions can be ridiculous and I don’t feel like answering emails in late February that surround the theme: “you said in October that My Team would finish sixth and we are tied for fourth. You are an idiot.”

I answer every email, but some are more difficult than others.

Oh, and there is no rhyme or reason to how I am throwing out the teams. My system for the order is basically “whoever I’m thinking about when I sit down to type.” George Mason goes first not because I think they will finish first–even though I do–but because I was bummed I couldn’t come up with a Ugueth Urbina joke this morning.

***

George Mason

Place Range: 1st to 3rd

Gutsy Pick: 1st

Why I Like Them Here: Experience. Guards. Big men. Shooters. Rebounders. Honestly, I think these guys are a complete team. Andre Smith is going to be a key factor. I’m a proponent of a transfer playing far better in his second year in a program than the first. Smith and Darryl Monroe fit this bill. Folarin Campbell will stop trying to do too much (like the 10-turnover performance against ODU) and the freshmen are good enough to contribute. Will Thomas is still there and plays both offense and defense. (Side note: will this kid ever graduate?)

Why I Could Be Wrong: The same team finished sixth; my personal karma theory of everyone predicting them at the top of the league, and that’s the reason they won’t. Five sentences ago I spoke of having shooters; however, I should revise that to read: I’ve seen John Vaughan and Andre Smith shoot it very well in stretches, but not consistently. Plus, Jordan Carter is average, at best, running the show. (Hint: don’t be surprised to see his PT dwindle.) They need to shoot it well and take care of the ball. Thomas being able to shoot farther than six feet from the hoop would help, too.

Oh Schedule-Maker, Why Doth Thou Curse Us: Not a ton of favors done in middle and late January. Mason hits the road to Hofstra on Jan. 17 and then travels to JMU in a trap game, because Old Dominion hits the Pat Dome four days later. The Patriots then hit the road to Wilmington and come home to meet VCU. One week later, in early February, they get to head to Philly and Bruiser and then a return date in Norfolk. Egad!

Outlook: I have to create scenarios for this team to finish lower than third. You could see Darryl Monroe trying to find his way last year and Larranaga frustrated by that. By season’s end a happy medium was found. There isn’t much heft to their noncon schedule so they should hit January flying and full of confidence. My guess: 13-5 to 15-3, but at the top.

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~ by mglitos on October 3, 2007.

5 Responses to “Ladies and Gentlemen, Your George Mason Patriots…”

  1. Methinks Messr Litos that you misunderestimate Jordan Carter. He’s a 48% shooter from the field, and 46% from behind the arc – doesn’t take a lot of shots, but makes them count when he does.

    If by average at best, you mean he’s in the middle of the starting PGs in the league, then that’s probably fair, but that still makes him one of the top players in the CAA at his position.

    Not sure who you see picking up his minutes though. Only way I see it happening is if Dre Smith plays the point and Vaughan works his way back into the starting lineup. The problem there is you run the risk of losing Dre as a shoot-first guard, or have him trying to do too much like Folarin last season.

  2. Mason has always bugged me with our lack of quality big men depth, but I feel confident with Monroe and the POY Thomas down low together for one final season. But, the CAA seems to be a guard-dominated league lately (see Maynor), and I’m hoping that our guards can overcome their occasional bad games and be consistent all season. Smith showed a lot in the CAA tourney, and will only get better. I’m STILL waiting for Campbell to be the All-American type guard/forward that I thought he would be when he came to Mason and after the Final Four run. It’s not like he’s bad or average…it’s just that he’s not GREAT.

    One problem I’d like to see fixed (and it won’t happen this year): The lack of a stud outside shooter that can consistently hit 3s, similar to former UF player and Mason killer Humphrey. Larranaga (don’t get me wrong, I love the guy) seems obsessed with athletes, as opposed to shooters. That bugs me. Bring in a shooter, Jim. It won’t hurt. Honest. And based on his recruiting for next year, it looks like he’s heading in the athlete direction again…which is always good for a show at the Patriot Center and many, many wins as well.

    But, for now…can’t wait until this season. I think you’re right – Mason SHOULD be in the top three. Anything less will be a major disappointment.

    GO MASON.

  3. Yes, fortunately for non-Mason fans, Will Thomas will graduate, this year. At least he isn’t a bad kid, and graduates on time. 🙂

  4. […] Jai Lewis last season. Although this is his second year in Fairfax after transferring to Mason, so some more knowledgeable than I expect to see some improvement from […]

  5. no prob we are getting three power forwards next year and we will be full fledged NCAA 1 division team.

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