#97 George Mason Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

George Mason Patriots

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #97
Conference Rank: #8 Atlantic 10

George Mason Team Page#97 George Mason Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy George Mason Basketball Tickets

George Mason returns seven players who started at least 18 games last season and nine who averaged at least a dozen minutes. They will need that experience as they move into the Atlantic 10. The competition is going to be brutal and the Patriots need to be prepared to work through the grind. The conference should get three, four or five teams into the NCAA Tournament. If the Patriots can stay healthy and use their depth to their advantage, there is hope for an NCAA Tournament berth. With basically the entire team back for a squad that reached the CBI finals, that is the next step.

2012-13 Record: 22-16, 10-8 (CAA)
2012-13 Postseason: CBI
Coach: Paul Hewitt
Coach Record: 46-25 at George Mason, 256-189 overall

Who’s Out:
The only departures are a trio of transfers. Vertrail Vaughns, a 6-2 guard, was a starter two years ago. Last season he became a shooter off of the bench and was not even the best shooter off of the bench on the team. Vaughn Gray had potential to be a decent shooter, but he never found his stroke in 2012-2013. Paris Bennett occasionally provided emergency depth to the frontcourt, but was only used in 24 contests and averaged about ten minutes per game.

Who’s In:
The lone incoming freshman is a good one. Marquise Moore has only spent one year running the point after making the switch from shooting guard in prep school. Thus, he is not a true point guard and can do plenty of scoring. For now he will likely be the backup point guard, allowing other combo guards on the team to stay off of the ball. Jalen Jenkins spent last season on the sidelines and in the gym. He needed to beef up before he could add depth to the frontcourt and he has done just that. Now listed at 6-7 and 238 pounds, Jenkins is ready to battle in the paint in the A-10. Whether or not he can actually find any minutes this season is another story.

Who to Watch:
The top four scorers are all seniors. That is how much experience this team returns. Sherrod Wright will have the ball in his hands when George Mason needs a bucket. The 6-4 wing averaged 16.6 points and 4.9 rebounds. He is a very good shooter, but his numbers did dip in 2012-2013. He shot 35.1 percent from beyond the arc and 77.7 percent from the charity stripe. Those numbers are not bad by any means, but it is a significant drop from the previous year and considering how often Wright gets to the foul line, even that slight drop makes a big difference. Bryon Allen will get to concentrate more on scoring this time around, but he is still a fine passer and dished out 4.0 assists per game as a junior. After averaging 8.3 points per contest, Allen will break the double digit plateau with more consistent shooting. Jonathan Arledge and Johnny Williams are the seniors in the frontcourt. Arledge was just a part-time starter in 2011-2012, but he still ranked second on the team with 9.0 points and third in rebounding with 4.8 per contest. At 6-9 and 236 pounds, Arledge is a big body in the paint, yet he can shoot too. He knocked down a team high 81.4 percent of his attempts from free-throw line and 41.4 percent of his limited attempts from beyond the arc. His ability to stretch out the defense can really open things up for the George Mason offense. Williams started the first 20 games a year ago before a concussion ended his season early. He is not the strongest rebounder and his mid-range jumper has not been terribly consistent, but Williams is a decent scorer around the basket and does many of the little things that will not show up in the box score.

Final Projection:
Possibly, the two most important players on the team are not seniors. Point guard Corey Edwards and center Erik Copes have both been improving steadily. Edwards turned into a starter shortly into last season and that allowed Allen to spend more time off of the ball and backup Edwards when needed. While Edwards will not do much scoring, as long as he takes care of the ball, he is doing what George Mason needs him to do. Copes could be a much more prolific threat on the offensive end. So far he has not lived up to his offensive potential, yet the Patriots really need him to rebound and play defense and that he has done. As if there was not enough talent on this team already, Marko Gujanicic and Patrick Holloway showed plenty of promise as freshmen. It may be another year before those two take the next step, yet it is experienced depth like that which will help George Mason survive the grind of the A-10.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Corey Edwards, Junior, Guard, 4.9 points per game
Bryon Allen, Senior, Guard, 8.3 points per game
Sherrod Wright, Senior, Guard, 16.6 points per game
Johnny Williams, Senior, Forward, 7.0 points per game
Erik Copes, Junior, Center, 5.9 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.1 (152nd in nation, 6th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.9 (154, 3)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (154, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.3 (103, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (259, 7)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 34.5 (136, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.5 (72, 4)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (138, 5)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (190, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.6 (204, 7)


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