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Freshman Focus with Coach Paulsen

Discussion in 'George Mason Basketball' started by By George., May 9, 2020.

  1. gmujim92

    gmujim92 Hall of Famer

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    If he’s not the first option on every possession, I will be shocked. Having a guy who can legit score inside and out, post up, turn and face and pick and pop for 3 is such a valuable weapon. AJ is also much improved passing out of double teams so we need to exploit that to create open looks for other guys.

    If he comes back in the fall with a truly confident handle, he’ll be unguardable in the
    A-10.
    tblack33 and By George. like this.
  2. By George.

    By George. Starter

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    There really is a lot to unpack, he answered some of y’alls questions without us having to ask.

    The Javon quote is troubling but at the same time, I agree he probably has some growing up to do on the court. He clearly can score, but can he handle the pressure? Can he hit big shots? Can he put his ego aside?
  3. MasonSAE4

    MasonSAE4 All-Conference

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    Positionless basketball (at least on offense) is all well and good and can be effectively used to mask roster shortcomings, but you have to actually play that way. We play traditional basketball with an undersized lineup. If we were constantly pressing/fastbreaking/running less traditional offensive set plays then DP might have a point, but it's a bit of a cop out to say we're moving to positionless basketball just because we can't get a 5 that we want.

    It's been well covered on here but unfortunately for Paulsen, everything comes down to getting an effective center, whether that's fair to him or not. We complain about our lack of shooting but how much of that is our guys can't shoot vs. the other team not having to double (or even really worry) about our big man down low and are able to play us straight up or in a zone? We don't exactly generate open looks. Same goes for the other side of the ball. We always wonder why some random a**hole lights us up from downtown each game but it's because we have to double the post and obviously we're gonna leave the guy we're least worried about wide open. I feel like every year I watch some kid from the Devry Technical Institute of Fashion or whatever go off on us for 20, and it's almost never because he's hitting contested 3's with someone in his face. How many times did Piere go nuts on us because we had to have four guys near the paint ready to rugby tackle Holloway?

    I'm sure I'll get the usual suspects saying something like "you think Dave hasn't tried to recruit a 5?" or "of course a grad transfer would rather play in La Salle's garage home gym than in Fairfax." I don't even really care if he can't recruit a 5, but at least roll the dice and let us play chaos ball that fits our athletic profile. But this "positionless" stuff is annoying because we're playing uber conservatively with a lineup that isn't built for that.
  4. GSII

    GSII Hall of Famer

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    I agree if you play positionless ball, you better have a good version of the fab 5 or running rebels.

    It seems like DP is gonna run a 4 out offense. This is the same shit Hewitt ran bc it gives kids freedom to freelance and he could just stand their and yell random stuff that made him look like he was coaching when really his approach was recruit better athletes and just roll the ball out onto the court.

    For comparison, maybe someone could breakdown what we ran in 2006 and 2011 under L and compare it to the 4 out DP plans to run (again) next year.
  5. Masonfan3

    Masonfan3 Sixth Man

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    Karmari Newman could have been something special and I would even throw Deandre Abram in there. IMO, DP gave up on Deandre way too soon and we never got to see what Karmari could do. Deandre left and averaged double figures and Karmari did basically the same thing until he transferred again. And I wouldn't say that we have been immune from the transfer epidemic when we had 6 guys leave the program just a couple years ago...
    sleeperpick likes this.
  6. gmujim92

    gmujim92 Hall of Famer

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    In what world is 6-9, 6-7, 6-6, 6-2 and 6-1 an undersized lineup for an A-10 team? That’s the lineup we ended last season with and the one we will likely open next season with.

    Also, the folks who keep sleeping on Oduro are gonna look pretty dumb by the time he’s done at Mason.
    Quentin Daniels likes this.
  7. Petey Buckets

    Petey Buckets Starter

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    Been screaming this for years. We aren't playing small ball, we're playing regular ball with a small lineup. Positionless basketball as a concept is pretty cool but honestly it's kind of grating to hear Paulsen talk about it because he's built his program around guys who don't come close to fitting into it (Otis, Reuter).

    As far as scheme, Jim asked earlier how Richmond plays good defense with such a small lineup (starting backcourt 5'9" and 6'0"). My eyes tell me that they don't switch nearly as much as we do. This is my big problem with our defensive scheme - we switch endlessly and guys don't fight through screens. This might be viable if we actually had switchable personnel, but usually we don't. We make it way too easy for opponents to generate mismatches. (Note: Hartwell fights like hell through screens and I don't think it's a coincidence that our perimeter defense is much better with him on the floor).

    This is part of the reason last year was so disappointing, even with the injuries. If you're trying to play positionless but you can't create a coherent offense or defense around Javon, Goanar, Jordan, and AJ, it's tough to believe you'll ever be able to execute it. AJ's the only world-beater in there but our personnel was decently well-suited for what Dave says he wants to do and we still finished bottom 4.
    By George., gmutom, MasonSAE4 and 2 others like this.
  8. GSII

    GSII Hall of Famer

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    [QUOTE="Masonfan3, post: 131759, And I wouldn't say that we have been immune from the transfer epidemic when we had 6 guys leave the program just a couple years ago...[/QUOTE]


    This very telling. It tells me DP pushed out alot of guys thus wasting these kids' time. Guess it worked out for Dixon. But the Covid got in the way. Poor guy.
  9. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    Lineup Heights for next year (tentative)
    Mason 6-9, 6-7, 6-6, 6-2, 6-1
    Davidson 6-10, 6-8, 6-7, 6-5, 6-5 (this is with the idea that Lee and Frampton both start and Collins does not... Lee is damn good and won't be a 6th man anymore IMO)
    Dayton: 6-11, 6-9, 6-5, 6-2, 6-1 (Dayton's 5 best returning players starting... could obviously change)
    Duquesne: 6-9, 6-8, 6-5, 6-3, 6-1 (TMD super 6th man again)
    Fordham: 6-11, 6-9, 6-9, 6-3, 6-1 (Soriano and Eychi COULD be best big tandem in the league)
    GW: 6-9, 6-8, 6-7, 6-5, 6-1 (Long and athletic as hell next year)
    Lasalle: 6-11, 6-10, 6-6, 6-4, 6-2 (Clifton Moore could turn that program around)
    UMASS: 6-9, 6-8, 6-9, 6-4, 6-2
    URI: 6-8, 6-9, 6-4, 6-2, 5-10 (this does not take any of their transfers into consideration since most are sitting at least 1st semester. they are final 3 for a 4 star center that could play day 1)
    Richmond: 6-10, 6-7, 6-4, 6-0, 5-9 (they actually play position less basketball)
    St Joes: 6-10, 6-8, 6-5, 6-5, 6-5 (damn they will be pretty big next year)
    St Louis: 6-11, 6-7, 6-6, 6-3, 6-0
    Bona: 6-10, 6-8, 6-5, 6-3, 6-3
    VCU: 6-9, 6-8, 6-6, 6-3, 6-3

    After this simple research I will concur we are no longer undersized. The way we play our offense makes it seem that way a lot of the time as well as the inability for any rim protection (other than AJ) after horrible on ball defense makes it look small on defense as well. If Paulsen truly is planning on trashing his entire playbook and creating one for our best players and for the extreme athletes we start at 4 positions I will be enthused. But, last year he set up our entire offense and refused to change it for a player that played below NCAA eligibility minimums. Positionless basketball is amazing, I just don't truly think Paulsen understands it that well...
    MasonSAE4, ephoops and mkaufman1 like this.
  10. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    I agree with every part of this post other than we are undersized. We are actually like top 4 in league in starting size
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  11. Quentin Daniels

    Quentin Daniels Hall of Famer

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    Where are you pulling that from?

    Interesting to compare - good stuff!
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  12. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    Verbal Commits and then either plugging back in all the starters they have or adding 6th men or top freshmen/available transfers into open starting spots. Some were easy (Richmond, Duquesne, GW) some are a bit harder to predict (Rhode Island, Davidson, Dayton)

    Also utilized ESPN to remind myself on who started for a team last year (St Joe's, Lasalle, Fordham)
  13. mkaufman1

    mkaufman1 Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice post and research. I saw Joel Soriano play when I went to Fordham and I thought he was a senior just by the pure size and how he looked like a man. Little did I know he was a freshman (that prepped).

    I will be surprised if Soriano stays at Fordham for all 4 years.
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  14. Pablo

    Pablo Hall of Famer

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    Interesting information - but is weight no longer an important factor in comparing size particularly at the "5"?
  15. MasonSAE4

    MasonSAE4 All-Conference

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    @gmujim92 @sleeperpick I will admit when I am (sort of) wrong. Before seeing Sleeper's post I would've have guessed somewhere around middle to slightly below middle of the pack in terms of height (also I meant undersized relative to the way we play but I didn't make that clear). But what Pablo is saying is also part of what I was getting at. Going by what is an obviously subjective eye test, how many times have you looked at the court and it looks like men against boys? We've got some lean players. I think we've overperformed for a few years in terms of masking that considering Marquise and then Kier became elite rebounders for their size, but last year without a 6'3 or 6'4 guy radically overperforming his height on the boards we really struggled and that translated in our overall record.

    And for what it's worth I actually like Oduro quite a bit, although I am concerned his skillset doesn't really fix any of our issues (i.e. teams aren't going to double him even if he is drilling shots from the elbow on them.) Can he get to the point where we trust him to handle a true 5 on his own defensively? I think with a little added muscle and aggression, yes. But I also thought that about Calixte and he seemed to plateau after his freshman year. So who knows.
    sleeperpick likes this.
  16. FreeGunston12

    FreeGunston12 Starter

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    Not if you want them to shoot in a position less system. You're going to have to sacrifice weight moreso than height.

    Although, I'm not sure how light Oduro is comparatively. I would guess he is average weight for the 5's in the A-10. He's got to be heavier than Osun.

    My complaint with position less ball is that you create jack-of-all-trades/masters-of-none. So you're seeing guys get the ball in different spots where they may not be as comfortable and your not designing an offense to get a specific look in a specific spot to optimize probability of success.

    Might explain that graphic that was shared last season showing how many shots are coming from midrange for us. We don't have specialized post players and we don't have specialized shooters.
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  17. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    weight is definitely an important factor. but you find a true weight on any of these big boys and I will give you $10.. height and weight often inflated but weight specifically is generally not close to what the kids are actually in game day weight so I did not include because I think it is too skewed. If weight was to be considered we would fall from "top 5 in length in starting lineup" to probably like top 9. Hasahn French, Soriano, and even Longpre are gigantic. Oduro has a ton of baby fat on him while those others are musclier. I am not sure how to quantify that to mean anything.
  18. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    him and a healthy Eychi are going to be absolute monsters if they can stay healthy and play together... might just save Neubauers job
  19. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    that's extremely fair. I agree we are particularly frail or filled with baby fat compared to our opponents, but we do have the length and athleticism (mostly) to not be playing small ball and to be too overmatched. Henry, Kolek and Otis are sticks as well, not sure about Polite. But at least Henry and Otis add more length
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  20. sleeperpick

    sleeperpick All-American

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    To your last point about position less basketball "jack of all trades/masters of none", I agree with you... BUT I think that using a hand off spread hybrid offense really played to our disadvantages last year. We were best when Javon, Miller, AJ and even XJ sometimes went outside the playbook and played a tiny bit of position less basketball. Paulsen's current offense does not fit the personnel. If he is finally realizing that and will try and implement something that does.... better late than never I guess. It should have been done the second Kier was not starting the season with the team... But he says he is doing it now so I am thankful for that. Jordan, Boyd and Javon should get a ton more looks outside and in mid range while AJ should get a ton more one on ones like we saw in his absolute demolishing of St Joes in the A10 tourney. that is what this team needs because play spread and dribble hand off so stringently was horrible to watch and had to be annoying for the team to have to play game in game out. (I am sure Jim is going to say that the team LOVED the offense, but it didn't look like it to me)

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