"Stacked with dudes." I haven't been this pumped for a season since we beat Villanova in the tourney. But this is looking like the real deal!A10Talk has us going 13-5 in conference.
George MasonKey player: Josh Oduro was the big fish that Kim English wanted to secure on day one in Fairfax, and he was successful in getting Josh to stay. Oduro’s development over the summer cannot be understated, and he has the tools to make a run at winning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Josh also finally has a strong supporting cast around him, with a host of transfers that include DeVon Cooper, Davonte Gaines and D’Shawn Schwartz. Jamal Hartwell II is another returner to keep an eye on, as Kim English has repeatedly stated that Hartwell has the green light to shoot from downtown 24/7. Team Expectation: This team isn’t in rebuilding mode: they’re in win NOW mode, that much is abundantly clear from watching summer practices in Fairfax. There is a level of expectation surrounding this program that I have not witnessed in quite some time. New coaches? The vast majority of the coaching staff is brand new to Mason. It all starts with Head Coach Kim English, who is attempting to lead an unprecedented turnaround in Fairfax.
Coach English brings in a strong supporting cast of coaches, including Dennis Felton who most recently served as assistant coach at Fordham. Nate Tomlinson comes to Mason from Colorado, where he served as a fellow assistant alongside Kim English two seasons ago in Boulder. Duane Simpkins is the lone returner to the coaching staff from the Dave Paulsen era at Mason. Overall outlook on the team, maybe a record prediction overall and conference? This roster is stacked with dudes which one has not been able to say of the Patriots in recent memory. We’re going to find out a lot about this team very early on, as Mason has non-conference games against Maryland, Washington, Nevada, South Dakota State, and Georgia.
Furthermore, George Mason will jump right into conference play with their opening game on the road at VCU. A key early stretch of games in January includes Richmond, Dayton, St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis, with the three latter contests being at home. If George Mason is going to be a legitimate contender in the Atlantic 10 this season, we’re going to find out very early on.
Conference Record Prediction: 13-5
-Daniel Frank, A10 Talk George Mason Contributor