Section 124: A Fresh Perspective

January 22, 2012   ·   0 Comments

by Daniel Zimmet

There are thousands of players in NCAA division one basketball that have ball handling skills or can knock down tough shots.  However, a high basketball IQ is what sets good players apart from great players. As we roll past the midway point of this season, the progression of the young freshman talent on our team is extremely important.  Corey Edwards, Vaughn Gray and Erik Copes are all slowly developing and finding their niche in this Paul Hewitt coaching system.  As aforementioned, a high basketball IQ is an essential attribute that players need to have to play at a higher level in college basketball.  All three of our freshmen have not only a high IQ, but also the ability to continue to learn and improve their game while they are here.

Edwards started the season extremely well but has gradually played very average possibly due to the tough physical grind of playing in the NCAA.  Gray was extremely tentative at first but has slowly began to find his stroke.  Finally, Copes has shown his big man power moves and has been a steady player while improving each game.

Edwards is a quick passing, wide-vision type of true point guard.  Aside from Andre Cornelius, who naturally scores points, he could be considered the only true point guard on the team.  Fans need to look past the fact the he doesn’t score points for Mason.  Although he has yet to accumulate over nine points in a game, he is a player that sees the court extremely well and kicks out passes for others to rack up points. His hands are also extremely quick. One on one against a defender means he’s in his ideal situation to pick up a steal which leads to fast breaks and more shots for us.

Vaughn Gray has taken a little while to get into his Mason basketball flow.  I think one of his main problems was that he doesn’t quite know where he fits into the team.  All of the recruiting profiles clearly state that he is a slasher but, so far at Mason, he has been a shooter.  On The Morning Breakdown radio show on WGMU, Mike Morrison even talked about how he believes that Gray is the next Cam Long.  His size and shooting ability allows him to flex between shooting guard and small forward.  Aside from Sherrod Wright, in my opinion, he is the only other player that can switch between those two positions instantly without any experience trying it out.  Finally, Gray has found his shot.  It’s clear that he is going to be a catch and shoot player.  His quick release allows for minimal spacing between him and the defender, which will be exciting to watch for years to come.

If anyone follows the hashtag #MasonMBB on Twitter, you will know that #CopesBlockParty was nearly trending in the game against Drexel.  It is pretty clear what his role is going to be for his time here.  It seems like he can almost predict where a player is going to drive to hoop from and anticipates his blocks before they happen.  Morrison also stated on The Morning Breakdown that he predicts that Copes will break the current Mason record for most blocks in a season, which was set by George Evans at 210.  The CAA record might be even tougher to top which is 516 set by Navy’s David Robinson.  Copes also has a turnaround floater that will be tough to defend.  Since he is still just a freshman, he is still figuring out the perfect touch.  However, once he figures it out, I think we’re going to see some points and blocks double doubles out of him.  With the help of Uncle Roland, Copes is going to develop into not only a dominant CAA player, but I believe a dominant NCAA player as well.

With these three guys leading the charge as the future of our program, the CAA should be put on watch for many years to come. Many coaches have mentioned that Coach Hewitt is able recruit just about any player he wants and fit them into his system exactly as he plans.  As the years roll through and more and more freshmen classes come through, we’re going to see an even more dominant Mason basketball team in an already proven Paul Hewitt system.

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