Big Surprise – Former Standout John Vaughan Appreciates Mason’s Defense
GoMason Blog was sitting courtside at the men’s basketball game on Monday night, watching the Patriots take on the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. We noticed someone else sitting courtside, someone with a little more basketball acumen and decided it would probably be more interesting to hear what he had to say about the game rather than what we had to say. So without further ado, here are some thoughts on last night’s game from former Patriot standout John Vaughan (2004-09). Oh, and a Happy Birthday to JV.
As a former player, I now understand the importance of the little things in basketball that were stressed under the great leadership of Coach Jim Larranaga. As I watched Monday night’s game against Delaware, it is clear that the defense is the backbone of our team. As we now get into conference play, the teams are very familiar with each other and on most nights an offensive explosion will not occur. I saw last night that our team defense has greatly increased from the beginning of the year. Although Delaware made some shots, I felt that the majority of them were not easy makes. Mike Morrison does a great job being a strong last line of defense with blocks and charges. Isaiah Tate has vastly improved his defensive technique and intensity. Cam Long and Andre Cornelius did a great job of making the primary ballhandlers for Delaware very uncomfortable, and I believe Delaware got away with a few traveling violations. Luke Hancock and Ryan Pearson are doing a tremendous job of crashing the boards. Overall the team defense has been a collective effort and has shown great improvement.
Offensively, the team seems to be gelling more together. Although I’m sure coach wants them to tone down on the turnovers, I’m very sure he is happy with the assists in tonight’s game. 14 out of the 26 field goals made came off of assists. That is a sign of good team chemistry and familiarity with one another. I was also very impressed with the continued efforts of the team in the second half to get the ball in the post to Ryan Pearson once he got it going. Mike Morrison’s post footwork has vastly improved as well, as evident by the drop step facial he gave that Delaware defender. It was good to see Isaiah Tate provide the spark off the bench on offense with his three-point shooting and attack of the basket. Cam Long also has shown great leadership by providing baskets at key moments in the first and second half. His leadership by example has really improved. I was also very impressed with the development of Andre Cornelius being able to run the offense effectively from the point guard position. Luke Hancock just always seems to be in the right place at the right time when a play needs to be made, he just plays the game with good intensity which leads to positive results.
Overall, I enjoy watching my George Mason family play and succeed. I believe this can be a very successful year for the Patriots and I look forward to watching them continue to get better throughout the year. I also want to thank the George Mason fans, alum, staff and Patriot Club members for their continued support and love shown towards me at each and every game. It is truly humbling and so much of a blessing to have the great support of such wonderful people. We are truly a family and I appreciate all of you!