Must-See: Chicago Bulls Embarrass Mason Plumlee with Two Straight Rejections

Mason Plumlee tried his best to score against the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter of the Brooklyn Nets game in the Windy City on Wednesday…but ran into some trouble in the paint. 

Watch as Plumlee gets his shot sent back twice in a double denial by the Chicago Bulls front line.

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George Mason wins on 75-foot buzzer-beater

The craziest shot of the year.

      
 

 

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Kentucky’s Alex Poythress Spikes Frank Mason III’s Layup Attempt

No. 1 Kentucky is facing off against No. 5 Kansas during the 2014 Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, and the Wildcats are proving to be a dominating force as they took a 38-28 lead into halftime. 

The first half proved to be a block party, as the Wildcats recorded eight rejections while allowing only eight field goals to the Jayhawks (8-of-34).  Kentucky’s Alex Poythress delivered a gorgeous chase-down block on Frank Mason III in the initial half and spiked the ball off the glass for the most impressive of all the stuffs. 

It’s going to be a long year for players who want to attack the paint against the Wildcats. 

[Vine, Sporting News' Ryan Fagan]

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Freshman Nate Mason Impressive in Minnesota Loss to Louisville

It was a tough match first up for Minnesota, as they went down 81-68 to Louisville in the Armed Forces Classic. There were a number of positives to take away, though: the strong start, a furious comeback, the predictably outstanding Andre Hollins and a solid debut from freshman guard Nate Mason.

Mason was impressive coming off the bench, contributing 10 points, five rebounds and two assists in 20 minutes.

It did not take long for him to catch the eye, either. After receiving the ball in transition, he took the ball confidently to the hoop, making use of some elegant footwork to step around his man and finish the play.

He did not stop there. The second-half saw him finish in transition once more, while a willingness to put the ball on the ground in the half court helped him get to the line five times. It was an extremely positive start to what promises to be a good collegiate career.

Mason looked comfortable handling the ball, often being made to work hard getting it up the floor by his outstandingly quick opponent, Chris Jones. Yet he handled the pressure well and was even able to apply a bit of his own on defence.

His option-taking was generally good, too. As a freshman going up against a top-ranked opponent, you do not want to be trying to do too much. Mason did not, playing a tidy game, handling the ball where necessary and mainly looking to pass in the half court.

The only real negative to come from his game was the four fouls he picked up, which saw him playing in spurts throughout. He was not alone in this, though, as the game was called tightly and 10 other players picked up four or more fouls also.

But there was enough to suggest that this kid could be very useful for the Golden Gophers over the next four years. This was a high-quality opponent and often freshman guards can seem under pressure against the top teams early on in their careers. Mason did not and while he hardly screamed superstar, he was reliable and his footwork and confidence handling the ball will make him a threat going to the hoop.

Mason was rated a 3-star recruit by ESPN and ranked the 31st point guard. He was also recruited by Harvard, Kansas State and Virginia, but it was Minnesota who secured his signature little over a year ago. They look to have found themselves a reliable point guard, too, who did seem far better than the 3-star rating he was given.

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Auburn relying heavily on transfers Mason, Bowers

Auburn hoping for immediate impact from Niagara transfer Mason and JUCO forward Bowers

      
 

 

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Mason Plumlee Is Emerging as Brooklyn Nets’ Most Important Big Man

Mason Plumlee was not on the minds of most Brooklyn Nets fans way back in November.

He was a late first-round pick perceived to have a limited ceiling as a professional player. He also was overshadowed in the Nets’ frontcourt by Brook Lopez, the team’s best player, and recently acquired NBA legend Kevin Garnett.

Most pundits figured Plumlee wouldn’t even make the opening-night roster.

“Everyone seemed to think Nets rookie Mason Plumlee was headed for the NBA’s Developmental League at the start of the season,” reports Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com.

But significant injuries and Plumlee’s own improving skills have thrust the former Duke Blue Devil into the role of starting center for the surging Nets. Lopez went down in December with a season-ending foot injury, while Garnett has missed 11 straight games with back spasms. 

In their absence, Plumlee has played solid basketball at both ends of the court, and he’s starting to get some of the credit for Brooklyn’s remarkable turnaround. 

Since Plumlee took over as the starting center, the Nets have gone 9-2 to close in on the Toronto Raptors‘ top spot in the Atlantic Division.

His per-game numbers (6.8 points, 3.9 rebounds) won’t blow anyone away, but Plumlee wasn’t playing often enough early in the season to fill out the box score—he averaged fewer than nine minutes per game during the month of January.

Since then, head coach Jason Kidd has put more trust in Plumlee and awarded him increased playing time. Since February 1, Plumlee has been the Nets’ best big man by several measures:

Player Offensive Rating Defensive Rating Rebound Rate Field Goal Percentage
Mason Plumlee 105.2 98.8 17.7 .642
Kevin Garnett 96.9 94.8 19.4 .561
Andray Blatche 107.9 102.1 12.4 .468
Jason Collins 104.7 105.2 4.9 .375

It’s not difficult to understand why Plumlee is thriving with the Nets. Brooklyn has athletic swingmen who shoot well, forcing opponents to guard all the way out to the perimeter. As a result, Plumlee has space to finish inside and is often the recipient of accurate passing by the Nets’ generous backcourt of Deron Williams and Shaun Livingston.

This video of a Plumlee dunk from February is a great example. The New Orleans Pelicans defense must respect Brooklyn’s outside shooting. Consequently, all it takes is an impromptu pick-and-roll with Williams to create some space for Plumlee, who uses his 36-inch vertical to complete the play.

These types of plays at the rim make up the majority of Plumlee’s offensive contributions. Look at his shot chart from the past 30 days, via Vorped.com. No wonder his shooting percentage is so high! 

Plumlee is still somewhat raw on defense, but he’s able to make up for a lack of veteran instincts with his superb athleticism. Plus, he’s received some useful tutelage from Garnett, a former Defensive Player of the Year.

“At shootaround he’ll take me through who I’m guarding. He’s really helpful,” Plumlee said, per ESPN.com. It might be paying off already, as Plumlee had three steals Friday night in Brooklyn’s victory over the Boston Celtics.

Plumlee still has some work to do on his game, as Timothy Bontemps of the New York Post points out:

However, he’s been an integral part of a Nets team that looked doomed after Lopez’ injury. Even if Garnett returns, Plumlee will be an important interior weapon for the Nets as the playoffs approach. 

 

All Statistics from NBA.com

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WATCH: Gerald Green with a sick dunk over Mason Plumlee

Gerald Green is widely known around the NBA as being a top five dunker, and on Monday night he furthered that notion. En route to a 17-point performance off the bench (since Eric Bledsoe is back now), Green threw down this ridiculously insane double-clutch dunk over and around Mason Plumlee. Mason’s brother, Miles, coincidentally was the one who got the assist on the play. I’m sure Mason will hear about that many times in the future. [NBA's Instagram] The post Gerald Green Throws Down Incredible Dunk Over and Around Mason Plumlee appeared first on Diehardsport.

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Kansas’ Frank Mason Pulls off Nice Crossover, Defender Falls Down

The Kansas Jayhwaks were taking on the West Virginia Mountaineers in a Big 12 matchup on Saturday, and freshman guard Frank Mason looked ready to play.

On a fastbreak, Mason got the ball and was determined to get to the basket. He went with the crossover and completely burned West Virginia’s Gary Browne, with the defender falling completely over.

The Jayhawks led the Mountaineers 43-36 at halftime.

[Youtube, h/t College Spun]

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5 Takeaways from George Mason Basketball’s Loss to No. 19 Saint Louis

The George Mason Patriots squandered another late-game advantage in an 87-81 loss to the No. 19 St. Louis Billikens on Saturday.

The Patriots, the newest member of the Atlantic 10 Conference in men’s basketball, lost their eighth consecutive game and remained winless in conference play (0-7) this season. Just as the story has gone all season long, the Patriots led by seven on three separate occasions but were unable to fend off the Billikens late in the game.

Despite trailing at the half, the Patriots took the lead immediately out of the break and held the advantage for the entirety of the second half until the Billikens’ Rob Loe tied the game at 68 with 44 seconds left. George Mason could not win the game in regulation, after two shot attempts rimmed out, and Saint Louis ran away with the victory in overtime.

After another heartbreaking loss for the Patriots, the following is a list of five keys Patriots fans can take away from their latest defeat.

Begin Slideshow

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Is Mason Plumlee a Keeper for the Brooklyn Nets?

Brooklyn Nets rookie Mason Plumlee has had an up-and-down season so far, being thrust into some tough situations as the frontcourt has dealt with a ton of injuries.

On the whole, the No. 22 pick has been impressive, though. He won’t be competing for Rookie of the Year, but to get 13 points and seven rebounds per 36 minutes from a young big man is nothing to complain about.

What’s particularly notable is Plumlee‘s field-goal percentage. He’s shooting 63 percent on the season, which indicates that he knows his limitations and is selective with his offensesomething a lot of rookies struggle with.

Of course, a big reason for that is the Nets’ talent elsewhere in offense, but it’s still a positive nonetheless.

Plumlee‘s minutes have dropped significantly in recent weeks—he’s eclipsed the 10-minute mark just twice in the new yearbut there was a point around the peak of his playing time that he was considered a top-10 rookie on ESPN, NBA.com and Sheridan Hoops’ respective rookie rankings.

From the 16th to the 29th of November, Plumlee was averaging 20.7 minutes per game, and that’s where we really started to see signs of a productive player.

That stretch included two of the three games in which he’s reached double figures in scoring, highlighted by this performance against the Los Angeles Clippers:

With Andray Blatche back and performing well in 2014, chances are we won’t see much more of Plumlee for the rest of the season, save the occasional game where the team decides to rest Kevin Garnett completely.

Ultimately, though, the little we have seen of Plumlee should be taken as a positive. It’s hard to gauge his exact ceiling, but for a team strapped of cap space and draft picks in the coming years, it’s nice to know that the least the Nets have here is an efficient, athletic 7-footer.

The key for Plumlee‘s development is going to be taking as many pointers as possible from the likes of KG, Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd. In terms of veteran presence, this is one of the best situations in the NBA for a rookie, and he needs to take advantage of that as much as he possibly can.

Given that he’ll be under contract for the foreseeable future, Plumlee was always going to be a keeper for the next few years, but the limited action we’ve seen from him indicates he’ll be someone worth developing, rather than just roster filler.

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