FAIRFAX, Va. – George Mason University men’s basketball head coach Dave Paulsen has announced a trio of captains for the 2020-21 campaign.
That group includes senior forward Greg Calixte and junior guards Jamal Hartwell II and Jordan Miller.
“Our coaching staff reached a unanimous agreement that these three guys have embodied our core values,” Paulsen said. “They have, collectively, made a concentrated effort to lead by example and become more vocal. Leadership has to be authentic and these are three guys who are well liked and respected by all their teammates. They also have different styles and personalities, and we believe their captaincies will complement each other well.”
The Mason program often breaks down into skill sessions and WebEx discussion groups based on three positional groupings. The 2020-21 captains each represent a group – Calixte is part of the forwards, Miller is a part of the big guards/wings and Hartwell II is a member of the guard group.
Calixte enters his senior season as a cagey veteran for the Green & Gold. The Mount Vernon, N.Y., native has played 92 career games for Mason and started 37. His career field goal percentage of .601 ranks in the top-10 all time in Patriot annals.
“Greg’s worked extremely hard and is playing some of his best basketball this fall,” Paulsen said. “More than that, Greg is the guy who has the finger on the pulse of this team. Everyone on our team loves him and respects him. He fits in with everyone, but he’s also willing to hold people accountable. He has that unique gift. With Greg it’s never a question – it’s selfless leadership and always about the team. He wants to play a lot, but he cares more about the team and winning than minutes. There isn’t a selfish bone in Greg Calixte’s body. I think he’ll be an exceptional leader.”
Mason’s additional two captains in 2020-21 embody the “gym rat” mentality and exhibit exceptional work ethics.
Hartwell II took on a significantly larger role as a sophomore and ranked fourth on the team in scoring. He averaged 11.9 points in non-conference play last season, before battling illness for much of the middle portion of the campaign. He rebounded to shoot 38.6 percent from 3-point range over the season’s final 10 games and will look to carry that momentum into 2020-21.
“Jamal was initially one of the quietest kids I’ve ever coached, and I challenged him to talk more to further his basketball development. He’s truly embraced that and worked on being a leader,” Paulsen said. “He’s attacked his weaknesses. It’s fun to watch him practice – he thinks a play ahead of time at a level he hadn’t before. He’s communicating and anticipating in situational basketball, and it’s awesome to see him get it and have the confidence. He’s improved light years defensively. He’s talking more, leading more and seeing the big picture.”
After an outstanding freshman season, Miller improved his strong all-around game in 2019-20 while developing his outside shot and harnessing his versatility. He ranked second on the team in scoring (12.7 ppg), second in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and offensive rebounds (70) and third in 3-point field goals made (33).
“As a leader, Jordan is holding guys accountable – and that’s a hard thing to do,” Paulsen said. “He leads by example and our guys see how important the game is to him. He’s also attacked weaknesses in his game. He’s improved tremendously with his ball handling and shooting. He wants to become a good defender and he understands that’s an area where he has to get better. He always worked pretty hard, but now he loves to work hard. That’s a skill. It’s a good reward for him and great example to set for some of the younger guys.”
COURTESY GEORGE MASON ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS