George Mason’s Justin Kier named Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player
For Kier, the awards recognize what has been a superb all-around season for the Grottoes, Va., product. As one of only 14 players in the nation to average 13+ points, 6+ rebounds, 2.5+ assists and 1.5+ steals, Kier has played a major role in Mason’s successful A-10 season in which the Patriots set a new program record for conference victories (11) and matched the school’s best overall seed (No. 5) in the A-10 Championship.
“Justin is very deserving of this recognition,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “He has made tremendous improvement in all aspects of his game. In all of the ‘measurables’ statistically he has taken significant steps forward. I have been most pleased with his growth defensively, the consistency with which he’s attacked each day, and his evolution as a leader.”
Kier’s accolade marks the second time in three seasons a Mason player has earned the league’s most improved player award. Former Patriot great Marquise Moore also garnered the honor in 2016-17.
“This is a great honor both for Justin and our team,” head coach Dave Paulsen said. “We’ve emphasized player development as one of the cornerstones of our program. Like Marquise, Justin has worked tirelessly to become a more complete player during his career at Mason. He has embraced a team-first mentality and put in countless hours outside of practice to ensure he’s doing everything he can to make a transformative impact within our program.”
In conference play, Kier leads the Patriots in scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg, 7th in A-10) and is second in 3-point field goal percentage (.383), assists per game (2.8) and steals per game (1.2). He has tallied a team-high seven double-doubles on the year. Kier earned A-10 Player of the Week accolades on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21.
He has improved significantly in nearly every major statistical category from last season, including scoring (13.9 ppg vs. 11.0), rebounding (6.5 rpg vs. 4.6 rpg), field goal percentage (.464 vs. .451), 3-point field goal percentage (.375 vs. .174), assists (2.5 apg vs. 2.3 apg) and steals (1.6 spg vs. 1.3).
Kier and the Patriots open the 2019 A-10 Tournament on Thursday vs. the winner of the first round game between No. 12 George Washington and No. 13 Massachusetts. Tip-off in Brooklyn in set for 2:30 p.m. The game will be televised on NBC Sports Network.