George Mason seeks resume-building wins in paradise

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George Mason seeks resume-building wins in paradise

Coming off a loss at Bucknell, George Mason looks to rebound this weekend island-style, though there doesn't figure to be tons of toes in the sand time during the Patriots' jaunt to St. Thomas.

Without a pair of suspended sophomores, Paul Hewitt's squad faces Atlantic Sun program Mercer on Friday at 1:30 p.m., the first of three games in four days for the Patriots (1-1). After the meeting with the Bears, Hewitt will have the services of imposing center Erik Copes and swingman Vaughn Gray for the final two games. Before the season, the sophomores were each suspended three games for conduct violations.

The matchup with Mercer stands as potentially one of three games that will boost Mason's all-important RPI. Yes, it's important to live in the moment, especially when you're in, hello, paradise, but this tournament is tremendous opportunity to help the Patriots NCAA Tournament at-large resume.

Following Mercer, George Mason faces either New Mexico, an NCAA Tournament team last season, or Illinois-Chicago. No. 23 Connecticut and Wake Forest loom on the other side of the bracket along with Iona and Quinnipiac. With a little luck, the Patriots could leave the island with three matchups the bracketology community will love in addition to the two already in the can.

Facing a comparable scenario last season in the NIT Tipoff, the Patriots fell to upstart Florida International in the early rounds. That meant rather than playing Virginia Tech, George Mason took on the underwhelming trio of Monmouth, Brown and Albany.

Junior point guard Bryon Allen, the reigning CAA co-Player of the Week, scored five of his 13 points in the final minute of George Mason's season opening win over Virginia. Swingman Sherrod Wright leads the Patriots in scoring (15.5) while shooting 60 percent from the field.

The Bears (2-0) have won their games this season by an average of 37 points, though it's hard to gauge what to make over victories against Sewanee (?) and Oglethorpe (???). There is no mistaking the Macon, Ga. program's accomplishments last season as anything but impressive. Four starters return from a 27-win team that knocked off Georgia Tech during the regular season and captured a postseason championship in the College Insiders.com tournament. Guard Travis Smith (11.5 ppg) leads in scoring, though the Bears are expected to be without All-Conference point guard Langston Hall (ankle).

Beat Mercer and George Mason plays the New Mexico/UIC winner on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. Lose and the Patriots second game is 5:00 p.m. on Saturday. Regardless of the path, the third game will be on Monday.

Virginia adds quarterback transfer from ECU

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USA TODAY Sports

Virginia adds quarterback transfer from ECU

Virginia has added another quarterback to its roster for next season as Kurt Benkert of East Carolina announced Sunday that he will transter to UVa.

Benkert announced on April 25 that he intended to transfer. The move to Charlottesville will reunite the quarterback with former head coach Ruffin McNeill who now is the defensive line coach for Virginia.

Benkert's bio on ECU's athletcis website lists him as 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and describes him as "A talented and polished signal-caller whose arm strength perhaps already ranks among the best in the history of the Pirate program ." He was named the starter by McNeill at ECU heading into last season, but a knee injury forced Benkert to miss the entire 2015 season.

As a graduate transfer, Benkert will be immediately available for next season. He will also have two years of eligibility remaining.

Benkert will now be thrust into a quarterback competition in Charlottesville with incumbent Matt Johns and fellow transfer Connor Brewer.

RELATED: TWO HOKIES SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY AFTER ARRESTS

Smart move: GW adds Harvard grad transfer

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Smart move: GW adds Harvard grad transfer

Harvard forward Patrick Steeves, a 3-point shooting threat, has committed to George Washington men's basketball program, a source revealed to CSNmidatlantic.com.

The 6-foot-7 Steeves, a native of Montreal, graduates from Harvard next month. He is eligible immediately at GW and has two years of eligibilty remaining. 

Injuries plagued him early in his career with the Ivy League program, but he turned in a solid 2016-17 campaign with averages of 9.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Steeves shined from long range, sinking 45.8 percent (33 of 72) of his 3-poit attempts.

California, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Richmond were also after Steeves, accorrding to a source.

Steeves joins a massive contingent coming to help for the 2016-17 season. The Colonials lost six players from a team that won 28 games last season and captured the season-ending NIT championship under coach Mike Lonergan. 

Former Seton Hall transfer Jared Sina is eligible after sitting out last season. The heady guard and Steeves will help offset the perimeter loss of seniors Patricio Garino, Joe McDonald and Alex Mitola. Guards Paul Jorgensen and Anthony Swan transfered out of the program after the season.

Incoming big man recruit Kevin Marfo headlines a five-player class. The Colonials also lost starting center Kevin Larsen to graduation.

Leading scorer and rebounder Tyler Cavanaugh returns along with fellow starting forward Yuta Watanabe.

VIDEO: Brian Mitchell helps Navy QB learn to return punts before draft

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VIDEO: Brian Mitchell helps Navy QB learn to return punts before draft

CSN's Brian Mitchell, one of the best punt returners in NFL history, is helping former Navy QB Keenan Reynolds to reinvent himself in advance of the 2016 NFL Draft. 

While learning to play another position to increase his chances of getting drafted or making a roster, Reynolds showed off his ability to field punts. And he's already pretty good. 

Watch the full segment featuring Mitchell, Reynolds, and CSN's Rob Carlin in the video player above.