NCAA

Plenty Wright going for GMU; host BU next

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Plenty Wright going for GMU; host BU next

The Patriots did not return to the mainland with the Paradise Jam title. It could be months before we learn whether either of George Mason's two victories earned on the island of St. Thomas prove NCAA Tournament resume helpful. Saturday's matchup against winless Boston University (4:00 p.m., Patriot Center) may not provide additional clarity. However, we know this much about the Patriots right now:

- led by guard Sherrod Wright, the Patriots are offensively potent and efficient. Among CAA teams, George Mason ranks first in 3-point shooting and third in field goal percentage.

- Following the return of center Erik Copes and swingman Vaughn Gray, Mason is legitimately deep.Like mixing and matching 12 players without a noticeable drop off in most spots deep.

- The team quickly rebounded from the stunning collapse against New Mexico, one that cost the Patriots a championship game slot, to soundly beat Quinnipiac. Plenty of talking points and questions remain for coach Paul Hewitt to teach his players heading into the non-conference game against the Terriers (0-4), but that's some legitimate mental resolve showed considering how the loss unfolded.

Throughout the three-game event, Wright made shots, which is hardly a surprise seeing as knocked down looks from all angles last season. The 6-foot-4 guard, Mason's top scorer in four of games this season, shot 48.4 percent while averaging 16.7 points at the Paradise Jam. Though Wright's 3-point touch proved faulty against Mercer and Quinnipiac, the junior drilled 5 of 7 from beyond the arc en route to scoring 22 points against New Mexico. Hardly a one-trick Patriot, Wright grabbed seven rebounds in the tournament finale and made 15 of 18 free throws during the three games.

Forward Johnny Williams paced the Patriots against Mercer with 16 points and 10 rebounds then went for 12 and 8 with three steals against New Mexico. After sitting out last season, the slimmed-down 6-foot-8 forward looks much improved both as a scorer and banger. Not saying the Patriots have flat out replaced the graduated Ryan Pearson-Mike Morrison production, but Williams and Copes (4 of 5 FG, nine rebounds vs. Quinnipiac) are eliminating fears that they won't.

Turnovers remain a concern - 19 against Mercer, 16 against New Mexico including a costly late botch - though the Patriots pressure defense forced 16.7 per game.

Though winless, the Terriers suffered close encounters against CAA-program Northeastern and Rutgers, losing by one and two points respectively. Guard D.J. Irving leads Boston with 18.0 points though collectively the Terriers are shooting only 40.8 percent from the field.

Elsewhere in the CAA this weekend...

Saturday

Hofstra at George Washington - 2 p.m.: After claiming three straight wins, the Pride (3-3) lost at Manhattan on Wednesday despite 22 points from sophomore guard Taran Buie, Hofstra's leading scorer. Though Buie and 5-foot-10 dynamo Shaquille Stokes thrive on the perimeter, Hofstra is shooting only 29.8 percent from 3-point territory. Defensively against George Washington (1-2), the Pride must slow down freshman point guard Joe McDonald and keep energetic center Isaiah Armwood off the glass.

James Madison at Miami (Ohio) - Noon: In between two blowout losses, including a 22-point drubbing by North Dakota State, the Dukes lost by two in overtime at Duquesne and defeated Youngstown State. Leading scorer Raysahwn Goins scored at least 20 points in each of JMU's first three games, but finished 2 of 10 for five points against NDSU.

UNCW vs. Wofford - 2 p.m.: The Seahawks (1-3) return home for two weekend games after three straight road losses. UNCW also hosts Hampton on Sunday.

Old Dominion at Murray State - 8 p.m.: Starting the season 1-4 is not what you expect out of a Blaine Taylor coached team. Ending the current 3-game losing skid against the Racers and All-American candidate Isaiah Canaan won't be easy, or likely.

Northeastern (in Great Alaska Shootout): Following Friday's semifinal tilt against Belmont, the Huskies will play Charlotte or Oral Roberts on Saturday. Guard Quincy Ford scored 14 points in Wednesday's opening round 61-52 win over UC Riverside.

Sunday

Drexel (in Anaheim Classic): The CAA preseason favorites opened the campaign with a fierce non-conference schedule. Bruiser Flint's squad has not shown they can handle, losing four of five games including Friday's 69-65 setback against Xavier. Rarely pretty offensively, two of the Dragons primary scorers - Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat - are both shooting less than 40 percent from the floor. While other games exist before the Dragons open CAA play, their NCAA Tournament fate essentially now lays in winning the conference tournament. As for their current tournament, Drexel will face either Drake or Rice on Sunday.

Delaware at Temple - 2 p.m.: Historically this matchup would seem lopsided in the Owls' favor, but these Blue Hens (2-3) are a tough out no matter the record. Guard Devon Saddler went for 28 points in Friday's loss at Pittsburgh while 6-foot-9 forward Jamelle Hagins averages 13 rebounds and 10 points. Senior swingman Scootie Randall leads Temple (2-0) with 23.5 points per game.

Unique skillset benefits George Mason's Marquise Moore in NBA aspirations

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USA TODAY Sports

Unique skillset benefits George Mason's Marquise Moore in NBA aspirations

Marquise Moore is not your prototypical college basketball star. But as the 2016-17 season prooved, he is one of the most intriguing and interesting players. 

Standing at just 6-2, the George Mason guard averaged a double-double, and the second category wasn't assists.

The lightly recruited Queens, N.Y. native averaged 16.9 points and 10.9 rebounds, while being the eighth best rebounder in the country. Of the top 50 rebounders last season, Moore was the only one under 6-5 and was the best rebounder among guards. 

Entering college as a two-star recruit with just three offers, Moore's collegiate career ended as a all-conference performer at a traditional mid-major power.

This past season the Patriots finished 20-14, the best mark in Moore's four years with the team. It was also Moore's coming out party, Moore flourished on court and garnered attention from several national outlets due to his unique and unlikely skillset.

Outlets like the Washington Post and Bleacher Report were baffled on how a 6-2 guard could be so good at rebounding. His opponents were baffled too.

"Marquise could not be guarded and kept out of the paint one-on-one in the Atlantic 10," George Mason coach Dave Paulsen told CSN Mid-Atlantic. "I gotta believe he'd have the ability to get into the lane, to attack at the highest of levels."

Now, the Atlantic 10 is nothing compared to the level of play in the NBA, but his skills can transfer across all levels. In the association, teams cannot collapse on a small guard driving down the lane, otherwise sharp shooters will be left open. If his college game can translate, he could be the perfect bench point guard to at least get starters rest and generate scoring opportunities. Already his workouts with the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers prepared him for the higher level of play. 

"You want it more when you are playing against those type of guys," Moore told CSN in Early July. "I've never been highly ranked, highly recruited or anything. Definitely felt overlooked so I'm glad I proved I'm just as good or better than them." 

Getting some pre-draft workouts with both the Rockets and 76ers, there was optimism that Moore could get pulled for a summer league roster.

Unfortunately for the George Mason grad, an ankle tweak in early May served as a major setback for a player that has a lot to prove with opportunities few and far between.

"I think he'd have four or five more workouts if he hadn't had the ankle sprain," Paulsen said. "Had he had a few more workouts, that would have gotten him more exposure to get in for a summer league thing. He's a few weeks behind because of the ankle sprain and its going to take him a little longer to get where he wants to go."

With the summer league now gone without Moore on any roster, he is now in a limbo like many other talented stars who did not benefit from the high-major spotlight. Of course for all basketball prospects, the ultimate dream is to play in the NBA, but the best path to get there is not always clear.

The two primary options for Moore is to play overseas or continue to get workouts with the NBA and G-League teams domestically. 

Currently, Moore is still battling for his NBA path. He is set up to participate in the G-League Player Invitational Aug. 13 in Chicago, an event he can earn eligibility for the G-League draft in October. 

"I feel like I have interest from NBA teams," Moore said. "Going to the G-league will be a more foreseeable option, but I'm not sure if I want to enter the G-league blindly without hearing from any NBA teams becuase its really hard to move up that way."

As a guard with incredible physicality, the unknown is actually what could bring Moore to an NBA team.

Will there be a team willing to bite?

The G-League Player Invitational will be the next measuring stick on how NBA coaches and scouts feel about Moore a month removed from summer league. Admitting his weaknesses in the workouts, Moore thrives during live-ball action, which is a huge part of the invitational. 

Look out for teams that need rebounding and thrive off of physical play. Teams that come to mind instantly are the Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers; two teams that had pre-draft interest, the Chicago Bulls and Rockets; and the team who followed him thoughout his senior season, the Brooklyn Nets.

Its too bad that Washington's G-League team will not be formed until next season, otherwise there would be a perfect backup guard that could work right into Washington's system. 

"Mason fans know what I can do but I feel like most people still don't know. Just trying to show people what I can do one person at a time, you know, get a shot."

University of Virginia cornerback wins $100k in Virginia lottery

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Virginia Lottery

University of Virginia cornerback wins $100k in Virginia lottery

Virginia cornerback Chuck Davis hit all five numbers recently on Cash Five game from the Virginia Lottery to take home $100,000.

He went on a coffee run one morning for his mom and decided to play the numbers his gradmother gave him and now he's $100k richer and looks like the happiest person on the planet.

God first last and always 🙌🏽

A post shared by Charles Davis (@forevergone6) on

Davis is a redshirt freshman after sitting out a year after a transfer from Nebraska. As for his plans for the money?

Here's hoping he gets to enjoy all the money and doesn't get a call from the NCAA.