What they're saying about George Mason

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What they're saying about George Mason

In this space over the coming days weeks and months ahead you can expect to find all kinds of George Mason men's basketball features, blog posts and analysis from yours truly and others in the CSNwashington world. I'm personally looking forward to chatting up head coach Paul Hewitt at next week's Colonial Athletic Association media day (fingers crossed for some good grub and SWAG while we're at it), getting his take on subjects including:

The new season and Mason's challenging non-conference schedule.

The state of the CAA in light of various defections and potential additions.

Replacing frontcourt stalwarts Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison.

What we can expect from rising stars Sherrod Wright and Erik Copes along with new players added to the roster.

Until then, thought I'd give you a little flavor of what others from the college basketball world are saying about the Patriots...

Predicted order of finish in the CAA, Part 1...from Brian Mull of the Wilmington (N.C.) Star News, beat writer covering UNC-Wilmington and one of the most plugged in CAA beat writers around. After preseason favorite Drexel come the Patriots...
"2. George Mason Most forecasters will put Delaware on this line. And on paper, the Blue Hens have fewer questions and more answers. But I envision a breakout season for Sherrod Wright in the backcourt and either Jon Arledge or Erik Copes (perhaps both) in the lane."
Predicted order of finish in the CAA, Part 2...from the in-depth college basketball blog Rush the Court, which places Mason behind Drexel and Delaware...
"Development is the key word for Paul Hewitt. Eric Copes proved to be a defensive force on the backline, displaying athleticism and strength uncommon in CAA freshmen. He swatted 51 shots in just 405 minutes. However, Copes was a liability on offensenot uncommon. Jon Arledge showed he belongs on the offensive end, but allowed himself to be pushed around with regularity. If Copes is able to master a couple basic offensive moves or Arledge beefs up the toughness, George Mason becomes a very dangerous team. Whats more, Hewitts backcourt showed promise, but was also very sloppy at times. While Bryon Allen (123 assists, 89 turnovers) and Vaughan Gray played well, they were overwhelmed and committed too many turnovers. They will need to settle down. Hewitt does have the luxury of two gunnersVertrail Vaughans and Sherrod Wright can take over games offensively, but both disappeared at times last season. It seems like Mason has all the chess pieces, so developing the mode of play is critical."
Erik Copes, potential difference-maker...so says SI.com's D.C. based college basketball writer Rob Dauster, who included the defensive presence among his favorite players that could not only star, but fill holes for their respective teams this season...
"Erik Copes, George Mason: The Patriots are coming off of a 24-9 season that saw them finish third in the Colonial while riding the coattails of Player of the Year Ryan Pearson. But with Pearson, and his frontcourt counterpart Mike Morrison, graduating, Mason's strength will shift to the backcourt, where a handful of young and talented players return. The frontcourt will now feature seldom-used reserves Jonathan Arledge, Johnny Williams and Seton Hall transfer Anali Okoloji, but the guy that Paul Hewitt will be counting on to anchor his lineup will be sophomore Erik Copes. Copes was a top 75 recruit who followed his uncle, Roland Houston, to Mason. And while he had a decent freshman season -- he averaged 3.3 points, 3.7 boards and an astounding 1.9 blocks in just 15 minutes -- Copes was banged up for much of the year. If he's healthy next season, the Patriots will be looking to him not only to protect the paint at the defensive end of the floor, but to become an offensive weapon on the interior to help keep defenses honest."
How will George Mason replace their frontcourt...is a question posed and answered by national college basketball writer Jon Rothstein.
"By committee. Ryan Pearson was an easy guy to throw the ball to when you needed a basket and Paul Hewitt regularly said that Mike Morrison was an exceptionally intelligent player, but the Patriots have the pieces to replace their departed front court. Both Erik Copes and Jonathan Arledge appear primed for breakout seasons and Johnny Williams, who red shirted last season is down 27 pounds and ready to make a contribution. The real sleeper for George Mason is Marko Gujanicic, a 6-9 skilled face up forward who could play a big role as a freshman thanks to his versatility."
Paradise Jam 411...from SI.com's Andy Glockner, one of my favorite college basketball writers around and a must follow on Twitter. Glockner previewed the pre-Thanksgiving event among the early tournaments on the college hoops calendar to watch.
"Overview: Huh? Another seemingly lopsided bracket that has the event's two best teams -- George Mason and New Mexico -- in the same side, meaning a potential semifinal matchup. Whoever wins that matchup, should it occur, should be favored to handle anyone coming out of the bottom."
"Matchup to watch: Mercer-George Mason. With Mason maybe having one eye on the Lobos, could the Bears spring an opening-round surprise? They bring back most of the talent from last season's squad that won the postseason CIT tournament, winning at Old Dominion, Fairfield and Utah State to do so. This is a dangerous game for Mason to overlook."

Media picks Virginia Tech, Virginia to finish low in the Coastal Division

Media picks Virginia Tech, Virginia to finish low in the Coastal Division

Expectations in Blacksburg and Charlottesville are high for their new coaches, just not among the media.

With Justin Fuente taking over for Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech and Broncon Mendenhall for Mike London at Virginia, the media is not expecting much from either coach in their first season. Virginia Tech was picked to finish fourth in the Coastal Division in the ACC Media Poll while Virginia was picked dead last.

Here are the full results with first place votes in parentheses:

Coastal Division
1. North Carolina (121) - 1,238
2. Miami (50) - 1,108
3. Pitt (14) - 859
4. Virginia Tech (3) - 697
5. Duke (2) - 597
6. Georgia Tech (1) - 588
7. Virginia - 261

Atlantic Division
1. Clemson (148) - 1,293
2. Florida State (42) - 1,176
3. Lousiville (1) - 961
4. NC State - 704
5. Boston College - 441
6. Syracuse - 426
7. Wake Forest - 347

ACC Championship
1. Clemson - 144
2. Florida State - 39
3. North Carolina - 7
4. Louisville - 1

Fourth is the lowest Virginia Tech has been picked since the ACC split into divisions in 2005. The good news for both Hokies and Cavaliers fans is that the media is almost always wrong when it comes to these polls. Last year's Coastal winner, North Carolina, was picked to finish fifth in last year's poll.

The lowest Virginia Tech has been picked to finish in the ACC was sixth in 2004, the Hokies' first year in the league. Virginia Tech went on to win the conference that year and played in the Sugar Bowl.

RELATED: TMZ RELEASES VIDEO OF MARCUS VICK RUNNING FROM POLICE

TMZ releases video of Marcus Vick running from police

TMZ releases video of Marcus Vick running from police

Marcus Vick has had a tough day.

First, he decided to start a Twitter beef with Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy. Vick insinuated on Twitter that his ex-girlfriend contracted an STD from McCoy. (You can read the Tweets here but please note they contain explicit language).

As if that wasn't dumb enough, TMZ released video of Vick running from police in an April incident that resulted in his arrest.

In the video, three Cops are standing around Vick when he takes off. He makes it outside and down the sidewalk. It looks like he may get away, but then he sits down and gives himself up as a cop approaches with his gun drawn.

Vick was wanted for contempt of court in Montgomery County. As officers attempted to arrest Vick, he instead chose to flee from the police. That's right, Vick fled from police over a contempt of court charge. He ultimately pled guilty to resisting arrest.

RELATED: HALL TO BE INDUCTED INTO VT HALL OF FAME

DeAngelo Hall to be inducted into Virginia Tech Hall of Fame

DeAngelo Hall to be inducted into Virginia Tech Hall of Fame

Former Virginia Tech standout and current Washington Redskins safety DeAngelo Hall will be inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame, the school has announced.

Hall played for the Hokies from 2001 to 2003, catching an interception as a true freshman in the very first game of his collegiate career. He was a dynamic player for Virginia Tech on defense, offense and special teams, scoring touchdowns in all three phases of the game. Hall remains the only player in school history to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game which he did in 2003 against Syracuse. He also played a major role in one of the biggest wins in program history, a 31-7 win over No. 2 Miami in 2003 in which Hall scored a touchdown on a strip and return.

The Chesapeake, Va. native was named an All-American after the 2003 season. He left Virginia Tech after three years and was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2004 NFL Draft. He is now in his eighth season in Washington.

Kerri Gardin, Kevin Jones, Spyridon Jullien, Ashlee Lee and Jim Weaver will also be inducted with Hall. The ceremony will take place on Sept. 16 and all six will be introduced the following day during halftime of Virginia Tech's game against Boston College.

RELATED: VIRGINIA TECH LANDS FOUR COMMITMENTS SATURDAY