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."

Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

Virginia Tech reveals uniforms for Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee

A big-time game deserves a big-time uniform.

Virginia Tech delivered on that claim aturday as they revealed their look for the upcoming Battle at Bristol game vs. Tennessee.

The Sept. 20 non-conference game between the border rivals will be played in the infield of Bristol International Speedway in is what expected to be the largest crowd in college football history.

The official reveal was made via a video posted on YouTube:

Other views of the uniforms were also posted on Twitter:

The famous Hokie Stone was the inspiration for the look. The Hokies Stone is a type of rock found in Western Virginia almost exclusively in a nearby quarry owned by the school. It has become an iconic symbol of the school as several building on campus were built from the stone. Players will tap a Hokie Stone that hangs over the tunnel as they enter Lane Stadium during the football season.

The uniform's primary color scheme of black and grey pays homage to the team's history as those were the official colors of Virginia Tech before the school adopted the classic burnt orange and Chicago maroon we recognize today. The color grey was also chosen because it is a prominent color of the Corps of Cadets, according to a statement on the school's athletics website.

And boy do they look sharp. What do you think? Be sure to let us know!

The Battle at Bristol against Tennessee will take place on Sept. 10 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

RELATED: HOKIES QB COMPETITION A THREE-MAN RACE?

Former Top 100 recruit White to transfer from Georgetown

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USA Today Sports

Former Top 100 recruit White to transfer from Georgetown

BY JEREMY FIALKOW (@JeremyFialkow)

For the seventh time since the start of the 2010 season, the Georgetown Hoyas are losing a player to transfer.

On Thursday, the school's athletic department announced rising junior Paul White — a small forward by trade — will be leaving "The Hilltop" to continue his basketball career at another school.

RELATED: SON OF FORMER BULLETS STAR SET TO JOIN HOYAS

Hampered by a nagging hip injury during the Hoyas' 2015-16 season which saw them finish 15-18, White will try to make a name for himself in another uniform. Last year, he averaged 1.6 ppg, 1.6 apg and 1.6 apg in seven appearances before calling it a year with season-ending surgery.

White began his career in a promising manner, putting up 5.0 ppg and 2.8 rpg as a freshman in 2014-15. But a wealth of talent at the forward position and an lingering injury meant White spent more time on the bench than on the court. After averaging 18.4 mpg in his freshman campaign, he averaged just 9.6 mpg as a sophomore.

White has a smooth mid-range game and his long frame allows him to play in multiple spots on the floor, providing a matchup problem for opposing defense. But the Hoyas just have too many players at forward. With L.J. Peak, Isaac Copeland, Marcus Derrickson, Reggie Cameron and Louisville transfer Akoy Agau all competing for solid minutes, there just isn't enough time to go around for White. 

The Chicago native was a four-star Class of 2014 forward from  Whitney Young High School who received offers from Miami (Fla.), Arizona, UConn, DePaul and Minnesota in addition to Georgetown. He was ranked No. 34 in ESPN's Top 100 for the class of 2014. 

RELATED: HOYAS PART OF A LOADED MAUI INVITATIONAL FIELD

Virginia Tech quarterback competition suddenly a three-man race

Virginia Tech quarterback competition suddenly a three-man race

The quarterback competition at Virginia Tech was thought to be down to senior Brenden Motley and Juco transfer Jerod Evans, but now it seems a third contender has emerged. On Tuesday, Justin Fuente spoke glowingly of freshman quarterback Josh Jackson after practice, seemingly declaring the quarterback race to now be between three players.

“[Jackson's] had a really good camp and a great summer," Fuente said. "Don’t overreact to what I’m saying. I still don’t know what way it’s going to go, but he’s had a really good camp."

A true freshman out of Ann Arbor, Mich., Jackson was recruited by former offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler. His emergence in the quarterback race is rather sudden.

RELATED: VIRGINIA TECH THEMED RACE CAR REVEALED

Jackson enrolled at Virginia Tech early and took part in spring practice, but at the time he appeared to fall behind Motley and Evans. His work at practice this summer has impressed Fuente enough, however, to put him in the running for the starting job.

“I think he’s done the three things that we have set out for those guys to do," Fuente said. "I’m not saying that he is doing it on a more consistent basis than anybody else. I’m just saying he is doing things more consistently than he did in the spring. In turns of valuing the football, managing the ups and downs in practice and predicting outcomes – distributing the ball in the places it’s supposed to go."

Fuente has remained diplomatic in his comments on his quarterbacks, but his direct praise of Jackson who was not previously thought to be in the running is notable.

Virginia Tech has already lost one quarterback this summer as the highly touted Dwayne Lawson elected to transfer to Hutchinson Community College. Jackson is a freshman from Michigan who was recruited by a coach no longer on the staff. With three-star quarterbacks Hendon Hooker and DeJuan Ellis committed to the 2017 and 2018 classes respectively, perhaps there is a fear that Jackson could follow Lawson out of Blacksburg. Making Jackson feel as if he is competing for the starting job could be Fuente's way of trying to keep Jackson from leaving.

Could Jackson actually emerge as the team's starter this season? If Fuente believes he gives the team the best chance to win then yes, but considering what Jerod Evans was able to do in junior college and that he was recruited by Fuente while he was still at Memphis, it seems safe to assume he remains the front runner.

Still, Fuente has made clear that it's too soon to count out anyone, including the young Jackson.

"I’m encouraged by all three," Fuente said. "All three work hard. They are good people, and they want what is best for Virginia Tech.”

MORE VIRGINIA TECH: Hokies nab local four-star receiver