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George Mason Basketball

George Mason Basketball: September 2006

Monday, September 18, 2006

When Being Politically Correct is Incorrect...

Gunston: what is it? Good question. Ever since I have been a student at Mason that has been the mystery around campus. Aren't we the George Mason Patriots? Apparently GMU's verison of a patriot is a furry green blob, who looks like a poorly constructed Sesame Street character. I guess this is supposed to better represent our campus and its vast diversity? Our school just made it to the Final Four, its time for a real mascot.

Let me just start off by saying that I hate Gunston and think that "it" is an embarassment to our school and most notably our basketball team. And believe me I am not alone. As a poster on the I communicate with fellow alumni and students on our shared hatred of Gunston. The hatred of Gunston is so wide spread these days there is a website selling anti-Gunston t-shirts in order to raise money to buy their own mascot costume. I'd gladly buy a "Guck Gunston" shirt in order to get in a new mascot.

I have heard the arguments from Mason fans that "hey hes got tons of fans in his facebook groups". Are you kidding? I could make a group tonight on facebook that is titled "I eat dog shit" and I could probably get 500 members by the end of the week if I tried. I love facebook, but using it as a source of statistics or facts is laughable. And on a side not I am happy to see that someone started a Louis Birdsong fan club group, which I am still currently waiting for an invite.

After the final four run had ended, the Washington Post had run an article stating that Gunston was on his way out and that a new mascot was being created. I nearly jumped for joy. National exposure and Gunston gone? But it was proved to be too good to be true. This is a quote from university spokesman Dan Walsch:

"He [pause]... 'It' is here to stay, and we're looking to give Gunston a makeover. That'll be the only change, but the decision of the university is that he is very much here to stay. When the spotlight went on the university in the Final Four we thought the feelings Gunston helped generate were positive. We thought the character did a good job of being fun and representing the school, and we thought he was not only worth keeping but enhancing his look and if anything making him more visible...The general feeling from what I hear is that Gunston is very positively received, that people like him and it's good that we're keeping him."

Give Gunston a makeover? Dear god. I can't even begin to ponder what the hell Mason will do to "makeover" Gunston. I don't think a shower and shave is gonna do it for our muppet-like mascot. Will we see this new mascot at Midnight Madness? When Mason is calling the shots anything is possible and they will most likely find a way to make Gunston even more hated at the Patriot Center. I think they will need to add more t-shirt giveaways (if thats possible) to keep fans under control. And Walsch says make Gunston more visible!?! Doesn't it scare enough children in the stands during games? And let me get something straight, Gunston did not generate positive school spirit, the basketball team's heroics did and I'll be damned if Gunston tries to take credit for anything besides causing mass confusion among college basketball viewers.

Mason gets commitment from another local standout

Cameron Long, a 6'3" guard from Woodbridge, VA has verbally commited to George Mason and is the Patriots second recruit from the 2007 class. Long plays under one of Jim Larranaga's former players, Ahmad Dorsett, who now coachs at Freedom High School. With this commitment Larranaga again has showed his ability to work with players who are under the radar in the DC area. Although George Washington was next on Long's visit schedule, he commited to George Mason shortly after his visit to the campus this past weekend. Long is said to be a versatile defender who can play both guard spots. He should be a great fit in Coach L's system with his ball handling and three-point shooting skills. The 2006-2007 is almost upon us, but with Long and Tate coming in next season and only two seniors on the roster, the future looks very bright for the Patriots in 2007.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Patriots schedule three nationally televised games. Pinch me.

The George Mason Patriots 2006-2007 schedule is finally released and is highlighted with three nationally televised games which include the home opener against Wichita State, a trip to Duke in December and an important CAA conference match up against Hofstra in February. The Patriots could see the national stage for a fourth time if their bracketbuster matchup is chosen as one of the showcase games. Last season the ESPN bracketbuster game against Wichita State almost single handling got the Patriots into the big dance. These televised games will do wonders for the GMU recruiting and give the Patriots a chance to keep the post-Cinderella story buzz alive. Look for the Patriot Center to frequently be standing room only at times this season, something we haven't seen since JMU used to bring a decent squad to Fairfax. The Wichita State home opener marks a growing rivalry between the two teams after a season were the Shockers were beaten twice by the Patriots once in the ESPN bracketbuster and again in the NCAA tournament. The Shockers have been waiting to get revenge all off season and it should be quite the showdown in Fairfax.

On December 9th the Patriots travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since 1983 to face off against national power Duke. Although they don't have J.J. Redick or Sheldon Williams anymore, don't think that the Patriots still aren't greatly overmatched. But then again after the UConn game, I don't doubt the Patriots and Coach L's ability to knock off power house programs on any given day. This game will give the newcomers and younger Patriot players a chance to see the kind of environment the team saw last year in the NCAA tournament. Playing at Cameron is quite possibly the most difficult of all venues to play in on the road in all of college basketball. Anyone who has ever heard of the "Cameron Crazies" knows exactly what I am talking about.

The most important game of the season will most likely be the showdown in Fairfax against Hofstra on February 10th. Hofstra is the favorite to win the CAA this year, but they are not a lock by any means. This game could decide who is atop the standings and determine seeding for the CAA tournament. The Pride will definately be looking to seek revenge against us after beating twice before the NCAA tournament and getting snubbed by the selection committee. One factor to consider leading up to the game is fatigue. The Patriots have an important four game stretch from January 29-February 7 that could have Hofstra facing a tired Patriots team.

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