Sports

George Mason Men’s Basketball tips off their 2022-2023 season Monday Night

Courtesy: Mason Athletics

The George Mason University Patriots open their 2022-23 men’s basketball campaign on the road at 15th-ranked Auburn Monday night, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. Head coach Kim English is in his second season as the Patriots’ head coach. The game can be seen on Sec+/Espn+ at 8 p.m.   

English brings back a team of veteran leadership with a mix of highly recruited freshmen. In what many are calling the most anticipated season in a decade, the Patriots will look to start off the season with a huge resume building win. They hope this contest will aid in their goal of reaching the postseason.

In speaking with young energetic head coach Kim English, he told the News-Press that this year’s team has several goals. Among them is playing hard nose defense, and they will rebound and shoot a lot of 3’s. It should make for an exciting brand of basketball. The Patriots broke the school record for 3’s made last year under first year Coach English.

English stressed the importance of having a deep roster. The Patriots were able to go on the road to open the season last year and knock off a ranked Maryland team. However down the stretch they couldn’t maintain their early success due to a limited roster. With a full roster and a year under his belt, the always uber competitive ex-NBA player English went out and added that much needed depth to complete his roster.  

In this year’s A10 Media Preseason poll The Patriots were selected to finish fifth out of 15 teams in the highly competitive Atlantic 10 conference. Over the years the A10 has put many teams into the NCAA tournament, some advancing as far as the Elite 8 and even the Final 4. The A10 produces highly quality basketball right here in Northern Virginia.

Mason returns several key starters that will provide senior leadership while also bringing in a slew of highly ranked freshmen and transfers to round out the roster. Among those returning are 6′ 9″ Senior Josh Oduro. Odruo who was picked to the preseason All-A10 first team. This is only the second time Mason has had a player picked to the preseason first team.

Returning is DeVon Cooper a  6′ 4″ guard, who averaged 11.6 points and 2.1 assists per contest. DeVon shot 40.9 percent from 3-point range, his percentage ranked 22nd in the nation. Also Returning is  Davonte ‘Ticket’  Gaines  who averaged 10.2 points and a team-best 8.1 rebounds per contest last season.

The News-Press was able to sit down with Ticket Gaines on Tuesday Morning after practice. Ticket is a hard nose blue collar player and he concurred with our assessment that he will be tasked with providing senior leadership this year. Ticket prides himself on his tough defense. He can guard multiple positions and often is tasked with guarding the other team’s best player. Ticket also wanted to stress to us that he has been working on his shooting and the coaches have been urging him to shoot more. He ranked 2nd on the team last year with a (.402) 3 pt. shooting percentage.

     The freshmen newcomers are four-star recruit 6′ 5″ freshmen shooting guard Justyn Fernandez who brings athleticism and a game that will excite crowds. Among  other newcomers are 3-star local Gonzaga High School product Devin Dinkins a 5’ 10 point guard, Peter Oduro, a 6’7 forward brother of senior Josh Odruo and 3-star Elvis Nnaji, a 6’7 forward from Hopkins, Minn.

The Patriots also added 3 Graduate transfers in Victor Bailey Jr.  a 6′ 4″ Guard who last played at Tennessee,  Ginika Ojiako a. 6′ 10″ forward from Virginia Tech and Saquan Singleton a 6′ 6″ guard from New Mexico. Rounding out the roster are 6′ 2″

Junior Guard Ronald Polite III, 6’10 Sophomore Forward Blake Jones,  6’1 Sophomore Guard Chase Tucker and 6’8 Junior Forward Malik Henry

       For the Patriots full schedule and how to purchase tickets visit gomason.com.

Courtesy: Mason Athletics